The story of Jason and Kyra is told in a pair of secret messages.
I haven't seen the contents of either of those messages, of course, but knowing how they came into existence is a story to share.
It begins with Kyra, about seven years ago — which is about five years before she met Jason — at a gift store in her native Kansas City. Sifting through the hundreds of varieties of Hallmark salutations, she found one that she had to have, one that she had to give...but she did not to who to.
The card contained only a drawing of a red heart, with a smiley face; on the inside, it read "When I see you, my heart smiles." That was the perfect description, she said, of the feeling she wanted to have.
She just wondered who would give that feeling to her.
She bought the card. Years went by. A few nice gentlemen came in and out of focus in her life; the card stayed with her.
Work brought her to Chicago, and in the summer of 2009, she attended a conference her church organized with sister congregations from other cities; Jason worshipped at one of those sister congregations, and went to the same conference. The schedule included a dance on Saturday night. In that room, one of them spotted the other, and felt a spark.
Now, which one caused that spark, and which one felt it, may long be debated in their new home.
"I walked in," Jason told me, "and this pretty blue shirt I was wearing caught her eye."
"Whatever, you asked me to dance," Kyra asserted.
They danced and talked, and at the end of the night, Jason gave Kyra his business card.
"He didn't ask for my information," Kyra recalls.
And the gamble was bigger than just hoping she would call: Jason had never set up his phone's voicemail, and had never received or sent a text message in his life. But Kyra did call, at a fortuitous moment when Jason was available to pick up, and their first conversation went well.
Their first date did not: Jason's Plan A fell through, then Plan B fell through. By August of 2009, he was on Plan C, which worked out, and the resident of Milwaukee took Kyra to the Wisconsin State Fair.
Plan C was a winner, more dates followed, and in October, Jason asked Kyra if she would officially be his girlfriend. He did not know it at the time, but he made the move on Sweetest Day. Though incognizant of holidays on which boyfriends are obligated to pander, Jason still told me that he is a natural romantic.
Kyra corroborates this assertion.
"Every time he looks in my eyes, he makes me feel like I'm the only person he sees," she told me.
And when he puts his arm around her, she feels warm. All over.
Which brings us back to the card Kyra bought years ago in Kansas City.
"I saved it, because I wanted to give it to someone special."
"He was different than anyone I ever knew. I just felt like he was an answered prayer."
These days, Kyra calls Jason "My blessing."
And the natural romantic's pet name for the girl he was falling deeply in love with?
But, Jason was falling deeply in love. He started praying about whether she should be his bride — and, every time he thought about her, he became more and more peaceful. Jason hustled at work and was goofy at play, but Kyra was the force that made him feel calm.
Which brings us to the other secret message, and the proof of Jason's romantic prowess: He wrote personal vows, with his own hand, on a scroll. He gave his bride that scroll on their wedding night, after they left their reception, in private.
Only they know what is contained within.