I let out an excited cheer as my boyfriend, Kye, pulled out the family photo albums.
"I've been waiting to see these," I teased.
We'd known each other since we were kids, so I was excited to take a trip down memory lane.
"These are so cute, honey," I cooed at the snaps while Kye rolled his eyes beside me.
In each photo, he sported a cheesy smile and a classic '90s bowl cut hairdo. It was hard not to find them adorable.
As I turned the page, I gasped.
"That's me!" I squealed.
Dressed in a pair of overalls and an oversized shirt, a five-year-old me was beaming up at the camera.
Beside me in the picture was Kye, wearing a red jumper.
"I knew we'd grown up together, but I didn't realise we were that close," Kye laughed.
I had no memory of the photo being taken, but it was heartwarming.
My earliest memories of knowing Kye were the two of us competing in handball at primary school.
Even at that age, we had a special relationship. While other girls were indoors doing arts and crafts, I wanted to be outside playing sports.
At around 12, we lost contact when we went to different high schools, but I thought about Kye all the time.
One night, while getting ready for a friend's party, I wondered if he'd be there.
"He could be," my mate said when I asked. Butterflies erupted in my stomach.
I spotted him as soon as I arrived. He looked taller and more grown up.
What a hunk, I thought.
I plucked up the courage to say hello. "Long time no see," I grinned at him.
"Look who it is," he replied.
Just like that we went back to our old ways of teasing each other and exchanging banter.
At the end of the night, I could tell he was lingering for a kiss. Admittedly, I was keen for a pash, too, but I wanted a proper date with him more.
Next day, he asked me out to the movies. I agreed but then I was jittery with nerves.
I spent the whole week deciding what to wear before changing my mind at the last minute to a colourful dress.
Kye and I sat next to each other as Toy Story 3 played on the screen and ever so slowly, he reached out to hold my hand. It was electrifying and terrifying all at once.
After that, our relationship grew and we became an item.
For the next few years we carried on dating and planning our future together. I wanted to be a midwife and he was keen to do a trade.
So after school, I started my four-year degree while he trained as an electrician.
To save money, we lived in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house.
It was cramped, but Kye and I were just happy being together.
"We'll have a place of our own soon," he assured me.
"I want a vegie garden and space for a dog to run around," I said, smiling.
Eventually, we put a deposit on a block of land and started the building process.
Most couples who are renovating argue over doorknobs and kitchen fittings, but we blossomed.
The first night we moved into our house, I couldn't wait to unpack. We even slept on a mattress on the floor because we had no furniture.
"This is all ours," I said. I'd never been happier.
We stayed up all night chatting and running around our new empty home like kids.
Kye got started on creating my vegie patch right away. Within a month of moving in, we had vegies growing.
A year later, we got our dog, Agnes the spoodle, and she brought us even closer.
One day, a friend texted asking if Kye and I wanted to participate in a photoshoot for the online food delivery company Youfoodz.
I loved the idea, but wasn't sure about Kye.
"Babe, wanna do a photoshoot? There'll be free food in it for you," I teased.
"If I have to," he said.
I told my friend we were in.
On the morning of the shoot, I went to the gym like normal and popped on an old dress.
"Do I look okay?" I asked Kye.
"Stunning," he smiled.
Once we were on set, a picnic blanket was laid out along with a basket brimming with yummy treats.
We started taking pictures, then my favourite song, The Girl by City and Colour, came through the speakers.
"This is a banger," I said as I crooned along.
City and Colour was the first band Kye and I saw live together and he was constantly serenading me with his guitar.
A few seconds later, I looked at him as he bent down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. My stomach flipped.
Is this part of the shoot? I thought, confused.
"I've wanted to marry you for the longest time," he started.
I clasped my hands over my mouth in shock.
Was this really happening?
"Will you..." he added.
"Yes!" I squealed, kissing him.
As we celebrated with champagne, my friend and Kye admitted they'd secretly been planning the proposal for ages.
My new fiancé had even booked me a day off work and packed a bag ready to whisk me to a hotel for a couple of nights afterwards.
Our loved ones were stoked when we told them the news.
"Welcome to the family," my brother told Kye, slapping his back.
So far, we're planning to tie the knot sometime next year.
I never guessed I'd marry the boy sitting next to me in my kindergarten class, but now I can't imagine my life any other way.
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Australian Women's WeeklyJun 30, 2022