There I was,
in St. John,
on my bed,
looking down at my husband,
who was on his knee,
holding out a box,
in his hand.
But, peaking out from the shell-like box was not an engagement ring.
It was a ring, yes.
But a diamond on a band, no.
Instead, there was a gorgeous mother of pearl ring, a tropical flower on an etched band.
He opened his mouth to speak.
I wish that I knew now how to emphasize how quickly the next four words came out of his mouth, but I do not know how to put it into plain words.
My husband had my left hand in his,
Looked me in the eye,
And asked, as fast as is humanly possible,
“Will you marry me?”
Now, let me reiterate, he said these words so quickly that I could barely make out what he had muttered. However, a proposal isn’t exactly the time you want to say,
“Stop. Wait, what?” So, I decided to go with my gut,
figuring that I had heard him correctly, as I bounded into his open arms, nearly knocking him over from his stance on one knee, as I shouted,
“Yes! Yes! Of course, yes!”
(or, something like that).
Where was my long speech about how much he loved me?
Where was my poem or original song or slide-show about how he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life with me by his side?
And, wait, again.
Where was my engagement ring?
Not that this flower ring was not beautiful,
It was. Very much so.
But, we had talked about engagement rings, and even tried on engagement rings, so this was unexpected.
I looked down at my hand, the flower gleaming off of the tanned skin on my left ring finger, and I was happy. Purely. Simply. Happy.
If this was to be the ring that donned this finger, I would wear it proudly and with great love.
At that point, my parents, sister, sister’s friend, and that dear, sweet room service delivery-lady flooded into the room, showering us with hugs, kisses and congratulations. The cell phones were broken out, calls were made, pictures were taken.
It was magical. If only I’d had the foresight to change out of those velour sweats and turquoise and fuchsia t-shirt that said something along the lines of “Poolside Couture”, or something equally as offensive. Oh well.
The room was a loud flurry of excitement, so although I was soaking it up, I was also relieved when my husband pulled me aside, so that we could enjoy a moment,
“Let me explain about the ring,” he started.
“I love it. I truly, truly do,” I told him.
And I did.
“I know, but this isn’t your real engagement ring. We have an appointment for you to pick one out when we get home. I wanted to propose to you here, with your family, on the island, but I also want you to have the exact ring that you want, so I thought we could pick it out together. Is that okay?”
He was so nervous, I could tell.
“Um, is that okay? Isn’t that filed under ‘girl’s dream come true’?”
Okay, I so didn’t say that.
What I really said was something along the lines of,
“That sounds perfect. But I really do love my ring. I will cherish it, always.”
And I did.
And I do.
That night, we went out for an amazing dinner at our favorite restaurant on the island.
It all felt like a dream.
We told everyone who would listen about our engagement, and when they asked to see my ring, I displayed it proudly and with great joy.
That night, after dinner, we wandered around the colorful town,
Stopping in a beautiful spice shop to pick out some gifts for our friends at home.
As my husband stopped to browse through the hot sauce collection,
I was drawn to the huge wall of magnets, as my dad’s secretary, who is a part of our family, collects magnets for her desk.
I came across a magnet that said,
“Come ride with me across the sea, the best is yet to be.”
It was perfect. We had traveled together, literally across the sea, to get to this place. But, we had also traveled together across many waters, and I knew that there would be oceans and oceans more to come in our future.
I bought this magnet as a little “engagement night” gift for my husband, and we later used it to hang that most special fortune on our refrigerator door.
I still cannot believe that I got that fortune on the very night before our engagement trip. I later asked my husband about it, wondering if he could have possibly planted it there as part of his plan. Apparently, he had been just as blown away as I had when I showed him that small, white, rectangle, amazed that out of all of the fortunes, I got that one, the night before our trip to the south.
Unexpected happiness, indeed.
Today, the magnet still hangs on our refrigerator door,
Even as we have long moved out of our old townhouse
And into a home of our own.
Although my flower ring has been replaced on my finger by my real engagement ring, it is next to my bed, in it’s special, shiny shell-like box, as it is my most treasured piece of jewelry. In fact, I guess I should say that that ring is my real engagement ring.
Lucky me. I get to have both.
The best part of getting a second ring was that I got a second proposal.
When my husband and I picked out my engagement ring later that week,
A ring that we designed together, from start to finish,
It took some time to be made.
A week or so later, as I was straightening up in our bedroom, my husband came into the room and got back down on one knee, before me.
It was then that he said all that he had meant to say in St. John,
That which he was too nervous to be able to spit out at the time.
He told me all that I had wanted to hear, and so much more,
And I got to say “yes” again, as he slid my perfect, beautiful ring on my finger.
After all of the months and weeks nagging, worrying, complaining and dreaming,
I had all that I had really wanted after all.
I was marrying the man of my dreams, and I was happier than I’d ever been in my entire life.
After a short courtship, we had a longer engagement, and had the most incredible, amazing, joyous, loving wedding a year and a half later.
Don’t worry, I’ll save that story for later.
And when it came time for our honeymoon, I bet you know where we chose to go.
I’ll give you one guess.
Here’s a hint.
it starts with a S and ends with a t.John.
And on that trip, there was no nagging. No nagging at all.