It started with my car breaking down. Other than the fact that it broke down in rush-hour traffic heading into downtown, this was actually a good thing. You see, I'd been driving that old red Mercury Tracer for about nine years, and I had vowed to drive it until the wheels fell off. My brother Rick accused me of being eccentric--even though he once kept a Dodge Shadow until it literally started falling apart. My car was in awful shape: it had a hole in the back bumper, it pulled violently to the right when you let go of the wheel, and there was some brake problem that made a constant racket that could only be drowned out by turning up the radio to full volume. Still, no matter how awful it got, the appeal of a new car just couldn't compete with the joy of having no payments.
A couple of days after the car broke down, Bill and I headed to Chicago for a programming class (in Basic, if you can believe that). Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was that this would be a great place for Bill to propose since Chicago was where we'd met and fallen in love. When I was packing, I called Bill and asked, "Do you think I need to bring a nice outfit with me?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Why?"
The class was also pretty fun. It was very challenging and mentally stimulating, and I took to programming like I was made for it. I loved putting my head together with Bill and troubleshooting each other's programs. We still do that sometimes now when one of us needs to solve a tricky problem at work, and I always find it exciting to team up that way. But I digress....
It wasn't looking too promising in the proposal department, though. I couldn't find the chance to break into Bill's hotel room and search his suitcase for dress clothes, so I still didn't know if he was planning a big date. The first four days passed without anything remotely romantic happening, and I was starting to lose hope.
On Thursday, our last night there, Bill asked what I thought about going to Long Grove for dinner. This was the little tourist town we'd visited on the Chicago trip when we'd had our first date. It was a fair drive from our hotel in Schaumburg, so I figured he must have something special planned if we were going so far on a work night.
There wasn't much smooching on this trip because Bill had a terrible cold, and also swarms of mosquitoes were terrorizing us. Plus, there was a pesky family having a picnic, and they seemed blind to the fact that they were encroaching on the most romantic moment of my life!
When it became obvious that the family wasn't going anywhere, Bill turned his back to them and forged on resolutely. He gave me a hug, and I could feel his heart pounding in rhythm with mine. For a moment I felt tempted to deliver him from his nervousness and shout, "Yes! I will marry you!", but I forced myself to keep quiet.
Taking my trembling hand in his own sweaty one, he knelt on one knee and looked into my eyes. He told me loved me very, very much and hoped I would be his wife. I cried a little when I said yes, and then I gave him a little kiss which ended when his nose dripped. He pulled a Kleenex out of his pocket and blew his nose, and then he tried to slip a ring onto my finger. I had to help force it over my knuckle, which was enlarged from decades of knuckle popping.
I tried not to be too eager as I brought the ring up to inspect it. It was gorgeous! It had a white gold band and seven brilliant diamonds. "I LOVE IT!" I breathed, as relief washed over me. Even though I'd been excited about the idea of a surprise proposal, I'd been a little concerned about not having any input on the ring. What if he picked out something ugly? What if the diamond was microscopic, or so big it was tacky (not likely, but you never know)? Or worse yet, what if he didn't buy a ring at all since he knew I wasn't much of a jewelry person? Obviously, I needn't have worried.
WHAT'S YOUR PROPOSAL STORY? I'D LOVE TO HEAR IT.