I had picked up the ring the Thursday before Valentine’s Day. Kirsten knew I was going but, still racing through my mind, I didn’t actually know when or even how I was going to propose. We were headed to New Orleans that weekend but given it would be my first time there and we had no history in the city it didn’t feel right. But then, knowing she knew I had it in my possession, I didn’t want to wait too long. We both knew it was going to happen but I wanted to ensure that even still the proposal wouldn’t feel overlooked. Or taken for granted. It was the least she deserved. So I drove back from the jeweler, mind swirling with possibilities and options. Somehow I felt like I wasn’t the only man to experience this dilemma.
We spent the next three days wandering through late night streets, sipping on drinks, eating an exquisite buffet of gulf coast specialties, diving in and out of various establishments to listen to a note or two of some jazz, and generally enjoying the unseasonably -- for two seasoned Minnesotans -- warm weather. I couldn't have been more excited that it was her I got to share my first experience in that city with.
We returned back to our home on the 13th and quickly retreated into our daily lives; Kirsten had to study for her class and I, for my first Licensing Exam. After a couple hours we decided to take a break, eat dinner, and catch the last few minutes of The Bachelor (one of our favorite guilty pleasures). Sitting there, on the couch, my mind still raced back to thoughts of a proposal. I kept thinking about how much fun the previous days had been and how easily and comfortable it had been to return to our home life. And it hit me, so clearly, that I didn’t want to wait anymore. Our relationship is what I had been searching for and what I wanted. So I made my decision to act.
“I’m going to get up, can I get you anything?”
“Sure, my computer and a drink.”
I brought the computer and a tequila and made an excuse to go into the back hall as if I were innocuously grabbing something from the dresser. Which I was, just probably nothing like what she could have imagined right then. I remember my footsteps walking down the hall. My breathing began to get a little heavier. In my mind, I remember thinking about the weight of the decision I was about to make and how, despite my anxiety, I couldn’t be more sure this was the right thing to do.
I walked out into the living room and sat down next to her on the couch. I think I managed to get out at least three or four solid sentences before she may have realized what was happening. I had no speech prepared. I wanted to speak directly from my heart and mind. I knew I wanted to convey to her just how essential she had become to my life and how I couldn’t imagine not spending the rest of my life with her. But, truthfully, I can’t remember what actually came out of my mouth that night. Thankfully, whatever words I did say resonated with her and, after falling to my knee, she responded with a resounding yes.
To which I responded by immediately flinging the ring box to the other side of the couch.
“You know, you still need to put that on my finger...”
Whoops. Good thing she’s learned to be patient with my excitement.