I first spied him as I maneuvered my ’92 Buick Skylark into a narrow parking spot at Idaho State University’s Bengal Studios. He was keying into apartment 106, and I was his building manager. In the short moments it took to gather my books, bag, and stethoscope, I also gathered Matthew Preslar’s muscular build, clean-shaven jaw line, and overall aura of ‘having it together’. I smiled and thought to myself, ‘Well, shoot. If he were just a little taller…’.
Not only was Matt a bona fide pharmacy student, he was an Idaho farm boy who loved to read and had a girlfriend. I was a senior nursing student busy with a slew of extracurriculars. We made small talk at church, and he started coming to a dinner club I had with a few other residents. Fall became winter, he lost the girlfriend and we found a platonic friendship; discussing politics, medicine, and our mutual love of all fresh fruit. I became exceedingly impressed with Matt, but was not yet smitten by him. After all, I was going to graduate, volunteer as a nurse in wild Africa, road bike through Europe, and publish a best-seller.
As buds reappeared on trees and squirrels reappeared on the Hutchinson Quadrangle, Matt and I carpooled, ate late-night burritos from Rolberto’s, and held heated debates regarding the coolness/lameness of the Los Angeles Lakers. We sat a little closer, smiled a little bigger, and (gasp!) held hands!
However, our story didn’t truly begin until one blissful, balmy, summer’s day in 2008. Atop a rocky cliff overlooking Willow Creek near Bone, Idaho and with an ever-so-faint smirk on his face, Matt asked me what my 5-year plan was. I spouted off a tentative plan and he did the same, ending with “…but mostly, I want to be with you.” ‘Great!’ I thought, simply hoping we would no longer discuss our future in only hypothetical terms. He continued, surprising me to happy tears, “…so, I was wondering… if you would marry me.” His voice was a little shaky and I asked him if he was serious at least twice before telling him I would be honored to be his wife.
It was only after the rush of endorphins had waned that Matt explained, “Sorry, I didn’t kneel… I didn’t want to fall off the cliff.”
I’ve learned that Matt is a picky eater, he hates dancing, and he turns the thermostat down when I’m not looking. He also works hard, helps others, and makes me laugh every day. I’m so thankful for the thousands of reasons he’s given me to have said yes that summer day. I’m not the kind to tell you marriage is bliss, or that a dream wedding is the answer to all of life’s questions and challenges. But I will tell you this: when we kiss hello, I don’t have to kink my neck or stand tip-toed. Matt is all that I want and more than I deserve.