Really, I never thought it would happen. I had finally accepted the idea of being a long-term girlfriend, one that has the commitment of marriage without the ring, the ceremony, and the piece of paper. We had talked about it some and decided that we would wait for a very long time to get married.
When he took on a second job, I was suspicious. He claimed he needed the second job to pay for our annual beach trip, a trip that he planned this time, complete with a very nice hotel room and a reservation at a fondue restaurant (in addition to the usual stuff we do at the beach). But he also told me how much he was spending on those things, so I was skeptical that he would need to get a second job to pay for it. I went back and forth about that.
There were other clues, too, but none so big as to give away his intentions. As it was, I didn’t know it was coming until he showed me the ring.
We were on the beach. I had been telling him a story about a conversation I’d had with his mom about our trip during dinner, and after dinner we decided to walk on the beach.
“Tell me again what you talked to my mom about,” he said.
“Well,” I said, “the first year we came to Wilmington, we were walking on the riverwalk and we saw that place set up for a wedding.”
“Yes,” he said. “I remember.”
“The second time we came, that wedding party came to the beach to take pictures,” I said. “I don’t know what will happen the third time.”
“I do,” he said. “The third time is when I am going to propose.”
And he pulled out the ring, a look of sincerity mixed with amusement on his face because he knew that I was not expecting it at all.
I couldn’t speak for about five minutes, except that during those five minutes my brain reminded me that he was waiting for an answer. I managed to squeak out a “yes”. I had tears in my eyes, which surprised me. It takes a lot to get that kind of reaction out of me, but as I thought about it I realized that it was the perfect response for him. All of my life I have had walls put up against any hurt and any pain, because my life has been mostly hurt and pain. But slowly and surely I have watched the walls come down through his amazing love and respect for me. It is almost like after so many years of being unable to show emotion, I have finally found the ability to. And that is what he got from me that evening.
I love you, Clint Harrison, and I can’t wait until we get married!
And yes, this time it IS a picture of the ring!