Where do I even start with these two? I feel teary eyed looking through this set and attempting to put into words what it means to me to get to photograph Moriah and Erick and this chapter in their lives that they have come to. They met in our 7th grade English class, and I first hand witnessed their affection displayed through him carrying her books to class and the little games they made up so that they could shamelessly flirt with each other between classes, only to rush home after school to get on xbox live to chat and play Halo together. From the start, they were inseparable. All through middle and high-school I watched them grow closer and closer.
By the time Moriah was allowed to date at 18, she wasn't ready to immediately settle down with the person she would spend forever with. She wanted to try the whole dating thing for a while. That was a HUGE mistake. After the first guy, she realized it would be nothing but a waste of her time to be with anyone else when she already knew the person she wanted by her side. They both started college at the University of Memphis the fall after they graduated high school.
On November 27, 2011, Erick asked Moriah to be his girlfriend in front of the giant Christmas tree on Mud Island.
Over the years, I've watched their commitment and steadfast love for each other shift from sharing their favorite candy with each other (Starburst) and falling asleep on the phone together every night, into a strong, unwavering bond built on encouraging, supporting, and always choosing each other through any and everything.
The relationship that I have witnessed grow and transform over the years has been an incredible look into what true, unyielding love should look like. When you find that person, it takes a lot to make it work, while simultaneously taking nothing at all; just leaving you with a wholeness and a desire to experience life with them.
how he proposed...
"Any sane person would opt to stay indoors on a cold, rainy, late November evening. Most people prefer the coziness of a warm blanket and steaming hot cocoa on the sofa watching Breaking Bad, or Dexter, or some other violently appealing television series (some of Erick's and my favorites) with their significant other on a night like that, but that wasn’t the case for us. I guess you could say we had lost our minds...
I thought he was just in one of those adventurous moods that I am typically the one known for in the relationship. He surprised me that night, November 28, 2015.
“I want to do something tonight.”
“I think I saw a party invite on my Facebook. We could check it out.”
“No.. something different. I honestly don’t really want to be around other people.”
Globules of rain trickled down my window catching the city lights and looking like a distorted stained glass display of a lesser known Van Gogh. Suddenly, the possibilities were endless. There were a thousand and one adventures we could have, just the two of us, even on a cold rainy night.
But there was one thing that came to mind immediately. Something I had been wanting to do since inspired by the movie “Begin Again” featuring my other love, the Hulk (I mean Mark Ruffalo) and my first love, music. At my house, I scrounged around for a headphone splitter and a couple of umbrellas, and then we headed downtown for a stroll on Main Street to dance and play in the cold and rain like two crazy people at their own silent disco.
He parked beside a ginkgo tree and I stepped out amongst the yellow leaves, my feet splashing in a puddle as the rain gently fell. The Christmas lights that had been wrapped around every light pole gleamed off the wet cobblestone street. As I popped open my parasol, he took my hand and we both put in our earbuds. I selected a playlist on my phone of instrumental piano music because vocals weren’t feeding clearly through the splitter. The first track on shuffle was the Maxence Cyrin cover of “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies.
I guess love really does make you do crazy things like walking in the rain on a cold night. It might make you ask yourself “Where is my mind?”, but Erick had a different question on his mind that night...
As we strolled into the Court Square alone (the only people psychotic enough to be outside) we stopped in front of the fountain and looked up at the twinkling blue lights that simulated the water you would find there on a summer afternoon. Suddenly, Erick began to set his umbrella down and I had no idea what to expect next.
The puddles at his feet didn’t stop him from taking a knee. My mind couldn’t keep up with the events unfolding before me. It was stalling out in the cold, I suppose. Perhaps I was just shocked to register that a moment I had known would come, but never imagined, was happening right in front of me. It never even seemed necessary for him to ask me to spend the rest of my life with him. The love and commitment we felt toward each other was more like an instinct. He was – he is – my person. And without ever having to ask one another, it was known and felt that we were always going to be – and always supposed to be – there for each other.
So of course I said yes, and of course I cried my eyes out. And Love is not staying inside when the weather is bad. It’s handing your person an umbrella (and sometimes a pair of headphones) and walking in the rain.
Side by side…