Nate strolled around the shopping centre like he’d done a hundred times before. When you’re a teenager living in the suburbs there wasn’t much else to do to pass the time. Without breaking the law of course.
He was there with his friend Hamish. They weren’t really shopping, they rarely did. They just liked to hang out and hope something exciting would happen, something to differentiate this day from all the others. But so far it was just a day like any other.
Little did Nate realise that something special was going to happen that day. Something that would mark the day for the rest of his life. But more on that later.
As they rounded a row of stores, Nate noticed a girl strolling towards them. She was pretty and something about her prevented him from tearing his gaze away. He was drawn to the cute blonde, with her twinkling eyes and quirky style. He watched as she got closer, and Nate finally turned to Hamish to point out the girl in the overalls.
But before he could say anything, the girl called out to his friend. Hamish knew this gorgeous girl? Hamish offered a hurried introduction and Nate learned the mystery woman’s name was Millie.
Nate, although funny and outgoing with people he knew, was an introvert around anyone not within his tight circle of friends. The fact Millie had joined them had him withdrawing slightly. Walking side by side through the mall, he was continuously aware of her. But try as he might he couldn’t think of anything particularly funny or interesting to say. So, he mostly kept quiet. Better to be quiet than make a fool of himself.
At the end of the day, in the confines of his bedroom, he reflected on his behaviour, aware of how awkward and weird he must have seemed to Millie. She was funny and carefree and wore her quirkiness with pride. Convinced he’d made a terrible impression, the most he could hope to salvage would be a friendship. But despite that, it was the best day he’d had in a long time. Just being around her made him buzz with excitement.
When he closed his eyes that night he saw her face with her flushed cheeks, laughing eyes and his favourite thing, her smile. Even though he’d completely ruined his chances, he smiled.
So, you can imagine his surprise a couple of days later when his phone vibrated in his pocket, receiving a message from Millie. She’d obviously gotten his number from Hamish. Nate was over the moon.
He opened the message and froze. ‘Hai’
What the hell did that mean? Was it long hand for hi? Was it a typo? Did it stand for something? Surely someone wouldn’t spell ‘hi’ with an ‘a’ in it. Did she hit send instead of backspace? Did he care? Not in the least. If she wanted to willingly slaughter the English language, he was equally willing to let her get away with it. Hell, she could make an entire new language for all he cared. The point was… she’d messaged him.
With shaking hands and beads of sweat forming on his brow, he set about carefully constructing his reply. It should be friendly and open, show a willingness to chat, it should be profound and funny, definitely intelligent. Maybe he should ring Hamish and ask for advice. No. That was pathetic. He could do this.
After two entire days of writing and deleting responses, he stared down at his crafted response. It was perfect.
“Hey, what’s up?” he messaged. It may not have been all the things he was hoping for but it was casual and that was good enough for his first message. Besides, it was still a step up from ‘Hai.’
One message turned into two, and two into three, and three into thousands. They messaged day and night. Then they called and chatted through good times and bad. They caught up and started spending time together, going on dates and attending Millie’s high school formal together.
Which until today was their biggest event. Because on that night, they officially became a couple.
Plenty of people thought they wouldn’t last. Being so young, and really little more than children still, it seemed unfathomable that they would be any more than a brief love story. But the more time they spent with each other, the stronger they grew together. They became adults together and still they loved.
Now we come to today, more than two years after this story began. A few days ago, Nate and Millie set off on a plane from Adelaide to Melbourne to spend time with her family. At least, that’s what Nate told Millie. But the truth is much more exciting than that and will make this trip home far more memorable than the others.
Remember back when Nate met Millie at the shopping centre? I mentioned something special was going to happen that day. And it did. Because you see, on that very day, Nate met the woman he would ask to be his wife.
So here we go…
Millie, I know you’re reading this, and I want you to know how special you are. We complement each other and entertain each other. I can’t imagine my life without you and I never want to entertain the possibility. We do everything together and when you’re not right by my side I feel lost. As though a part of me is missing. I love you beyond anything I thought possible and I want to know if you will be my one and only for the rest of our lives?
Millie, will you marry me?
(I will update this the second we find out if she said yes! No pressure Millie but we’re kind of all waiting and cheering Nate on.)
Adelaide author Suzie Jay grew up within walking distance from the beach, dreaming of life as a famous author or Johnny Farnham’s back-up singer. After a stint as a teacher and stay at home mum, she decided to make her dream a reality, writing romance- not singing, because she can’t hold a tune. She didn’t give up on Johnny all together and in her spare time sings along to 80’s hits, bakes and binges on Netflix with her own knight in shining armour- who’s more likely to wear tattered footy jumpers than chainmail.