We were leaving the food court at Cottonwood when we passed by a jewelry store. Two weeks ago, Erik had to leave early, so I came into this new jewelry store. I spent about twenty minutes asking the jeweler if she’d show me whatever new wedding jewelry she might have. As we walked past the store, she saw me holding Erik’s hand. We were close enough to the store for her to talk to us, so she asked Erik if he saw anything he liked. I nearly choked on holding my breath when he stopped and looked at the rings on display. He really surprised me when he turned to me and asked if I’d like yellow or white gold. Then I saw him blush a color of red I didn’t think was possible. He put down the ring he had in his hand, took my hand, and started walking for the cars.
We didn’t talk all the way out of the building. I guess I was kind of shocked at the sudden question, and I could tell he was appalled just by remembering how red he’d become. But as we walked, my shock wore off and I started to get kinda mad at him. Here we were, obviously in love. He knew I was crazy about him. I knew how he felt about me. And yet he panicked when smallest thought of marriage came up. I wasn’t getting angry, just mad. When we got to my car, I kissed him. I wanted him to remember the kiss, something to show him I wasn’t hurt or scared off. I guess it didn’t work. He didn’t say anything as I drove off. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him there, apparently still in shock.
Well, that was Tuesday at lunch. He didn’t call that night, no email the next day, no call, no email, all the way up to Friday when I left work. We’d agreed to meet here this evening because it was exactly a year after we met at this very spot. As I got close to the food court, I started getting a big nervous. I had to sit down, and I just happened to choose the same table I saw him from for the very first time.
There he was, fidgeting. He was obviously very nervous. He had his back to me. It was really funny to see. He’d shake his legs, then stand up. He took a couple steps toward the jewelry store, then came back and sat down. He’d look at everybody all around him, but he never looked far enough away to see me.
Finally, I had to go down there. He apparently was too nervous to hear me coming, so I got to sneak up on him. "Yellow. I want a yellow bridal set. Whenever I get married. I met this great guy a while back, and he never asked me out. We just sorta connected." I thought that would turn him around, but he just sat there. I counted silently to 10, then began to panic. What if this isn’t him? I reached down, grabbed his arm, and turned him around. As soon as I saw him, my eyes started to tear a little. "He never asked me out. He never asked for my number. He never asked anything. He might never ask me to marry him." As I said those things, I saw him smile. One of those smiles that makes me go weak in the knees. I didn’t know what I was going to do until that moment, but then I found all the guts I needed to do what I wanted to do. I knelt down in front of him. In front of the food court patrons. On a Friday night. Only a year after we’d met at this very table.
At first I just saw confusion as the words flowed out of my mouth. In the span of less than ten seconds, that confusion went to understanding, then to pure love, and finally to complete happiness. I was choking a little on my own tears, so it took me awhile to finish my three sentences. “Will you be that man for me?” As I said the last one, I saw the answer written all over his face. Without waiting to answer, I pulled his lips down to mine and kissed my fiancée as long as I could.
- I once got paid to spend the summer telling lies to little kids. I ran a mountain man program at a district Boy Scout camp. I told my guests I was born in my log cabin and I traded for everything I had. Late evenings I shot muzzleloader rifles with campers and then told ghost stories around the fire. Oh, how I wish that would pay enough to be my career instead of just a one-time summer job.