I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when. He had just gotten back from being in Seattle — thousands of miles away from me — for two weeks. It was an eighth of how long I had known him. For me, two weeks was rough!
I am the cheerleading coach where I teach, and I was at a game on a Saturday night. I was just counting the seconds until the buzzer went off, signaling my license to go to his house.
As I approached my car, I saw something underneath the windshield wiper. It was raining pretty hard so I noticed it was wrapped in a plastic grocery bag. When I pulled it into my car, I realized that it was a long-stem red rose. Then, all of a sudden, a poem folded like an airplane fell out with the rose. It was titled, "Lonely in Seattle" and underneath the title was written, "A four-part poem." The instructions at the bottom of the verse said to come to his house for the remaining 3 parts. It crossed my mind that he was just doing something nice for me since he had been gone so long, but deep down I was hoping that this was "it." I called everyone I knew on the way, but no one was at home. Had he called and told people not to answer the phone? I didn’t know.
I don’t remember the 20-minute drive, but I’m sure I was speeding. I got there and on the door was a post-it note instructing me to "Follow the flowers." I still didn’t quite know what was going on. I walked in to stumble upon a trail of more long-stemmed roses, but in between every two there was another verse of the poem. The second verse was also folded like an airplane (you see, he is an aerospace engineer–he was working with a theme), and the third verse was standing up in his kitchen shaped like a rocket. I continued to follow the roses when I rounded the corner to see him sitting on the couch in his den. My head was spinning, but he looked very nonchalant.
When I reached the fourth verse, it was lying flat with directions that said, "Read out loud." I’m sure my voice was shaking. The difference between this last verse and the rest was that the last line was missing. I read the third line: "But before I can be with you the rest of my life." I looked up and he was coming towards me — he knelt down and said, "I first have to ask: Will you be my wife?" I saw the ring box in his hand. I took it and just started to well up with emotion and didn’t even look at it. I went down on both of my knees to his level and grabbed on and didn’t let go for a good five minutes.
After I collected myself, I pulled back and asked, "Did I even answer you?" He said I did. Then I asked him to ask me again because I didn’t catch how he asked me. He asked me again and I said yes. He still asks a couple of times a week. I love that.
When I looked at my ring, he had put it in a ring box that I had kept for this very moment. A student of mine had given it to me a long time before and had made me promise that my eventual fiancé would use it when he proposed. It was a little blue, felt helicopter box. I thought it was cute, but he had insisted that he would never, ever use it in his proposal. But I had never been sure, and I would pull open the drawer in my room where I kept the box to make sure that he hadn’t taken it out for the proposal. It turns out that he had arranged with one of my roommates to come by to "pick up something" (which of course was the ring box) earlier, when I was out of town, and he made sure that I wasn’t going home to check the drawer before he proposed. Although we had talked about it before, I was so surprised to see the box in his hand and the ring inside was stunning. (I can say that because I didn’t help him pick it out at all.)
It was an engagement I will treasure forever and my heart goes out to him for the effort he put towards that special moment. It worked.