This is the love story of a couple I photographed for an engagement portrait. It’s a true story.
“My name is Vanessa. I’m 25, originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Now I’m living in New York City. And this is my love story.
My dream was to become a marine biologist. I was attending high school in downtown NYC. That’s where I met David. We started dating.
A year later, the day of our “first date” anniversary, we were in class when a terrible thing happened. It was the morning of September 11, 2001. From our school windows we saw the towers, falling.
David, like many others, decided to do something to help his country. He joined the army. His training was in another State.
From that point we were almost never together again.
I decided to follow my dream of becoming a marine biologist, and so I went to SUNY Maritime College.
Both of us were busy with our lives and we couldn’t get to see each other. So instead, we’d talk on the phone. A lot.
But then, David got his orders to go to war. He was sent to Iraq for a tour of duty.
It was a difficult situation. The hardest situation by far I’ve ever dealt with. You expect the most horrible things that could possibly happen but yet find yourself hoping for the best.
I can’t even think of how it was for him.
As for me, I didn’t want to answer the phone. I didn’t want to talk, actually.
Really, there wasn’t anything I could do. But to wait. All I could do, was wait.
Finally, David got new orders. And this time they were orders to come home.
He was finally coming home. Alive and well.
But as much as I wanted to be there for him when he arrived back to the States, I couldn’t.
It was because now I had received orders to ship out.
One week before David was due home, I was sent out to sea for several months.
When my tour ended, I went to see him. I didn’t know what to think, my only thought being, “he’s home.”
But now my career had me shipping out every now and then.
Then in 2011, I won a cruise! Pure luck. I actually thought it must be a scam because I never have luck like that! But it was the real deal!
Can you imagine? This was the first time in eleven years we were actually going to be able to spend quality time together. That was great.
It really was! But of course my lucky streak ended: On the last day of the cruise I slipped in the shower and sprung my ankle while getting ready for dinner.
Well, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that that deter me! No one was going to take these final last moments together away from me. No one. Not the slippery shower floor. Not even my hurting ankle.
I was determined to enjoy my last wonderful dinner and every moment with David. And swollen ankle or not – I still wore my heels!
It was right before our lovely dinner ended, that our waiter brought over a covered dish to our table.
David obliged and lifted the cover up. On the plate was a ring.
The ring was etched. It said, “Would you marry me?”
David bought that ring while he was in Iraq.
I said yes. Then I kissed him.
Suddenly, all the dinner guests in the dining room, the ship’s Captain and the Officers, everyone, spontaneously broke out in applause.
It was like that last scene in the movie, “Titanic”!
And I also think, how suiting is it that I was engaged while out at sea? Because this summer, 2012, if all goes well, I’ll be a United States Coast Guard Licensed Third Mate.
I’m excited about that. And I’m further excited to tell you that after twelve years with David, the only man I’ve ever loved, we’ll be saying “I do” this fall. Finally.
No matter what, it seems true love found its way.”
**G.E. Masana (portrait artist and Huffington Post contributer) As Seen In HUFFINGTON POST | MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS | THE KNOT | NEW YORK MAGAZINE | BRIDAL GUIDE | BRIDES | STYLE ME PRETTY | ELEGANT BRIDE | GRACE ORMONDE | WELLWED | TOWN&COUNTRY **
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