So I proposed to Jen on Sunday. I had this big thing planned, too. When I got back from my conference in California, I was going to take her out to a nice French Restaurant, stop at the build a bear store (because to say that she likes stuffed bears is like saying Winston Churchill “liked” to drink on occasion), and then head over to this cool fountain where I planned to pop the question. This was where we got together back in February to have dinner when she was in town briefly. It was very cold that night, and we joked about how we should go to Canada sometime when it got warm. I remember walking along the shops at Easton, thinking that if I saw her look at me the way she did in the moonlight that evening, I could be happy.
So, like I said, I had this big thing planned. I went out last Thursday with Meg to look at rings and, in less than hour, found what I thought was the perfect one. Christy went back with me on Saturday to confirm it. I dropped some cash on the table, they slid the ring across with a knowing, sideways glance, and I set my mind on waiting for the big day to come. I was nervous and excited at the prospect, but I kept in all in check by repeating my plan, which I felt was a good one, if somewhat generic.
Then stuff changed. She hung out at my place late on Saturday night. I drove her home because she was too tired, and then brought her car back to my place. I then drove her car to church Sunday morning where everybody met (she lives with some friends of ours and caught a ride with them). After church, she and another friend went consignment shopping and I rode back to her place with our mutual friends.
Jen got home from shopping around 5 or 6, and everybody hung out for a while. Jen and Christy watched television while Chad (Christy's husband) and I worked on [project deleted until release forms signed] Later, we all watched some television. We hung out. We talked. It was nice.
It started getting late, so Jen drove me home. She sang along with the radio the whole way and maybe it had something to do with the way the moonlight came in through the window, but all I could do was stare at her and smile the whole way. Instead of dropping me off and heading straight home, she came in to visit for a while. She lives at "party central" for our group of friends so we don't get much time for just us. It's nice to have some time alone, even if it is late on a school night.
We got to talking about the usual stuff and that talk turned to our plans for marriage. It was the joking, kidding kind of stuff, and maybe it was the moonlight again or maybe it was the way she kissed me back when I tried to kiss her goodnight, but I just couldn't help noticing how spectacularly beautiful she was (and still is). It was like that night in February all over again. If I could just get up the courage. If I could just get up the courage.
"Hypothetically speaking, what kind of ring would you like?" I said.
"I don't know,” she said. “Something unique."
"What about an elephant-shaped diamond? Would you like an elephant-shaped diamond?"
"Would you say no if I proposed to you right now with an elephant-shaped diamond?" I asked, smiling.
"No. I'd say yes."
"What about a pink, heart-shaped diamond?"
"You wouldn't buy that even if you knew I really wanted one, which I don't,” she said. “I know you better than that."
"Right," I said. Then I waited a second and continued, "What about a twenty dollar bill that’s been folded up to look like a ring? Would you say no to me if I proposed with one of those?"
She laughed and said, "No. I'd say yes. Then I'd take the ring and use it to buy gasoline."
"You wouldn’t be able to drive your car, then." I said. "Becuase you'd think the gas was too precious a gift to use so flippantly."
"Right," she said. “ I guess you know me, too.”
"Ok. So elephant rings and no dollar bills. I know! What about a plastic ring from a cracker jack box? Would you say yes to that?"
"Yes. If you proposed with a plastic ring from a cracker jack box, I'd say yes."
"Hold on," I said. "I've got one in my room. I'll go get it."
I went into my room and, at first, I planned to come back out and say that I couldn’t locate it, that it was probably gone forever, and that she would never be able to marry me because I had lost the plastic cracker jack ring. I didn't think I would do it this way. Then something changed. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the weekend, I don’t know, but I pulled out the real ring instead. And I went back to the living room and said, "I'm sorry. I couldn't find the plastic ring. All I could find was this."
Then I opened the box and revealed the ring I'd picked up just that morning. She started crying. And her mouth fell open in shock. And she covered her face with her hand the way women sometimes do when they're overwhelmed. And she looked at me with the most beautiful, surprised look I have ever seen. I told her about the big event I had planned, that it was really going to be awesome, that she would really have loved it. I told her that I really wanted to make it a special proposal, because I wanted it to be something she'd remember, and that maybe it was the moonlight or maybe it was just the fact that she's the most beautiful woman in the world, but I just couldn't wait any longer.
And then I said, "Will you marry me?"
And then she said something I couldn’t hear and I said, "Could you repeat that? I couldn't hear you."
And then she smiled and said "yes."
I put the ring on her finger. I kissed her, and she kissed me back. And then we sat like that for a while. Holding each other. In the moonlight.