But don't worry! This is actually a very fun story, and the truth is - it's not all mine. It's only half mine.
After coming through a rather long and complicated process which brought me to dating the most wonderful guy on the planet, I spent 15 happy months calling him my boyfriend (In case you forgot, I'm talking about Jed/Jonathon). It was a busy time, considering we were both still in school, but it was tons of fun. We double-dated a few times with some friends and also attended a few events on campus together, but we never had an official, just-us-off-campus date. Not one real date in 15 months. Jed's work and the importance of homework made it difficult for us to go off-campus together, so we'd allowed 15 months to slip by before we realized we'd never really had a first date together.
Jed decided to fix this. "Let's have lunch some Saturday," he suggested. "We'll go off-campus, just the two of us, and bring a picnic to the park."
I liked the idea. After a long and stressful week of school, I needed a break. In one of my classes, I had a group project the size of Chicago looming over me, and while I had amazing team members (astonishing, yes, for a group project), we were presenting a month's worth of research, collaboration, and brain power the following Tuesday. Was I nervous?
You bet. A lunch date was just the thing to get my brain to relax... if only for a little bit.
Jed picked the Saturday, and we began to make simple lunch plans. I warned him that I had a project meeting with my group at 12:30pm, but I didn't think it would be too much of an issue to get back by that time.
I should have suspected something fishy was up when Jed picked me up wearing a blue shirt. Most of his t-shirts (for whatever reason) are bright red, and (outside of his work uniform) he doesn't typically wear any other color. He's just a guy who likes red. Several weeks previous to this particular Saturday, he had put on a dark blue shirt and I had commented that I really liked him in blue. And apparently he had remembered that. Well, in addition to the blue shirt, he'd shaved (which he never does on a Saturday) and was wearing his good sneakers (the ones without the holes). I was impressed, but I figured he wanted to look good for our first real date.
Me, on the other hand... well, I didn't dress up. I'd stumbled out of bed that morning and didn't feel like doing anything extravagant. So, I stuck on a comfy blue t-shirt and a pair of jean capris. It was rather warm outside, so I had a pair of flip-flops complete the ensemble.
I was probably more interested in the food Jed had picked up for our date lunch more than the clothes we were wearing. If there is any truth that is more universally acknowledged than that of a single man in want of a wife, it is that hungry men should never go shopping. Hello, proud new owner of aisle 4.
"I got some meat and a jar of pickles for you," Jed told me.
Pickles are amazing. Seriously. Pick up one of those big jars of whole dill pickles from Walmart and my brother and I could down it in one day. Needless to say, I was rather excited about that. A whole, big wonderful jar of dill pickles. I had the best boyfriend ever.
But the meat? Jed's "some meat" turned out to be a bag of pepperonis, a summer sausage, and a package of black forest ham lunch meat. If that isn't the definition of a hungry man going shopping, I don't know what is.
So, armed with our pickles and "some meat" we drove off to the park. To be honest, I had quite a few curious stares as I walked through park carrying a gigantic jar of pickles, but I just smiled back.
Jed picked a spot by a small waterfall, and we set up the blanket and got the lunch out. I ate a small handful of pepperonis before Jed offered me a pickle. Boy howdy, was that thing good! Even though there was a full jar sitting beside me, I was determined to enjoy that pickle as long as possible.
I ate it very slowly.
Jed, on the other hand, ate pepperonis and pickles so quickly I thought he might get indigestion. I'm not sure how much he'd eaten when he finally stopped and looked at me. I was still munching on my pickle, content to savor it. It was the first time in about three weeks that I had gotten to just sit with him and talk and have fun. Forget the meeting I had at 12:30. I wanted to make this moment last as long as possible.
Jed, however, did not want it to last as long as possible.
"Aren't you almost done yet?" he asked. "You eat pickles really slowly."
I only grinned and took another small nibble. Yes, I am a rebel at heart.
"I wanted to give you something," he continued, and I must confess my heart jumped at that point. My first thought was, Is it a ring? But I quickly stomped down on that.
Of course it wasn't a ring. He couldn't give me a ring yet. Neither one of us wanted to be engaged for longer than six months, and the earliest possibility for a wedding that we had discussed was in December of this year. It was still April. April 22nd, as a matter of fact. Do the math, folks. April to December isn't 6 months - no matter how you stretch it. Did I want a ring? I'd known for a solid 10 months that this was the guy I wanted to marry. Duh. But there was no way I was getting a ring until at least June.
