Friday, August 04, 2006

Surprise!

So because Suzanne asked so nicely, I will tell you the story of our engagement. I had alluded to it in a much, much earlier post, (back when I had like, two readers) but I didn't expand much and it is a story worthy of expansion.

Hubba-hubba and I met when we were both 19, working at the same city. We began dating when we were both 21, and dated continuously for seven years, perhaps with a bump or two here and there, but nothing serious. We knew very early on in the relationship that marriage was a foregone conclusion. But, we also wanted things to be just right when we got married, and waited for various things like being able to buy a home and finishing our degrees before we tied the knot.

In fact, it was such a foregone conclusion that we actually custom-made my engagement ring together, going on diamond-hunting expeditions to the LA jewelry district and finding a ring maker. This, by the way, was back when we had quite the bit of disposable income. So I knew he was going to ask me, I just didn't know how or when.

At that point in our lives, we traveled a lot, and went to Vegas quite often. It is only a four hour drive from here and it used to be much cheaper to stay there than it is now. We had planned a weeklong visit in August, and I thought nothing of it when I requested the time off from work. In fact, I thought he was going to pop the question in Vegas, so I made sure to stress this fact to my boss as she hesitated to let me go.

The night before we were supposed to leave for Vegas, we went out to dinner. Hubba-hubba looked at me and took a deep breath. I thought for a second, ohmygod, he is so not going to ask me to marry him over cornbread at Marie Callendar's or he is dead meat! Luckily for him, he told me that we weren't going where I thought we were going, and to pack different clothes. You see, that is the beauty in our knowing each other so well. He wanted to surprise me on the morning of the trip, but knew he would be in deep trouble if we were in San Francisco and all I had were tank tops and shorts!

So off to SF we drove, heading north instead of east, and adding another five hours or so to the drive. It turns out that he had booked everything in advance, even scoring us tickets to a Giants home game. He had until that time resisted going to SF with me, and I could never figure out why. What I didn't know is that he had always secretly known that he wanted to propose to me there, and hadn't wanted to visit until he was ready to propose since that was the memory he wanted to have of the city on his first visit. Who says men aren't sentimental?

It became a game of "when will he propose" and at every sunset or touching moment, I kept wondering when the ring was going to come out of his pocket. Because I knew it was there. He was trying to keep me off balance, and doing a pretty good job.

On our third day, he wanted to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, and I readily assented. First we went to a park that is right at the end of the bridge, the name escapes me at the moment. It is a big tourist spot, and we spent some time there. Then he suggested we leave, and then took a route I was not familiar with. He was heading toward Fort Baker, which also lies across the bay from SF in Marin County, up in the headlands. It was coming up on sunset, and of course as we got out it was very windy and the city was just beginning to sparkle. I remember regretting that I left my hair down as it whipped my face, but I didn't want it to be in a ponytail at the special moment, whenever that might have been. Needless to say, I spent those first three days getting majorly lashed by my hair.

Very close to the edge of the cliff, where we stood by Battery Spencer, (although I could be wrong with the name since I didn't do any of the planning) there is a tree. A gnarled, twisted tree that has been buffeted for who knows how long by those heavy bay winds. You could climb into this tree due to the way it opened up at the roots. Therefore you would be standing basically inside the tree, cradled by the multiple trunks and branches although you had done no actual climbing.

It was with me inside the tree that he traditionally dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him, along with reciting a stanza of a poem that he had memorized. This poem, actually a snippet of a song we both love and which I will not reveal because I swore I never would. Don't worry, it's nothing weird or anything, it's just between us. Anyhoo, of course I began crying and said yes, even though you would have thought after almost eight years I would have said just stick the ring on, would ya?

So we stood holding each other for a long time, gazing at San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as the sun set. We only left because it was becoming too dark to make our way back to the car safely. We ordered champagne from room service when we got back to our room and uh, officially celebrated our engagement.

And even though that was not my first trip to San Francisco, it wins hands down as the best.

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