“What do I have to do to get to see you tomorrow?” Kevin asked at the end of our first date. We had met on a popular internet dating site and had immediately begun seeing each other on a daily basis. At the end of each date, he would again ask the same question with complete sincerity.
With each inquiry, I became more awestruck that I was in the midst of a relationship without a trace of “game playing.” We were upfront with one another about how we felt. We didn’t argue or play “hard to get.” There was no room for anything but pure affection and respect in our new found relationship. Then one day, Kevin told me he loved me. He was in the middle of the kitchen preparing our dinner, and he just stopped, looked me in the eyes, and proclaimed his love. I immediately returned the sentiment, feeling like I had already loved him forever. We had only been dating for one month, yet we had not missed a single day of seeing one another. It was simple, but intense. It was timeless.
Two months later, Kevin took me to Maggiano’s, the restaurant where we had just met a few months before. He greeted me that evening with roses. “This is the exact variety you gave me the first time we met!” I exclaimed with delight. Then as we entered the restaurant, my heart somersaulted in my chest, as the hostess sat us at the very same table where we had shared our first dinner together. “What a wonderful coincidence,” I thought naively.
Before I could open my menu, Kevin had dropped to one knee beside my chair. “What do I have to do to get to see you tomorrow and every day after that?” He asked with that same humble sincerity I had seen at the end of each “Good night” kiss since we met. I noticed that his hands were shaking, as he held out a velvet ring box, and then realized with complete bewilderment that he was actually proposing to me.
I frantically shuffled the thoughts in my head until I knew the answer. “Just love me for me, as you have since the moment we met.” Tears of amazement streamed down my face, as he placed the engagement ring on my finger.
“That will be my pleasure, Sweetie. And will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
“Of course!” I exclaimed, joining him on the floor to seal the deal with a kiss in the middle of Maggiano’s.
Kevin and I married just three months later, after having only known each other for six months. Many would argue that we had gotten caught up in a whirlwind of romance and that we had moved too quickly. Had I not known myself and my groom so well, I probably would have agreed with them. For reasons I could not put into words, I always felt a particular urgency when Kevin and I were together, as if we had no time to waste. Neither of us had ever felt that sort of need to experience everything we possibly could together.
Perhaps we knew then what our future would hold just two and a half years later. On my 35th birthday, Kevin and I learned together that we indeed may not have the privilege of “growing gray” together. I felt the tomorrows slipping quickly away, as the oncologist informed us that Kevin was being diagnosed with a deadly and incurable form of cancer. Without a bone marrow transplant, the prognosis was only one to three years of survival. With a transplant, he may have longer, we were told.
Today, almost two years following that ominous diagnosis, Kevin is in remission. After enduring months of intensive chemotherapy, surgeries, a bone marrow transplant, and a clinical trial at a leading cancer center on the other side of the country, we feel as if we have experienced a lifetime of joys and fears together.
As I reflect on our courtship, I am grateful that we didn’t waste a single moment of our time together. Only now, as I look over my shoulder, do I realize the luxury I once had of knowing I would see my beloved tomorrow. And so now, on bended knee, I ask the universe, “What do I have to do to get to see my husband tomorrow?”
“Don’t forget you have today. It will be enough,” the universe wisely reminds me.
Proposal Story by:
Cathy Crenshaw Doheny