Despite both attending The University of Texas at Austin and having several mutual friends, August and I surprisingly never met while in college. Upon graduation, we both moved to Houston, Texas to start our careers. This city would represent the grounds where our love initially grew. We first met at the Houston Club in a downtown high-rise just a few weeks into living in our new city. Little did I know that warm night in July 2014 while sipping dollar martinis would be the first time I would lay eyes on my future wife.
I would not see August again for a few more months until we both attended a Drake concert in September. I don't recall talking with her much that night, but it did put her back on my radar. A few more months then passed, and when the opportunity arose to go to dinner with her and a few other friends, I didn't pass up the chance. We had a wonderful dinner, and headed back to my house for a party. It seemed as though no one else was in attendance. I was captivated by this new woman in my life, and spent every hour that night learning as much as I could about her. That same curiosity burns just as brightly today.
Over the next few weeks, we began making plans to see each other more and more often. Monday nights at her apartment became a regular occurrence. Through her home cooking, wine, and the two of us sharing a guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelor, she would host me every Monday night for nearly 4 years. August made me feel completely comfortable in who I was, and we bonded over traveling, family and her near obsession with cats.
As I got to know the Kohutek family better, I realized where she received so many of her wonderful personality traits. Through them, August has grown into a strong, beautiful, intelligent and loving woman. They have been gracious and endearing to me from the very first Easter I shared with them in Salado, Texas. We owe a lot to both of our families, and I very much look forward to becoming a part of hers, and welcoming them into mine.
I recall asking her father, John, for his permission to ask August to marry me. I was so nervous! I had rehearsed what I would say numerous times, but I don't think much of what I planned came out at the fishing pond on their farm. The whole experience was a blur. I do recall when we left, her dad's hug goodbye to me was much firmer than usual. With his blessing, on December 16th, 2017, I proposed.
The proposal story can't begin without giving a lot of the credit to my family for helping with many of the details. My mom was there when I picked out the engagement ring, and scouted out a perfect location to get down on one knee. When the day finally arrived, my plan was set. My sister, Alex, would take August to get her nails done that morning, so that she would be ready for the pictures to come. To get August dressed in nice clothes, I tricked her into thinking we were getting dinner at Uchi (probably the only time I can use that card and get away with it). Before heading down to Lake Austin, my mom and sister went to the location and created a heart with rose petals and candles to mark the spot. There, they also identified a great shooting location for our incognito photographer. Now it was my time to execute. With Christmas nearing, I told August that we needed to get down to Lake Austin to watch the procession of boats and barges that would have festive holiday lights adorned on them. It was below 40 degrees and pouring rain, but August eventually relented to my seemingly naive idea. We grabbed a golf cart from Austin Country Club, and began making our way down to the water. August was not happy to be there! I pulled up to the heart, and walked her through the rain-soaked grass to get there. With the iconic 360 bridge in the background, I asked her to be my wife. I will always remember the tear-filled look she gave me in the pouring rain, it was a scene that could have rivaled The Notebook. Her family was waiting back at my parents' home and we celebrated together. It was a day I will not soon forget.
The milestones in our relationship are too numerous to describe. August loves to explore, and we could write a Houston travel guide depicting our experiences at all of the restaurants, farmers markets and art shows that we have frequented. Furthermore, annual Memorial Day trips to Seaside, winter breaks in Vail, vacations to Canada and Thailand have all nurtured this shared sense of adventure. A lifetime of this is exciting for me to write about.
August, I love every detail of who you are. I still see the shy girl you have told me you were as a child. I can relate. I see the quirky sense of humor every time you point out an ugly dog walking on the street and ask me, "Ben, what are you doing over there." I see the passion you have for those you love the most. I see a woman who will make a fantastic mother to our children someday. I have fallen in love with you completely, and I know I would do the same if I lived a thousand lives over.
We can't wait to share this special day with all of our closest friends and family, and continuing to write our story together!