I hope to use the months between now and our I do’s to document some wedding related thoughts, musings, advice, and memories. Next spring, smnthabella will go back to its regularly scheduled programming. Feel free to tune out until then if weddings aren’t your thing.
The moment before you get engaged is like the moment before you open your eyes in the morning. The world is nebulous. Black and blue blobs morph and shift behind your eyelids, a Pollack painting on private view. This day could be anything, this moment could lead anywhere. It holds endless potential. You want to freeze time, to stay here always. And, for just a moment, time obliges. Seconds elongate and you settle in a bit deeper. But just as you lean back into the warm mud of the moment, it falls away. Your thoughts have gone too far and wrenched you back to reality.
Sensations flood into you: the aroma of coffee brewing, a too loud garbage tuck rumbling by the window, the taste of last night’s toothpaste coating your mouth, a crease in the pillowcase pressing into your cheek, and, finally, a burst of bright light punctures through the moody splotches. The spell is broken. You are awake.
That is what the moment before you get engaged is like. The world collapses for a split second and then rapidly expands back out, leaving you dazzled and disoriented. You smile and cry and say ‘yes’- or, in my case, ‘yes, no, yes’.
By the time Jake proposed to me, I had been suffering from what I termed ‘fainting-goat syndrome’ for over a month. Essentially, this consisted of me going into shock and hyperventilating any time he reached into his pocket in my presence. As Jake often says, I never feel anything halfway. Eagerness for our engagement was no exception.
When he offered to pick me up after work during one of his visits to Frederick, I didn’t think twice about it. We often went on walks together through the cute downtown area. It was a nice way to have some time alone to chat, especially since we were living with our families. Then I realized how cold it was outside. Plus, in typical Samantha fashion, I was eager to grab a cocktail at our favorite bar. “Couldn’t we just go straight to VOLT?”, I pleaded. He stayed the course and steered us in the opposite direction, our arms linked against the chill.
At this point my fainting goat senses were ringing the alarm. I stopped walking and demanded to know, “Is this happening?”
“Is what happening?”
“Oh. No. That isn’t happening.”
“Okay, great because, as you know, yesterday was a really stressful day and I’m just not ready right now.”
We continued up the hill together, huddled for warmth. After a few more minutes, I stopped again.
“I think this is happening.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I can just tell. I’m gonna pat you down!”
A threat that I delivered on, much to my horror. Poor Jake! What kind of crazed person frisks their partner for an engagement ring?! Luckily, the pat down came up empty. My suspicions at ease, we walked toward Baker Park. Just as we crossed the street, I paused for a third time.
“Where are we going? I’m freezing!”
“Just come on” he said, smiling.
The park stretched out around us, dark except for the brightly lit fountain and distant bell tower. We walked down the steps toward the empty concrete basin. It had been emptied of water when temperatures dropped below freezing. Suddenly, he dropped down on one knee and produced the ring he had miraculously been able to conceal.
“Samantha Noel Amberg, will you marry me?”
The moment hits, BOOM, and then passes. Breath and heartbeat return.
“Yes! No! Yes!”, I managed to gasp out between sobs. The ‘no’ definitely threw him off, even though it was only an expression of overjoyed incredulity rather than an indication of doubt regarding our union. We celebrated with kisses, calls to loved ones, and, finally, cocktails at VOLT.
P.S. Soundtrack to my week provided by the dulcet tones of Dinah Washington.