Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our proposal, part 1.

Aaron and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary this month, and I have never recorded parts of our story. As I recall them and write them down, I thought I would post edits of them here so you all can read along, too. I hope you enjoy!

We had been to look at rings several times, and he had a clear idea of what I liked. He told me that there's no way he'd ask before he finished his undergraduate degree, and that I'd have to be content with that. I sighed, wondering why we'd looked already if he wasn't going to ask for another half year. Was he crazy, stringing me along like that?

It was mid-sixties, unseasonably warm for the first week of February in Nebraska, and early in the week I mentioned that if the weather held up we should do something outside. Maybe drive out to Branched Oak Lake. Definitely, he said, and we made a date.

The week went by, and the forecast held out. I knew he told me there was no way he would propose, but something inside me told me differently. I paced through my apartment, telling my roommates that I didn't want to sound crazy, but I really thought he might ask me that night. They smiled, not knowing for sure what to say. My friend Jessie called me and asked if I was busy that evening. I told her that I thought Aaron was going to propose. She asked if I was joking, and I said I didn't know. And I really didn't.

I remember getting ready for that night. I wore my favorite perfectly worn jeans and a pullover that I loved. My hair was in a ponytail, and I wore the pearl earrings he bought me for Christmas. I was nervous and had Bailey's before he picked me up – my former roommates still joke about that. 

The drive out to Branched Oak Lake is about 15 minutes from campus down country roads. I don't remember Aaron being especially nervous, but I do remember that as we came to the four-way stop where Branched Oak Lake road meets the highway, we came upon a wreck and Aaron was very, very concerned about whether or not the road was closed. The wreck was minor, but it blocked both lanes of traffic on the country road, and so I was surprised with how upset Aaron seemed about the wreck. Little did I know that was the only way to the lake, and if the road was blocked, his perfectly planned engagement would have to be postponed.

Fortuitously, just as we approached the four-way stop, the police car, wrecker and fire truck moved into the opposite lane and headed back toward Lincoln. We watched the beginning of the sunset from the fields, gold flecks of the sun reflected up with a background of black evergreens.

We got to the lake and parked at the edge of the pier where we first met and began walking out to the jetty. It was cold and the wind was blowing. My hands were freezing because I forgot gloves. My lips were chapped. I followed Aaron and watched his silhouette against the brilliant colors of the sunset. It's funny that one of the things I remember the most is the way Aaron's black air was windswept against the sky. It looked like the naked branches in the frozen lake. I hope I never forget that memory. 

The jetty goes from gravel to rocks about midway, and the strong wind made us slow down as we walked toward water's edge. Aaron was still walking ahead of me when he stopped, turned around and said my name. I looked at him, and heard him repeating my name. My heart began to flutter as he reached in his coat pocket. 

Was this really happening? 

From here, I really don't remember what happened. I remember only feeling outside of my body, truly. I heard what Aaron was saying, and I saw him get down on his knee and the tears forming in his eyes. I don't know what he said before he asked me if I would be his wife, but I remember saying "of course," and watching the tears fall down his face. He held the ring box open for what felt like minutes but was probably only 20 seconds, and I pointed to the ring and he laughed and cried and took the ring out and asked me which finger it went on. His fingers were freezing and his teeth were chattering. His eyes changed to the happiest smile I've seen. He looked relieved. 

 We stayed on the jetty and watched the sun set into the cold Nebraska winter. It was the most incredible colors. 

All I remember is overwhelming happiness. I was completely surprised, and I had guessed it all along. 

to be continued.


Jillian Anderson said...

this made me kind of want to cry. Love it. You should put more memories of college life on your blog, since I didn't know about those!

Leah said...


Emily said...

Thank you both. Jillian- I will try to. What kind of stuff would you like to read?