The Proposal

Grab a cup of coffee, a box of tissues and get ready to hear the most romantic and well thought out proposal in the history of romance!

It was a Thursday, and during my lunch at work I talked to Matt who told me he was just running some errands that day, and when I asked if he wanted to make dinner with Abby he said, “Uh…um….yeah, sure,” in a hesitant voice. 

After a particularly lousy day at work, I walked to my car and as I went to turn on the engine I noticed something on the windshield.  At first glance I thought it was a ticket or a note saying, “Sorry I hit your car,” so I said, “Ah MAN!”  But when I pulled it out I saw it was a cream and white card with vellum overlay tied with a cream ribbon.  Inside was written this:

This is my day to bless you, but those blessings will take some thought and adventure on your part.  This is the first in a series of clues to lead you on your journey tonight.  Don’t worry about dinner and everything, its taken care of.  Just enjoy the task at hand.
Love, Matthew
P.S. You can call me for help

Clue: This hill holds memories of Hanna’s praise and our adoring eyes that beheld the day’s end.

We had just talked about taking one day a month to surprise each other in a "blessing day," where we would just bless the other person by making them dinner, doing the dishes, giving them a backrub...whatever we thought would really let each other know we cared about them and wanted to show it.

At first I thought this clue meant Mount Soledad, where we had gone with a friend before, and it was the place he took me to blindfolded and danced with me under the stars.  Halfway there I texted him and said, “Mt Soledad here I come!  This is so fun!”  Luckily a few minutes later he called and said, “Um…you may want to rethink that clue…where else have we done that?”  “Ohhhh….Point Loma?” “Yup.”  “OK!  I’m on my way!”

On the way, however, I hit a bump and the full cup of coffee I had in my drink holder bounced out and did a COMPLETE flip covering me, my note, my purse, and everything else in my car with cold coffee.  That was fun…but I was so exited I was still bouncing in my seat as I cleaned it up!  I was so jittery and exited I was literally laughing out loud by myself and bouncing and clapping my hands like a little kid—I love treasure hunts!!!

Once I got to Point Loma (after a frantic attempt to make myself look better with some coverup and powder and a really old bottle of liquid eyeliner I found in my car)  I went to the hill overlooking Goodwin and the ocean.  It was there once that I saw him taking pictures of the sunset, and asked if he was going to the Great Escapes guide meeting.  He was thinking about it and I urged him to come and walk with me.  Later, I’d see him playing his guitar up there and join him, and once Hanna came up and we all sat and sang and watched the sunset.  So that’s a little history to that place.  I walked up and started looking all around…the grass, the plants, and finally I circled the tree and saw another note stuck in the bark of the tree.

From this hill our hearts praised God, and you pursued my friendship.  I remember you calling out to me to come to the guide meeting, which continued to bring me to the passions and path I am living today.

Father, may our hearts forever praise you for this memory and solace.

Clue: From here we first met, though it serves only my memory, this is also the entrance to our great escapes (look in the bushes)

I ran back to my car and drove up to the main part of the campus, and headed onto Caf Lane.
At the very beginning of my junior year, his senior year, he was talking to some people I knew and I came up and joined them and right out introduced myself.  Sadly I don’t remember it, because I was in a meet and date anyone kind of mind frame, but he distinctly remembers meeting me then.  I think he even remembered that I had a flower in my hair.  I began digging around in the bushes until I found the third note:

This is still the first conscious memory I have of you here in this spot.  It was a wonderful experience and at that moment I saw maturity and a “woman” not the a-typical pt loma blonde.  Though it was not until later you captured my heart, I knew you were unique and special from the start.  So many great memories spawned and will continue to spawn from this place and beginning.

Father, please continue to water the roots and seeds of our relationship.

Clue:  This place beared much fruit from The Vine, and a place of old friendships and new commitment.  Josh and Sara have their beginning here (right outside facing 2525)

So I was off to the Vine Ellipse Chapel, barely able to constrain myself to a fast walk!   Charissa first called our being a good couple at the Vine.  He had helped clean up one night and after he left Charissa said to me, “You know, you two would make a good couple.”  “Matt?”  I said, “He’s my friend!”  As if that was what he’d always be! Our mutual friends Josh and Sara (who incidentally were on the same San Jacinto trip where Matt and I had our first very long talk) were married in that little chapel, as well.  The only thing that stumped me was 2525….was it an address? 

