Kendra is a woman of strong convictions. She is a dedicated friend, a loyal daughter and an excellent physician. Nothing stands in her way. When she sets a goal, she reaches it. So it's only fitting that she met Aaron, her fiance, while hiking an arduous stretch of the Appalachian Trail, a pilgrimage she had dreamed of taking since she was a young girl.
Her pack was weighing heavy, despite culling all unnecessary items the previous night when she allowed herself the rare luxury of staying a motel with a real shower. But she was feeling buoyant and ready for the next hundred miles. While looking down at a snag in her shoelace, she walked directly into Aaron, who was teetering to and fro from his own overburdened pack. She’s not sure how she didn’t hear him coming from miles down the trail because when they both hit the ground she realized, he had about eight pots and pans hanging from his hip that clattered and clanged on the way down.
“Crap,” he said staring up at the trees looming overhead, swaying as if they were laughing at the sight of the two of them, sprawled on the packed dirt trail. “I’m an idiot.”
“I’ll say,” she said massaging her head.
Ahh, romantic first words. It will come as no surprise, of course, that it was not love at first sight.
Both got up, dusted off and after muted apology, made their way back on the trail. But when Aaron started walking in the opposite direction, Kendra began to wonder if he was feeling okay. The trail, of course, can be hiked North to South just as well as South to North, but most people started in Georgia and made their way to Maine, to the top of Mount Katahdin and the trail’s end. But Aaron was tottering down the path in southerly direction. She had a hunch that he wasn’t going the right way.
Kendra brushed it off and continued along the trail. A few days later, however, and a hundred or so miles down the path, she heard a familiar sound - a clatter and clang coming from behind. When she turned around about ten minutes later, as the noise was getting closer and closer, her suspicions were confirmed. Aaron was making his way toward her, looking exhausted and still swaying a bit.
He waved. She faced forward, rolled her eyes, took in a deep breath and stopped on the trail to let him catch up.
When he got to her he was looking sheepish. “Oh,” he said. “You’re the one I knocked over the other day, huh?”
Eloquent as always, she thought to herself. “Yeah,” she said. “Quite the impression.”
“Sorry about that,” he said.
“Let me look at your eyes,” Kendra said and took a step toward him, holding his head slightly back.
“This is a strange way to flirt,” he said and laughed nervously. “But seriously, what are you doing?”
“I’m a doctor,” she said. “I’m checking for signs of concussion. You started walking the wrong direction right after you fell.”
“Oh yeah,” he said. “That’s not a concussion, I just suck at this.”
“I can tell,” she said and glanced down at his cookery.
He looked down too. “Oh crap,” he said. “That’s loud isn’t it?”
She nodded. “Listen,” she said. “I have an extra tarp. Why don’t you borrow it and then you can throw away the tent in your pack.”
“How do you know I have a tent?”
“You clearly have too much stuff in there and I can tell you packed all wrong ,” Kendra said, but she was starting to smile. And so was Aaron.
For the next hundred or more miles, Kendra showed Aaron the ropes, learned that he was hiking for his Dad who had always wanted to go on this trip but had passed away a few months before, and began to fall in love. Aaron had fallen about 30 minutes after they started hiking together.
Fast forward a year-and-a-half. Aaron moved to Boston to live closer to Kendra and the two of them hiked every weekend. But one weekend, Aaron brought a ring and Kendra said yes.
The wedding had to be outside, in the woods. It was the perfect testament to their fated meeting. But, Kendra was having a hard time finding the perfect dress. One that fit her style and made her feel like she was walking on air. She wanted her wedding day to feel like home.
So, after months of searching, when she walked into the SJ Couture studio and started looking through the gowns, she got a flutter. She felt like home. She knew she’d find “the one” here. Then, when she was handed a gown to try that had the perfect mix of grace and style; a princess skirt and a dotted Swiss lace – she got a rush.
“The dress is called Kendra,” she was told. Then her head felt light and dizzy, the same way she felt after Aaron barged (literally) into her life. It was the perfect match, just like them.
“This,” she said. “This is the one.”
So when they danced into the sunset, she knew that the stars had aligned and she looked down at their hiking boots in formal attire and smiled. Aaron caught her eye and kissed her. Happily ever after.
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