It took six years to set up, but we went on our second first date. She even let me take her to Historic New Castle again in an effort to reminisce. The evening ended with what seemed to be a timeless embrace. Her delicate arms gripped tightly around me in an effort to keep me from driving four hours to my house in Chesapeake, VA. At that moment I knew a long distance relationship, as hard as it was going to be, was in the works. I wouldn’t lose her again, so I spent the next few months thinking about how to pop the question.
I’m not going to lie; I have lame jokes, but as long as she keeps laughing I’m going to keep telling them. She laughs, and we have fun everywhere we go. The formula usually consists of me taking on the employees or the atmosphere wherever we end up. One of my favorite things to do with her is read in Barnes and Nobel. She absolutely loves being embarrassed a little. I suppose the best way to describe her reaction is a controlled yet giddied fluster. If it is a stoic interpretation from a scene inRichard III, or even a slightly mischievous reading of Rossetti’s Goblin Market, she never really knows what’s coming.
One of her Christmas presents this year was a trip to the Inner Harbor. She had no idea that she’d be coming home with something more precious than a silly shark hat from the aquarium. It was a pretty typical trip for the most part. We arrived in a mild rain storm with the possibility of massive flurries. We wouldn’t let something so trivial get in the way of a good time, so the expedition continued. We explored the aquarium vigorously, stopping ever so often to take an unexpected picture. My favorite being her looking up at a graphic giraffe on the wall. I’m still not entirely sure why it was in the aquarium, but it did do a good job emphasizing her modest stature. The rest of the day was supposed to be unplanned in a proposed lets-just-have-fun weekend. Little did she know the evening was meticulously designed.
We walked around the harbor shops and shared a pretzel from the food court. Before trekking back to the car garage eight blocks away in the pouring down rain, we decided to purchase two umbrellas from one of the hole in the wall stores. We made it all the way to the Baltimore World Trade Center before our flimsy purchase was destroyed in the wind. She just laughed, and we ran all the way to the ESPN zone to get out of the rain. How perfect is she? She doesn’t get upset in the essence of irony, rather she embraces the positive. I knew that seven o’clock wouldn’t come soon enough.
I am horrible with directions. We absolutely get lost everywhere we go. I don’t mind, I mean who would want a ten minute drive from the harbor to the hotel when it could be done in forty-five? Plus she had an opportunity to experience a side of Baltimore that she wasn’t expecting. Not that it matters, but in what world does East Baltimore Street not run into West Baltimore Street? Needless to say we took taxis for the remainder of our trip.
I knew how and where I wanted to propose, but getting her there would be difficult. My plan was to eat dinner at PF Changs, and then finish “shopping” for some last minute Christmas presents at Best Buy and Barnes and Nobel. I knew that if I could get her back to Barnes and Nobel, she would have no idea what to expect.
We made it to the book store and began to investigate their shelves. I pulled her off in two of the store’s nooks to steal a few after dinner kisses. The plan was to get her near the poetry section so I could read her some premeditated passages. I began reading her some of my favorite Neruda:
“Oh, love is a journey with water and stars,
with drowning air and storms of flour;
love is a clash of lightnings,
two bodies subdued by one honey.” – Pablo Neruda, XII
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” – Pablo Neruda, XVII
She looked so delighted and full. I told her that there was one more poem that I needed to read. I pulled a poem out of my jacket pocket that I had written for her.
When I close my eyes
in a dark room–
a silenced path.
There’s a door closed,
but we aren’t trapped;
we choose to stay –
whatever we are reaching
it’s together –
a calm sashay
but I fear deficient.
Dreams do not endure:
I Just Want To Live.
I don’t want to dream alone anymore;
I don’t want to wake in dismay–
afraid to look over
and see you’re not there.
Dreams aren’t animate –
we have a pulse;
exist with me.
After reading her her poem, I looked deep in her brown eyes and confessed my unending love. I described her perfection, her heart, and her soul. I dropped to my right knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. She said, “YES.” If she hadn’t then it’d be pretty creepy of me to submit this online.
We had to sit down for quite some time before leaving the book store. We called all of our family and friends, and I have to admit we’ve been on cloud nine ever since. We’re planning an October ceremony. Wish us luck!
Laura and Andrew became engaged on December 23, 2007, and will be getting married on October 10, 2008.