Will you be my wife?

Sorry I’ve been MIA. The non-wedding life’s been a bit hectic, and there hasn’t been much happening on the wedding front.

The Knot is having an engagement story contest right now, and I’m a little disappointed that I missed the entry. I think I’ve got a kick ass story, which I’ve alluded to in several of my posts, and it could be a serious contender in the race.

Finally, here’s our story:

Our love story is one that originated in that sometimes sweet, often awkward, but always memorable place: high school–grade 12 physics class to be specific. And, unbeknownst to me until the day J proposed, our engagement story was also 11 years in the making.

On an unsuspecting weekend, J picked me up from my parents’ home; I had spent the night there after celebrating my niece’s 4th birthday. As usual, I was running late, and he waited for me in my old bedroom while I got ready. The closet door was slightly ajar, and J made quips about the amount of clothes still remaining in the closet: “Didn’t you move out?” he asked me. I laughed and continued to prepare my belongings while J rummaged through my closet. He retrieved a gift he had made for me the summer after we graduated from high school—11 years ago. The gift was a cube that opened into a 3-Dimensional photo album, with pictures from our last year in high school. The cube has not left my room since he gave it to me. Now, J is an artistic and creative soul, and so when he asked if he could take the box because he wanted to design something similar again, I thought nothing of it.

Our plans for that day included playing squash in the suburbs, going back to my place downtown, and then dinner for a friend’s birthday. We also planned to go ring shopping the following day. Before we left my parents’ house, J placed the cube in the trunk of his car. We played squash and went to my place. I was ravishingly hungry, not to mention sweaty and a little disheveled, after the game, so I made myself a rice cake and peanut butter sandwich. While I ate, J suggested we look at the pictures on the cube, which he had brought with him. We talked about the memorable events, made fun of some pictures, including some of the people in the pictures. As soon as I finished eating, I got up to get ready for our friend’s dinner—I was running late. However, J persuaded me to hang out and look at the pictures some more. Then, out of nowhere, he asked me: “Have you ever opened the inside of the cube?” (To explain: small, hollow pyramids make up the cube’s inner construction.) I thought this was a strange question because opening the inside would have ruined the structure. “No,” I replied. “Why would I?” To which J replied, “I thought you might have figured out you can open it up. I put something inside the cube when I made it for you.” At this point, I was slightly puzzled. He pulled out an exacto knife and started to cut open the cube. “I wrote you a letter and put it in the cube,” he said. J and I used to write each other cheesy love letters back in the day and thinking this letter was something similarly cheesy, I eagerly opened it.

Dear readers, the letter was anything but cheesy.

I unfolded the 8 x 11.5 lined paper. It was dated August 26, 1999 at 1:05 am. The letter had waited for me for 11 years. Amongst several beautiful and wonderful things written, these lines stand out the most: “You are only reading this letter now because I asked you to. Otherwise you wouldn’t even know that this letter existed…Don’t ask me how I know but I know and I knew right from the beginning that you were the one for me…This letter is hidden here in this “toy” which I’ve designed because I wanted to ask you if you would marry me? Will you be my wife?”

I was surprised, shocked, speechless, and a little choked up. With the letter clutched in my hands, I asked J, “Are you serious? Is this for real?” I looked up, and J was on one knee, with tears in his eyes. “This is for real—I’m on my knees!” I might have asked him a few more times if he was serious—I was completely caught off guard! Remember, dear readers, in my mind we were planning to shop for a ring the next day!

More than anything, though, I was in disbelief that the 19-year-old J knew that he would still love me for years after he wrote that early morning letter, and I was awestruck that after 11 years of wonderful and sometimes difficult experiences,  29-year-old J loved me just as much as the 19-year-old J who wrote that sweet, lovely letter.

Somewhere within this time-space of mass confusion, I said yes and J reached into his camera case on the coffee table in front of me. He pulled out a small package wrapped in tissue paper and opened it up to reveal a shiny, bell-shaped ring box holding the first ring we saw together and fell in love with two months earlier.

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