how we met
Ben and I met our freshman year of high school when he was 13 and I was 14… you may think we were high school sweethearts, but we were far from that! We quickly became friends by having classes together and by the end of high school, we were best friends and our inseparable group hung out together almost daily. We graduated high school together and both moved to Clemson University, where we lived only one floor apart from each other. I joined the Clemson Rally Cats and he joined Clemson’s Air Force ROTC detachment, and basically, when we were not in class, sleeping or doing things with our respective organization, we were together, but still with no idea what our future held for us. During our sophomore and junior years, we both were extremely busy and stayed in touch, but not as much as our freshman year.
So, fast forward to our senior year of college. We were still best friends. I will never forget dancing at my senior football game (vs. The Citadel – Military Appreciation) and standing right in front of Ben (literally) in the 3rd quarter before I ran to the end zone to do Tiger Rag (Clemson’s Fight Song) one last time. He gave me a big smile before I turned around and when I came off the field, he was the first person to see my tears. He motioned for me to walk over and he wiped away my tears and said “You need to smile, pretty girl.” So, I did. I walked away from him smiling and with my head spinning.
Over the next few months, we grew closer than ever. Prior to this time, we talked frequently, but it wasn’t all day, every day. By the middle of March.. we were in constant contact. On my senior basketball game (also the day of a lot of events in Clemson that Ben had friends in town for), Ben told me he was coming to my game. (To emphasize the significance here: Ben used to come to all of my basketball games. Every. Single. One. He got a little slack our senior year, but he told me he WOULD NOT miss my last one.) So, he brought his friends to Littlejohn, and came to my last game. He met up with me after the game at our usual “meet up” spot, and I couldn’t believe he was ACTUALLY there. I was shocked. He really did come to my last game!
As I mentioned, it was a busy weekend in Clemson and since I had been at my game all day, I agreed to drive Ben and his roommate (and our mutual best friend) downtown that evening. Ben had apparently figured out I had been single for a little while, and he decided that he was going to let me know he had feelings for me. I have referred to myself as Beyonce for quite some time. (The woman is flawless, what can I say?) Right before I took Ben and his roommate home, he announced that he was Jay Z. (Get it? Because I’m Beyonce? He was so proud of that.)
After that, we basically became inseparable. If we weren’t together, it was because one of us was sleeping or working. We started dating shortly thereafter and have been happy as we can be ever since.
how they asked
To preface the story: after being friends for eight years and dating for a little over a year, Ben and I became long distance for the first time ever when he went active duty and moved to Mississippi where he is currently in Pilot Training for the Air Force. Ben came up for the weekend because he “needed to move the furniture from his apartment to take to Mississippi” so he could move off base to a new apartment. I thought nothing of his trip up here and agreed to go to Clemson to help him move (or at least begin to move) his furniture for his move off base.
So, we went to Clemson. Prior to going, Ben told me I would need to bring a nicer outfit, that after we packed some stuff up, he would take me to a nice dinner at one of the restaurants in Clemson. Ben is pretty good at planning fun dates, so again, I thought nothing of it. On the way to Clemson, my mom sent a picture of a brick that I received as a graduation present that had been laid in the stadium earlier that week. I was really excited that I was going to be in Clemson and have an opportunity to see my brick in one of my favorite places in the world.
We got to Ben’s apartment with a lot to do, but suddenly Ben didn’t want to do a lot of packing. He said, “Well, I guess we could clean some stuff and then I could take you out to dinner.” I was confused, but I didn’t really argue. I got ready and Ben chimed in, “Oh, and we can go find your brick before we go to dinner!” THAT got me excited.
We drove over to the stadium to find my brick. We walked up to the front gate, which was closed. We walked to the gate in front of the rock, which was also locked. Ben said, “Well, maybe it’s over by the Scroll of Honor.” So we walked across the street from the stadium to the Military Plaza.
Once in the Scroll of Honor, Ben pulled me close and began to tell me how he knew Clemson was such a significant place to both of us, how the stadium held so many memories for me, and how the Scroll of Honor meant so much to him. He said he couldn’t think of anywhere else to ask me to combine our worlds. I started to freak out, and Ben said some other things but I have no idea what he said.
Next thing I knew; he was down on a knee asking me to marry him. Ben claims I didn’t even let him get the whole question out before I interrupted him and squealed, “YES!”