Outside I began circling all around it, looking in bushed, behind doors…I finally circled the full outside when I spotted my fourth note stuck in the handle of a rail.

This place holds so many memories for us, it is where our spiritual journey began and continues to grow.  This was the first time I witnessed your amazing servant hood and witness to God.  The Vine and this place will always be close to the thought of us. 

Father, may the Vine continue to bear fruit as we seek you in our lives.

The next clue:  This place holds delicious food and a first and last memory of your parents during your college days, it is also where I shared a bed with you Ammah. 
Give me a call before you leave at this point.

I called him and to my surprise he was nearly incoherent.  He had just woken up and he always sounds a little lost and confused when he’s tired, so I was confused myself!  I asked him if the next clue was Humphrey’s and he said yes, and in his mumble he said I had a bit of time and was early, so I could go home and change.  I asked what I should wear, and he said comfortable, like we were going to the movies.  Now you have to remember that I’ve had a 9 hour work day, spilled coffee all over myself during my drive, and I’ll be honest and say that I was running all over the campus in between clues so I had worked up quite a sweat! So you can imagine how relieved I was that I had a bit of time to change and freshen up! 

Right as I was walking into my house, however, he called and said, “You know, I was a little out of it earlier when I told you to dress casual.  You may want to dress up a bit.”  Aaah!  My legs were hairy and I had 45 minutes to get gorgeous! 

I break out my new blue silk dress which I half steam half iron, jump in the shower with a shower cap, speed shave my legs and scrub all over, and figured out something to do with my hair!  I was still in my robe working on my hair and had five minutes to go when Mr. Wonderfully Anxious rang my doorbell!  He was standing there, nice black button down shirt, beard all trimmed, bouquet of flowers in his hand.  OH did he look SHARP!  Mmmm mmm mmm….

I hurried and finished everything up…wish I had taken pictures cause I felt gorgeous!  We went to his car which he had washed and cleaned out, and headed off to Humphreys. 

We walked in and he has a reservation made.  “Oh, Palmer?”  the hostess asks.  We had a amazing dinner as the sun set and all the boats in the harbor turned blue and then lit up with twinkling lights.  A glass of wine, calamari, stuffed chicken breast…I was so relaxed and happy at that point. 

I had convinced myself this wouldn’t be a proposal night because 1)we hadn’t talked about it in 5 months, 2) I didn’t think he’d have a ring and I’d like to pick a ring out together while I know he wanted to propose with something, and 3) could the night get any better than it already was?!?!

I do have to admit, though, the hostess had acted so excited to see us that I combed through my mashed potatoes and chewed everything carefully on the off-chance he had had a ring hidden somewhere in there. Getting engaged at a restaurant was on the bottom of my list of places for a proposal, right there with in front of all my family or at a baseball game during the 7th inning stretch. Just too cliche for me. But no ring emerged and I finished the dinner both satisfied and disappointed.
As the dinner ended and we walked outside he wrapped me in his arms and told me, “Well, there is one more clue to be read.  But if you want we can go to dessert and coffee first.” 

Uh, hello? What would you do? I opted for the clue, of course! He handed me another note:

This final clue represents a place dear to me and my love for you.  This was the place where I was first shown by God the entire beauty of you.  This is the genesis of the epiphany I have lived for the past 2 years.  This is the place where God revealed His glory in the night sky.  This is the last leg of the night’s journey, there you will receive your final blessing. 

This place was, of course, Coronado Island. 

For a little recap, on our first date was on the Thursday night after our last finals were over.  It was the last time we would see each other at least until Bass Lake which was 3 months away…possibly forever since he was moving away and we had no idea where life would take us.  We went to Hot Monkey Love Café, got some chai tea lattes, and listened to jazz music. 

Well, we didn’t really listen to the music. 

We talked…until the café closed. 

Driving back he asked, “Have I taken you to my favorite spot in San Diego?”  No, I said, and he, without telling me where we were going (even then he had surprises!  I love it!), took me to Coronado Island.  The place is on the side that faces downtown San Diego over the water.  During that first date he led me through the bushed to a very narrow brick wall holding up the land right over the water.  We sat on that wall, our feet hanging over the edge, and talked for a couple more hours. 

During that talk, something caught our eye over the city.  It was about 2 in the morning at this point, and something bright and blazing was growing bigger and bigger over the city skyline.  We both were dumbfounded, and thought it was too big to be a shooting star, maybe it was a plane crash or something!  The ball of fire grew to the size of a nickel, streaked over the city from left to right, broke off into three places and died away.  It was the most amazing natural wonder I’ve ever seen, and we were both speechless.  Even then, two years ago, I worked really really really hard on not believing it was a sign from God! 

