Mississauga/New York. Natalie meets Vitaliy on her 21st birthday but their story won’t really begin until the night of a friend’s birthday three years later. Are we noticing a trend here? Lot’s of meetings happen at random friend’s birthday parties, no? Ok, let’s start.
It’s her friend’s birthday and Vitaliy offers to act as designated driver for the ladies. At the club, while the ladies are chatting up a group of men, Natalie is chatting with Vitaliy – or rather, tipsy 24-year-old Natalie is rambling about God knows what and Vitaliy is patiently listening and becoming increasingly interested. But hands off – she has a boyfriend. Months pass and one day Vitaliy notices that Natalie has changed her Facebook status to ‘single’. Oh what a changed relationship status on Facebook can do! Immediately the phones are ringing. Vitaliy calls their mutual friend to find out if it’s true. Said friend calls Natalie to see if she’s interested. Despite her protests of wanting to be single for a while, the mutual friend pulls the guilt card, “Honestly Natalie, I never ask you for anything, please do this one favour for me!” Natalie succumbs and agrees to meet but on one condition: her friend must come along with them. They go for sushi on a random Tuesday night and laugh so hard their cheeks hurt. Spontaneously, the girls invite Vitaliy to join them on their ladies week-end in New York City. Naturally, Vitaliy agrees. By the end of their week-end, Natalie is feeling those butterflies, but despite how persistent he is, she is still hesitant to jump into something. On a side note, Natalie loses something super special to her on this fateful trip to NYC – a piece of 80s jewelry belonging to her mom. The vintage piece held no monetary value but Natalie loved this gold heart-shaped necklace and losing it devastated her. As the Christmas season rolled around, Vitaliy comes to Natalie with a gift and tells her it took him a month to find something for her. Natalie unwraps her gift and discovers a necklace in the shape of a gold heart.
Tulips, New York City, USA
Naked Cowboy, Time Square, New York City, USA
Christmas gift from Vitaliy (photo provided by Natalie)