How We Met
John’s Perspective: A beauty unbound by what I had known before. My heart fluttered as I knocked on the door 4.5 years ago. Long black dress. Eyes deep as to that of an event horizon. I may haven’t known it then, but I think that I did – she would be my future wife. We would grow together fast as if colliding at the speed of light, but only because the course was right. I took her hand. We walked. We started a journey that would never end. We kept pace with our future known, as if there was nothing for our hearts to defend. The story of our lives will always be our own, but from the beginning, we’ve occupied the same throne. Years of sacrifice. Months without touch. You’d think it would be difficult, but the reality isn’t such. When she answered the door in the long black dress, our fate was sealed. That moment led to an eternity all but revealed.
How They Asked
John’s Perspective: Looking out of my bedroom window, the puddles of water were dancing with a steady, incessant flicker. Each drop was taunting me, calling the bluff that I had made months ago when I first began planning an outdoor proposal for a New Orleans summer afternoon. You could call that a basic, rookie mistake in the world of event planning, but it was a vision that I was married to. It was the only inspired idea that lit up my face with excitement and passion – finally confident that I could deliver Rebecca the day that she deserved. And here I was looking at it wash away beneath the gray sky. We had already been dressed and ready to go for 30 minutes, and my attempts to delay in hopes of the sky parting were weakening against Rebecca’s mounting suspicion. I texted Rebecca’s mom, Ellen, “5-minute warning”.
Two hours earlier, Ellen and my mom had arrived at the Catahoula Hotel with a contingent of co-conspirators to put the finishing touches on the venue. A classic New Orleans courtyard within the middle of the hotel would lay scene to the moment of our engagement, with its walls of century-old brick serving as a perfect backdrop. A checkerboard pattern of white and black tiles layered the floor. They awaited the 2000 white and red rose petals which would serve as our pathway to the big moment. Above, was a rooftop terrace overlooking the courtyard from beyond an iron-barred balcony. 30 of our closest family and friends would quench their appetite for food and libations up there as they awaited Rebecca and I’s arrival. Of course, this rooftop terrace was mostly uncovered. Our poor guests! At least the food and drinks were good.
With the grand stage set, and the court awaiting the arrival of the ceremonious couple, the rain continued to trickle. Rebecca and I exited our apartment building and popped open the umbrella. We were set to stop by a hotel bar only a couple blocks away to grab a pre-game drink before the rest of a mysterious evening was to unfold. She knew a proposal was coming so smoke and mirrors had to be deployed to keep the surprise. I feigned a drawn-out attack, but instead, I would lead her straight into an ambush! We walked hand in hand down the sidewalk. I focused on my breathing hoping to calm my nerves to no avail. I could feel an airiness; a feeling of my consciousness of the moment detaching from my person. And then – the rain stopped.
Rebecca and I had been together for over 4 years by this point – our relationship marked by steady, unwavering love and by sacrifice. We grooved together so perfectly from the start that it wasn’t long before we moved in together and talked of distant plans. Then, inevitably, after 2 years of inseparability, Rebecca moved away for medical school. Our commitment was to be tested by distance, but it didn’t matter. We loved each other and we supported each other. We made decisions together as a team and looking long term, this was just a step in the process. We never saw any reality outside of us being together forever. So amongst our family and friends, it was time to officially start that process.
We walked through the front door of the Catahoula Hotel and down a short corridor to the entrance of the courtyard. The moment was upon us. Rebecca turned to see the pathway laden with rose petals. Holding hands, I faced her. She looked back at me with the realization unfolding overwhelmingly in her eyes. “Are you ready,” I said. She nodded with an emotional crimple in her lips blocking any words that may have come out. We walked down the path to our future together and stood at the brick wall. I’ve always believed in speaking from the heart as the emotion unfolded, so there was no prepared speech. With my voice trembling, I let Rebecca know what she meant to me and made a promise to our future. I slipped the ring on her finger and we embraced. Then in the air of silence, an applause broke through from above. Rebecca looked up to share the moment with all on the balcony ledge. It was time for us to join our friends and family in celebration.