After it got too cold to talk any more, he said, “You know, I’m kinda hungry.”  “Me too!”  I added, and we ended up at Denny’s drinking coffee and eating pancakes and sausages until almost 4 in the morning!  So, that’s the recap…back to the story…

We drove out to the island and he got out his jacket since it was pretty chilly.  However, as we started walking along the pathway did didn’t put it on, but kept it under one arm and me under the other arm.  We stopped after a bit and while I was looking at the skyline he fumbled around with the jacked and then put it over my shoulders.  I tried not to expect anything...not get my hopes up...

There were a lot of people milling around so we walked until the pathway ended at a little stretch of beach.  The moon was full, light wispy clouds were drifting across the sky, the city was glowing and all was quiet.  A heron was at the water’s edge about 10 feet away from us, gracefully walking around.  We stood there, hugging and enjoying the serene beauty of the night. 

He mentioned that it was a Thursday, as was our first date, our sixth month anniversary date, and it’s the title of the poem he wrote me.  I hadn’t even put that together!  He told me how much he loved me, how he wanted to bless me and honestly those are the only two things I remember even though we talked more than that!  But at the end of it, we were talking about blessings and he said, “Well, there’s one final part to the blessing, and it will be for both of us…hopefully.”  He was holding me and I thought he was shivering but I think now he may have actually been shaking, and his voice was tremulous. “And that is to ask you…” He slid down on one knee, still holding me tight and close, “to be my wife.” 

I had my hands on both sides of his face and was nodding before I could get the word “YES!” out!  He was saying something about a ring in between us kissing while he was still on his knees and pulled out a box with a 1928 (year, not the brand) white gold wedding band.  I was honestly speechless and shocked and all we could do was laugh and kiss and hug for a good while!  He said he was really nervous because since we hadn’t talked about marriage since January, and didn’t know if I would really say yes!  I love that he didn’t wait until he was 100% sure…he realized he wanted to marry me, asked the parents, planned it, got a ring, and proposed within two weeks of his decision! 

The ring is beautiful.  We had different views on antique jewelry…I LOVE the look of vintage, but it kinda weirds him out that someone else owned it (what if they were unhappy, he wondered). This ring, however, has never been worn.  The guy at the antique shop had bought an old jewelry store from a woman who had passed on, so all the jewelry from that era had never been bought or worn.  So he found me a ring that fit what we both wanted! He said he doesn’t care if its my wedding band or just a promise ring, he just wanted to propose with something for me to have and we’d go later to pick out an engagement ring together…how fun!!!

We were giggling and kissing and so giddy…I felt like anything I said would break a spell and I would just wake up.  I cautiously said, “We’re…engaged!”  He said, “Yes we are.”  I could have flown home I was so exited, and I think he could have collapsed he was so relieved!  After ten minutes or so of giddiness, I said, “WE HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE!!!”  And he said, “OKAY!!!”  And we started heading back towards the car. 

Along the way, I was still in serious shock and excitement and we tested out the phrases.  “You’re my….fiancé!”  “We’re getting married!” “We’re engaged!” 

Back in the car we called my mom and yelled into the phone “We’re getting married!” to which we got silence….not so heartening.  But then I realized she must not have heard and repeated it into the phone….and BOY did I get a SCREAM of an earful!!! Hhaahaha, she was bouncing off the walls!!! Then my dad got on and was yelling in excitement!  We called his parents next, then Ammah, and had our own ways of passing on the information.  I didn’t even notice he had started driving or where we were going until we pulled into the Denny’s parking lot.  Once inside and a few phone calls later, we sat across the table letting it hit us. 

Or at least me. 

He’s had weeks to let it sink in for him…this was a shock to me!  And after the surprise wore off, the main emotion I had was like some huge weight had been lifted. 

I sighed, “You’re it. 

And he nodded and said, “I’m it. 

Then we started getting exited about our ahead…we leaned across the table whispering, “We can travel together!  We get to fall asleep together!  We won’t have to say goodnight!  We can have kids!  We’re going to have sex! 

Yes, folks, we were virgins when we got married. And all that crap about “needing to know if your compatible” and “not being experienced” and the rest of the pressure that people put on you is a load of crock. It’s working out juuust fiiiiine for us!