Claire and Barkley
How We Met
Barkley and I met in college, but not as traditionally as most. We went to the University of Tulsa (which is a fairly small school), had the same major, had a lot of mutual friends, knew who each other were–but somehow, we didn’t have a class together until our last semester of college and we didn’t manage to actually meet until March of our senior year. I had made the last minute decision to meet some friends out at a party, even though I was tired and wanted to stay in and watch HGTV. He had also considered not coming to the party, because he’d been traveling all day and had just gotten home, but decided to go at the last minute. He told me later that he had previously noticed me in class… and his friends talked him into going in case I showed up. Half an hour before the party wrapped up, I went downstairs with my friends to dance. I spotted him a few feet away, recognized the cute tall boy from my class, and without thinking walked right up to him and said hello (conveniently forgetting to acknowledge the fact that we had never spoken before). We started dating a month before we graduated and he moved back to Dallas, which seemed like a risky move. However, when we went out on our first date and talked for three hours, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. We graduated and were long distance for about four months before he scored a job in Tulsa and was able to come back for good. As I saw more and more of who Barkley was–smart, witty, tenacious, and caring beyond measure–I knew I would be lucky to marry someone as incredible as him.
How They Asked
The week of New Year’s Eve, Barkley told me that he wanted to take me out on a surprise date that Saturday. I was a little suspicious, but since surprise dates were something we did from time to time, I figured I was overthinking it. He told me to dress nicely and to be ready at 5:00 pm sharp. I was actually ready on time (for once) and was waiting for him when he showed up at my apartment. We got into the car and he started driving through downtown, telling me that we had dinner reservations, but he wanted to get cocktails before.
I had absolutely no idea where he was going, as he kept making U-turns and driving all over the place–turns out he was stalling to make sure everything was ready. As sunset was just beginning, we finally pulled up to a parking garage. This parking garage is somewhat of a “best-kept secret” in Tulsa: I love architecture and the art deco buildings downtown, and this parking garage had an unbelievable view of the skyline.
He said “I thought we would do drinks here! I thought it’d be a fun location rather than just going to a bar.” Still not suspicious, I replied “Sure! I love that!” We drove up to the top level of the parking garage and parked, and when we got out of the car I noticed a table sitting there with all the ingredients for cocktails and a dozen roses sitting on it.
I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was, but my first reaction was “Did you leave a full bottle of gin unattended on top of a parking garage to come, get me?” He just said, “Uh….don’t worry about it.” Haha. After we stood there for a few minutes chatting, he said “You know, we’ve been on a lot of adventures together. And I want to keep going on adventures with you for the rest of my life.” He got down on one knee and popped the question, and of course, I immediately started crying and said “yes” with my whole heart.
At that point, one of Barkley’s friends popped out from behind a column–he had been taking pictures without me knowing, and then took pictures of us in front of the beautiful sunset over the downtown skyline. It was truly magical and I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to promise forever to the love of my life.