It's funny that my wife still left the proposal up to me. She is not someone that takes a backseat in things. She is very much the take-charge person in the relationship. And this became especially apparent when she would constantly ask me, "So...when are you planning on proposing?" I would always answer "Not today." In truth, it could have been any of those days, but I could never surprise her. Any big grand gestures, big romantic dinners, rose petals leading up the steps to her dorm...all of that would have been a dead give away.
I went sneaky.
Well, actually, sneaky was my backup. I wanted to drive her out to the lake, park on the side of the road and propose to her under the streetlight with the moon hanging out over the lake, reflecting in the water's calm surface. Turned out, there were no streetlights along the entire stretch of road.
So, back to my sneaky back up plan.
I picked her up after film class. She had a headache. She was tired and cranky and had just watched a very...artsy movie that had royally pissed her off. She wouldn't let me get off the phone to drive because she was so angry she had to rant to SOMEBODY and dammit, I hadn't suffered like she had! When I picked her up, I asked if she wanted to go get a brownie abomination of some kind or another at McDonald's.
I remember very distinctly that when I suggested going to get one from McDonald's my wife's response was, "Okay, but you can't bitch about how you feel fat for a week after this okay?" Which...fair enough. I was very concerned with my weight at the time. I hadn't gained the "Freshman 15" until I was a junior.
We went to the McDonald's, ordered our brownie dealy-whoppers, and just chatted. I don't remember over what because I was convinced if I moved wrong, the box with the ring in it would fall out of my jacket pocket and the jig would be up.
After our brownie-things were gone, we were headed back to the car. I dropped my keys and stooped to get them, fumbling the box out.
She asked what I was doing.
"I dropped my keys," I said. "So anyway, I was wondering if you'd--" I popped my head up on my side of the car and looked at her across the roof, holding out the open box, "--marry me?"
She got frown on her face. She looked almost angry, like this was not a funny joke and I was an ass for making it. "Are you serious?" she scoffed.
Then, when she realized this was for real, she threw her hands to her face, looked shocked, surprised, embarrassed, excited--basically all the feelings you want associated with a wedding proposal, I assume.
This is a big anniversary in so much that our society likes to measure things in 5's and 10's. In a literal sense, the number five doesn't deserve to be celebrated any more or any differently than last year's number 4. And yet, this feels special, and because it feels that way, it is.
It feels that way partially because our marriage was come by hard. We were in a catastrophic car accident that severely hurt me and nearly killed her. She spent months in the hospital, and in rehab. She busted her ass in recovery so that we could get married 1 year to the day from when we started dating.
I don't plan to dig all of that back up. Even 5 years on, the memories are too painful to dwell on too much. That said, each time this date comes around, I feel the need to pause and reflect. Our marriage was forged in pain and determination, and it made us examine what we meant to each other beyond just "I like it when you press your face to my face."
We appreciate what we have very, very much because we almost didn't have it.
I love you sweetheart. Happy anniversary.
(By the way, can you load the dishwasher, I just don't feel like it.)