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It was a beautiful fall day with sunshine pouring through the kitchen window. My roommates were off in their respective corners of the house, working on projects and making a familiar amount of background noise. The man I had only been dating for a couple of months had come over, and we were talking and puttering about the house when I had a craving for a snack. I remember bounding into the kitchen, struck by sudden inspiration to pull some cookies out of the freezer. I had made them weeks ago and forgotten about them until that moment. I love cookies, and I rarely get to eat them since I have a gluten allergy. But these I had made from tapioca flour, and they were chewy and lemony and topped with strawberry icing.

Somehow, I ended up standing on a chair in the kitchen holding cookies in both hands, laughing uncontrollably, while Phillip teased me mercilessly. Besides loving cookies, another quirk of mine is that I sort of subconsciously elevate. If I’m bored or happy, I just hop up on a chair without realizing it. In that moment, I was so delighted by my snack that I just stood on a chair so my physical body could match my uplifted emotional state, which still seems logical enough to me.

What surprised me, though, was how delighted Phillip was by my antics. This quiet, serious, nervous man whom I hadn’t quite made my mind up about was having trouble catching his breath, he was laughing so hard. He thought I was ridiculous, in a truly adorable way and told me so. Seeing myself through his eyes, I couldn’t help but find it hilarious, too. And there we were, basking in the joke, until he came over, picked me up off my chair, and plopped me back down on the ground in a giant hug. That was the moment I thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be a future with this man.

It is interesting to look back at our interactions prior to this. Phillip came with all the right recommendations: he was faithful, intelligent, hardworking, responsible, kind, and generous—so I gave him a chance. He kept asking me out, and I kept being open-minded and agreeing to dates, but I wasn’t sure about him. He wasn’t very much fun to be around and left me feeling sort of exhausted in the way introverted people (like myself) feel when they’re the center of too much attention.

There wasn’t any easy chemistry between us or that “spark” that makes you stay up all night on the phone and get starry-eyed when you gush to your girlfriends. All we had were shared values, mutual respect, and his own persistent pursuit. That day in the kitchen, though, the day that I let my guard down just a little, he stopped being quite so nervous about ruining his chances with me, and both of us got out of our own way enough to realize that we really did like who the other person actually was.

Nowadays, I love it when he teases me and paints verbal caricatures of my quirks. I get such a kick out of it because it shows that he knows me better than I know myself and loves even the most ridiculous things about me. And laughing with him is the absolute best.

He asked me to marry him in that same kitchen, about a year after the cookie incident, and I had total certainty in saying, “yes.” I had gotten to know him, his serious side and his five-year-old goofball side. And he knows me, my cool, standoffish exterior and my silly, sensitive heart. Phillip is my best friend, and even though our story didn’t start with fireworks, it endures with love and laughter.