They first met in high school “though I can’t say specifically when we would have met for the first time,” Dustin says. Monica was a grade above him and they had study hall together. “Throughout those study halls, I do remember liking her for quite a while before we ever actually got to know each other. We would talk a little bit during them, but it was usually just playful banter. I looked forward to those study halls.”
They also worked together at the local grocery store. They both liked each other, went on a few dates, and even went to prom together. “But nothing else came of it because I didn’t think he really liked me and he didn’t think that I liked him. I graduated and went off to college and we lost contact. Six years later, he popped back up in my life. I know this sounds silly, but that first time we hung out after six years of not talking was when I knew he was the one. There was something special between us. When I opened the front door when he came to hang out and our eyes met, it was like time stood still for a minute and everything else just faded away.”
They’ve been together ever since and he proposed last year when they were on vacation in Colorado. “This was the summer following a deployment the year before, so I’d been planning on proposing to Monica on this trip for a long time. However, my initial plan had been to propose at the top of Pike’s Peak, one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. Before taking this trip, I’ve always been interested in high places, nice views where you can see for miles. I had been to Pike’s Peak as a kid, thought it had been really cool and wanted to show it off to Monica. I found out during this trip, Monica likes rocks. I’m simplifying that too much, but she likes jagged rock formations and cliffs, for example, the Royal Gorge and the Garden of the Gods.
“So I made a change of plan on the spot when I found out her fascination since my initial plan to propose at the top of Pike’s Peak was a little polar opposite of hers. And while she did enjoy the views, it wasn’t as striking to her as it was myself. I stowed the ring away, and, later during our trip, we went to the Garden of the Gods. Towards the end of our tour through the park, we stopped at rock formation and I led us up a little ways away from the crowd and slipped into a rock formation that had a little overlook on one side of it. She stayed back initially. I told her I wanted to ‘check it out,’ and went to check out the area, stash the bag, and retrieve the ring from the it. Then I told her to come look at the view.
“She followed me further into the little rock area and proceeded to check out the view. Meanwhile, I kind of slipped behind her. She made a comment about wanting to take a picture, and I sort of chuckled and said, ‘Yeah, here in a minute’ to which she turned around and I was behind her presenting her the ring. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I’m not doing the story justice here, considering it was about as perfect as I could make it. A nice secluded spot, just the two of us, away from the crowds. And it being towards the end of a really good vacation in Colorado.”