I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. Right? Not expecting it. At the least likely moment, it became suddenly clear… I was going to marry her.
It’s been nine years. Who would have thought that a blind date that started at a gas station in the most awkward fashion would turn into the love of my life. Not me. I thought after getting her lost looking for some restaurant and then showing up in my mothers late 90’s gold Camry would have done me in. I was on the phone with my buddy, trying desperately to find the restaurant, when I got out the car to introdude myself. She pulled up in a silver Volkswagen Jetta, blonde hair neatly parted, long black dress coat jeans and boots. This is my first memory of her.
It became apparent that, depspite my efforts, I was never going to find the restaurant I had in mind in any reasonable amount of time, so I called an audible. There was a place down the road who’s food wasn’t the best, but it was there, and open, and most importantly, I knew where it was.
So we had dinner. I couldn’t tell you what it was. Maybe chicken? Who knows. We talked for hours. I tried to be funny, she humored me, and so naturally we got on famously. There’s been a little of that in everyday since.
Dinner drew to a close and it was time to go. For the first date, this was the dreaded moment. How do you close out a nice date in the least awkward way possible. A kiss? Handshake? Lame.. As we strolled thru the parking lot I noticed there were people everywhere. Like the entire town came to hang out at this one mediocre establishment on this particular night in October. I started to panic…. Just a little. We reached her car, and it hits me… “Wanna hug it out?” “Sure,” is the response. A quick hug, eight grade dance style (No complaints. She did meet me at a gas station) ended the evening. And she was on her way.
No way she’s going out with me again. Creeper in a gold Camry at the Sunoco? Good luck with that.
But she did (Im still not sure why). And we spent the next three and a half years growing closer, moving in, and spending time together. I work away from home, but we always seemed to have time together. Never enough when I was busy, but it worked.
I had been thinking about proposing for a while, but you know, Im a guy and marriage scared the shit out of me. We talk about it a little, the possibility of getting married someday, that is. I knew she was it. I just hadn’t found the nerve to set things in motion. And then one day, it became clear to me.
I was in Newark. I know, right? Of all places. I was preflighting my airplane, looking up at the tail section and thinking about her… Something we had done the week before…. I can’t remember now…. And out of nowhere I said to myself, “I’m gonna marry her.”
I actually stopped in my tracks. What now? Yeah thats right. I, was going to marry, her. And just like that, the decision was made. That was the plan anyway.
So I went about searching for a ring, and thinking of the best way to pop the question… I hate that saying…. Anyway, I fnally ended up at a popular jewelry store and found the right stone and setting. While finishing the paperwork the salesman was going over some discounts I was going to get, when he told me I would be getting 20% off wedding bands.
Wedding bands? Like a DJ? No… Why would they be giving discounts out for……… Oh. Wedding bands.
The look on my face must have been telling. Yes, he said, wedding bands. Right. Because I’m getting married.
I’m getting married.
You DID realize that’s what this was about, right?
So I have the ring, now I need a plan. I’m not sure how I came to the decision, but having just been to Switzerland a few months before, I started looking into flights to Europe. Paris looked ok. Everyone likes Paris right? So there it is. I’m going to propose in Paris. I, have a plan.
Sounds good right? So at some point I had the brilliant idea that it would make the proposal all the more surprising if in some of our talks about getting married I would mention that I was too broke for a ring, and we’ll get around to it eventually etc. This was pretty effective in keeping her in the dark. A little too effective it seems.
Fortunately, she hadn’t run out on me by mid November and the trip to Paris was on. Three short days between my trips was all we had. She came down to Newark to meet me on a Sunday night and we got on the flight.
The first day was a blur. Between jet lag and continual panic about how and where to propose I don’t remember much. The important parts are impossible to forget. We spent the day walking through the city. Passed the Arc De Triumphe, down the Champs Elysées, and in the evening ended up on the Eiffel Tower. This was the spot. We go all the way to the top, but it’s cold and windy and she refused to go out on the balcony. Damnit. Ok let’s go down to the second level. We got off the elevator and made our way through the crowds to the edge of the balcony.
“Hey, head over there ok?” I said as I maneuvered her through the crowd. “I have something for you.” I vaguely remember jumping up and down for a sec… I’m a nerd.
I produced the ring, and her her say, “oh my god.” I didn’t get down on one knee… But I said the thing I had been wanting to say for some time. “Will you marry me?”
I joked later that she had to say yes because I was her ride home back to the states.
We spent the rest of that rainy night walking along the Seine River and talking about wedding plans. I had been waiting forever to talk about this stuff with her. I couldn’t have been happier.
That was six years ago. We went back to Paris in 2010 at what would turn out to be the end of my year of unemployment. We were fortunate to have more time to see more of Paris and the French countryside, and made sure to stop by the Eiffel Tower four years (and a day) after our engagement.
We’ve been married for four years now, and are waiting, maybe not so patiently, to start the next chapter in our life. With all we’ve been through, I know I could not have picked a better partner in crime, and potential fist fights…. (that’s a story for a different time). But truthfully, I am continually amazed that this incredible woman saw something in me that made her want to share the rest of her life with me.
Now if I could only get her to share the covers…..