Calming my racing heart by taking another bite of pickle, I watched him reach into his backpack. Then I started laughing.
My freshman year of college I had begun an odd collection of lost bobby pins. See, the poor fellows were abandoned and lost in every place conceivable. I used to watch for them on the sidewalks and try to see how many lost bobby pins I could spot in one day until I gave that up and began picking them up instead. A few of my friends caught the excitement, and they began collecting them for me. Three years later, we'd collected over 1,000 bobby pins from everywhere on campus (and off campus). Jed works on the custodial crew here at the university, so he'd come across zillions of bobby pins every day. Before he told me that he liked me, he would pick up bobby pins and stow them in his wallet. Then he'd give me one or two at a time, using them as an excuse to come over and see me at almost every meal. Bobby pins, since then, have become a natural part of our relationship.
Now, Jed was pulling a small Starbucks frappuccino jar from the dark depths of his backpack - and the jar was full of bobby pins.
(Sidenote: I don't wear the lost bobby pins we pick up. Bobby pins have never EVER stayed in my hair, so I've never truly ever bothered with them. I just call myself the bobby pin kleptomaniac, and it's a race to see how many I can find before I graduate college.)
I admired the newest additions to my collection, and we talked for a bit about former bobby pins we'd picked up. Sweet reminiscence. And before I knew it, I had finished my pickle.
Abruptly, he stood up.
I looked up at him, confused. "Where are you going? We're not done eating yet."
"I need you to do something for me."
"Sure. As long as it doesn't involve moving."
I grimaced. Standing involved moving. "Do I have to?"
With some grumblings, I stood. "Now what?"
"Look at the falls," he said. "And don't turn around."
Ladies and gents, everything in me started going nuts all at once. What in the world is going on? There were way too many thoughts all at once, and I think my brain almost exploded.
Then Jed walked up behind me and began whistling.
The world stopped, but my heart was beating so hard I couldn't hear the roar of the falls over top of it.
Now, a normal girl probably wouldn't react that way to a song being whistled. Jed often whistled as he walked, and I loved hearing it. It wasn't the fact that he was whistling that got me in a tizzy.
It was what he was whistling.
Near the beginning of the year, I had mentioned to him that I loved the song "For the Dancing and the Dreaming" from HTTYD 2. It was just a really sweet song, and the lyrics absolutely made it. For those of you unfamiliar with this song, please click here. It's worth the 3 minutes.
And because the lyrics are so beautiful, I'm going to post the last refrain here:
I’ll swim and sail on savage seas
With ne'er a fear of drowning,
And gladly ride the waves of life,
If you will marry me.
Jed was whistling that song. And then he jumped right into singing it to me - just as Stoick did to Valka.
I couldn't believe it. No matter that Jed abruptly forgot the second word of the song as soon as he started singing. I sang with him, inside going mad the whole time. And somehow between the two of us, we managed it all right.
But it was perfect. The first date, the pickles, the "some meat," the waterfall, the song. If I had picked out how I wanted to be proposed to, this would have been it. The song literally ends with a proposal!
I was so mad at him.
Did I need to remind him that it was still April?? December wasn't 6 months away yet! Outwardly, I was thoroughly enjoying the entire afternoon, but internally I was a mess.
How can you do this to me? I fumed. It's too perfect a set-up. Jed, don't you dare propose and make me say no! I won't say how tempted I was to push him over the falls. I wanted so badly to turn around, face him, and tell him to stop.
Jed finished the song. "Kirsten..."
I couldn't help it. I turned around.
And he was on one knee with a box in his hand.
"Will you marry me?"
My mind barely registered the silver glint in the box before I yelped out, "You don't have a date yet! What's the date?"
He only smiled. "June 24th."
If the world had stopped before, now it simply exploded. June 24th??? As in NOT December?? As in JUNE??
I was thoroughly speechless, but I managed to squeak a little bit of voice out. I don't know if Jed heard it or not, but I think he could read the answer in my over-enthusiastic smile.
And that's how I lost my boyfriend. But I gained a fiancé. And I think that's so much better in so many ways.