So we were "chilling." Not ring shopping or wedding planning or choosing a date.
If I know anything about myself, it's that I'm not the most patient person. Besides, having been engaged once before, and that engagement being BEFORE 18 months in Switzerland with it's chocolate, I had a size 6 wedding dress to fit into. I needed a timeline. Dave, however, was still chilling and getting used to the idea. So I'd just have to learn some patience and wait for him to actually propose.
In the meantime, I was looking forward to my first ever Valentine's Day as someone's girlfriend. (Well, except 6th grade when I was going out with a kid named Brock. Talk about a disappointment--he didn't even give me a box of conversation hearts.) That year, Valentines fell on the weekend, and it happened to be the same weekend as Preference--a girl's choice dance.
All anticipation and excitement, I taped tons of Jolly Ranchers to Dave's door with a note that said I'd be a jolly rancher if he'd go with me. (The cheesiness was half the fun.) His reply? A bouquet of tiny, bright pink tea roses left on my doorstep with a heart that said "YES."
I have never had so much fun choosing a dress for a dance than I did that one. A friend of mine had a whole bunch of beautiful formals, and I borrowed them all and decided to wear her deep brown satin gown with a beautiful sweetheart neckline and a skirt that rustled. I searched until I found perfectly matching brown ballet flats and a sheer shawl to go over the top. That day, I did my hair all in curls and pulled my hair back, weaving a ribbon through it, then decided on a simple floating pearl necklace for jewelry. I had never been so excited for Valentine's Day.
He came to my apartment, right on time, wearing a black suit and carrying a bouquet of flowers--all red, with one yellow for friendship. Then he instructed me to turn around and close my eyes. He removed the light necklace from around my neck, and then I felt a new necklace take it's place. A cool, heavy weight that rested perfectly. Reaching up to touch it, my eyes fluttered open and I looked down to see the most exquisite pearl necklace--a real one.
Besides my chai necklace, this was the first piece of jewelry Dave had ever given me. Before an engagement ring. Before a wedding ring. A simple, heavy strand of pearls. Suddenly, I felt so perfectly like Anne of Green Gables, getting ready to be all grown up, with my strand of pearls. I wanted to throw my arms around Dave and tell him how much they meant to me--how much the fact that he had gotten them, for me, for Valentine's Day, meant to me. But I couldn't really say anything. I just gazed up at him and smiled.
He took my hand and walked me over to the couch. Reaching behind to grab my roommate's guitar, he started to pluck the strings, and then began to sing. An old, familiar country song. It surprised me, really, since it was the kind of song that I would've expected to come from my grandpa, or my father. I hadn't expected something as old fashioned and lilting as this, even if it did make me feel completely secure. Completely at home...
I'm gonna love you forever.
Forever and ever, amen.
As long as old men, sit and talk about the weather,
As long as old women, sit and talk about old men.
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful,
I'll be happy to tell you again--
I'm gonna love you, forever and ever,
forever and ever, amen.