Portland Puppy Love
From the photographer:
Kelsey and Natalie have an easy love. They fell fast, they fell hard, and that butterfly feeling has never left.
"I told Kelsey that if I was going to write our story it was going to become an epic story with faeries and witches and probably some unicorns thrown in for good measure.
But the truth is, even without all the magic, our story is truly an epic.
Years ago when I first moved to Portland, one of my new friends told me about her best friend. This woman who would be perfect for me- we had all the same interests and we both wanted to live on a farm and raise lots of babies. Back then I thought, "This is the best way to date, just hypothetically get together with friends of friends."
Then I met Kelsey. She was everything my friend had described her as- spunky, adventurous, gorgeous, fun, intelligent, and full of passion and daring. (Disney should consider making a Princess movie about her, she's certainly got enough animal sidekicks.)
She was more than that too, she was real, although I hadn't really realized that yet. We met and I was charmed, but for a variety of reasons, I decided that this was never going to happen. In my mind our love story was a thing of fiction- a story fit for Jane Austen's pen or left in the pages of a young adult novel.
We saw each other a couple of times when she came to visit Portland, and I would daydream about what I thought would never be and never said a word to anyone about this flame I was tending for a woman I thought was far too cool for me.
I remember the moment so clearly when things began to change. I was standing in line for the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland (I promise Disney isn’t paying for this wedding, although we would certainly be open to a sponsorship) with Becca and Kate (life time best friends, wedding party members) and I got this text from Kelsey: (This is a recreation, unfortunately the original text has long since disappeared) “In a couple years if we’re still not married, do you want be in some sort of aromantic relationship and raise kids together?” Becca and Kate can attest to this, I squealed with delight and immediately starting telling them about this woman who maybe wasn’t as unobtainable as I made her out to be (not that people are things to be obtained)
My daydreams of Kelsey transformed into something different. Into this possible future where Kelsey and I were raising children on a farm together, where, despite her every attempt, she couldn’t help but to fall in love with me- because I’m just so darn delightful. Little did I know that Kelsey was 1,187 miles away daydreaming her own version of our love story that we still had no idea was going to actually happen. Our official meet cute happened years after we first met.
We were both in Durango for the wedding of a mutual friend. I wasn’t expecting it, the thousands of tons of love that hit me the moment I looked at Kelsey under that oppressive Colorado sun. I think she was more prepared than I was. While I had spent the years convincing myself that this was never going to happen, that love stories like ours don’t exist, Kelsey was realizing that she was attracted to me, that she possibly even liked me, that she was probably definitely going to be in love with me. I remember we sat outside in the cool dark, watching bats dart above the river and we talked about the other people romancing us in our lives, skirting around the electric attraction we felt, doing everything we could to not acknowledge it.
We texted every day after I went back to Portland. We talked on the phone and wrote poetry without meaning to as we opened up ourselves and fell into place in the world, together, as one big completed puzzle. Once we finally admitted to ourselves, each other, the world, that we were in love, well, nothing was going to stop that ball from rolling. It rolled fast and is still going.
We bought the rings together and talked about the future all the time. We knew this was it for us, there was no untangling us now that we were together. There was a surprise though. I had argued that I should be the one to propose- and I was planning elaborate plans for how to do it. But Kelsey got there first. Her proposal was perfect. We were back at Disneyland, of course. The Castle was lit up, the sky was hazy from L.A. pollution and the ghosts of a thousand fireworks. Kelsey and I were tired and happy and our feet hurt so bad after three days of of the Disney life. There was no pomp or circumstance. No one around to see it, besides the statues of Snow White and her Seven Dwarves, (who I like to imagine were rooting for us.) It was perfect. We kissed and a shooting star (remember the LA haze? Remember how stars are a thing of myth in cities? Remember how Disney is magic?) arched gracefully over the castle and Kelsey turned to me, ring in hand, and asked me to marry her. I’m pretty sure I said “really?” because I had convinced myself that this was not going to happen today (I do that a lot, convincing myself that good things won’t happen) and then, of course, I said yes and floated out of Disneyland on a cloud, holding tight onto Kelsey.
That’s not the end. I wouldn’t let Kelsey be the only one with a proposing story. A month later, as I helped Kelsey move up to Portland so that we could be together in the same zip code and everything, we drove into Twin Falls, Idaho at 11:59 New Years Eve. Fireworks were beginning to bloom out of the gorge. We stopped the car, I made Kelsey get out into the cold night and as the clock struck I asked her to marry me and she was perfect and said yes.
This story, not just a love story, is what we’re celebrating. The impossibleness of our stars colliding, the twists and turns it took for us to realize we were each other's twists and turns, and everything that is to come. The adventure we know and the adventures that we can’t even fathom yet. The mundane that is magical."