So, here you are:
Chris proposed while we were on a trip to San Diego in May 2009. My dad and stepmom were planning a trip to San Diego during the weekend of Chris's birthday; Chris's mom, stepdad and brother were living in San Diego at the time. Since our parents hadn't met yet, this was a prime opportunity to have the worlds collide, so to speak. Little did I know what would happen on that fateful trip, and how much Chris had orchestrated...
On Chris' birthday, a Friday, we had made plans to have dinner at one of the best restaurants in San Diego (El Agave in Old Town --YUM!), with the various parental units in tow. Before dinner, we were going to meet with my dad and stepmom for a drink. On our way to that drink - to be had in downtown Coronado - Chris took me for a stroll down the boardwalk of Coronado. For those who are not familiar with the area, you can see downtown San Diego from the boardwalk and it is a truly beautiful walk. We had walked the boardwalk many times before, most notably on our first date and on our previous anniversary. As we walked, we reminisced about the times before, talking of love and their relationship.
Near the end of the boardwalk, far from any place where they might meet my family for that drink, Chris stopped walking. Hand in hand, he asked me if the remembered The Note.
Of course I remembered The Note!
Here's the deal with The Note:
As you may or may not know, before Chris had left for Thailand in September of 2007 - about nine months after we began dating - Chris gave me a sealed note, warning me not to open it until Chris told me that she could. Torture!!
When he returned from Thailand, I was thoroughly disappointed to learn that I would not get to open The Note. I had been so good an patient! No dice. During the next year (and then some) Chris took The Note from my possession (citing distrust for my ability to refrain from opening it). I bugged Chris about it, Chris pretended to lose The Note. Later, I found it and caught him in the lie.
So, yes, I remembered The Note.
Chris asked if I wanted to read The Note, which, of course (if you know me at all, you've guessed) I did. He produced the infamous Note from his shirt pocket, handing it over to my waiting and now trembling palm. I turned my back to him, as if he were going to read it over my shoulder.
I unsealed it, and drew the innocuous-looking card from the envelope.
At this point, I was suspicious of The Note and its sudden reappearance, but did not dare to presume what was coming.
I opened the card and, written inside, having been jealously kept in hiding for nearly a year and a half was:
"Will you marry me? Check yes or no."
'Check Yes or No' is a very romantic country song,
and one which, I later found out,
was playing when Chris was writing The Note)
My eyes filled with tears and I turned to find Chris on one knee, a ring box open and held out in classic style. Ignoring the box, I flew down on the concrete and hugged Chris, nodding and crying. Chris would later tell me that many people in the homes and hotels next to the boardwalk were clapping and cheering for what obviously was happening.
Eventually, Chris asked me if she wanted to see the ring. (Oh, yeah!! That's part of the deal, isn't it?)
I did. It was and is perfect.
We walked back down the boardwalk, Chris revealing how much planning had gone into that moment. Chris had been conferring with his parents and mine to organize the event starting in January.
This also explained why Chris had been so edgy on the plane ride down, when he'd gotten pissy at me when I was trying to ascertain whether or not he wanted a pretzel while I got one for myself.
I marvelled at the ring, asked questions about how he had put it all together, and listened to him reeling now that it was over. (He was shaking a little, too.)
They arrived at the restaurant and my dad and stepmom were waiting. They had told everyone there what was about to happen (having known it was coming for months), and we received cheers and joyful looks when walking through to the back patio where they joined my dad and stepmom. Mostly, I was speechless (well, as speechless as I ever get), but I drank the champagne that was ordered and enjoyed the feeling of the moment.
After the drinks, we joined Chris' family for dinner, which was lovely (although my memories of the evening are fuzzy from all the surprise and joy).
Following that, we, as a newly engaged couple, went to the country bar, InCahoots, which we had frequented while living in San Diego. This was also where Chris tells me that fell in love with me; country dancing will always be an important part of our relationship. We were able to share the news with many of our friends. Funnily enough, however, another couple got engaged that evening - strangers to us - right on the InCahoots dance floor.
Interestingly, later that evening, Chris asked if it was romantic that he had written the proposal Note so long ago. I laughed and told him that it most certainly was. This is why I love this man.
Also, when we left San Diego the following evening, our engagement was announced over the airplane's PA system and they were presented with a bottle of champagne to take home. (Courtesy of Chris's stepfather, who was working for the airline.)