THEY PAVED PARADISE AND PUT UP A PARKING LOT

I do not like surprises that involve people. Let me clarify. Presents wrapped under the Christmas tree are meant to be left alone until Christmas day. I like that surprise. Waiting for an elevator door to open and wondering whether a person will appear on the other side, I do not like that surprise. I anticipate someone so much so that when I am greeted by an actual human being, I usually end up shrieking in his unassuming face despite the fact that I repeated my mantra There might be a person. There might be a person. As a result, the time spent waiting for James to ask me to marry him was giving me much anxiety. Ravaging James’ house until I found the ring was looking like the only option left available. Not romantic but then again the two of us are not that romantic.

Naturally, I am a civilized lady and did not end up resorting to that method of acquiring the shiny piece of jewelry. I waited out my last few days of girlfriend status like a champ by demanding friends and James to tell me when it was going to happen! James held strong.He must be planning something well thought out, I mused.

In fact, James did plan something well thought out and touching. He did not just execute it as such. On August 16, 2014, I was coaching a cross country meet during a heat wave in North Carolina. Needless to say, this girl was sweaty. After the meet, I was rushing over to the Rand Bryan House to meet James and check out the venue, which I learned about at the bridal show (Contrary to popular belief, I did manage to be productive at the bridal show rather than eat my face off the whole time!). Before arriving to the location, I got a text from a friend from high school who moved down to the Raleigh area too after college. It was a picture of her hand. Most people can safely assume that when receiving a picture of a hand, the sender can mean really only one of two things. 1.) I painted my nails. 2.) I am engaged. Please admire my ring. Since we were both not thirteen year old girls anymore, the latter makes the most sense. However, I teach deaf students by trade and am, therefore, used to looking at pictures of hands for a variety of reasons. I zoomed in to validate that she was indeed engaged and not just showing me some ASL hand-shape. She was wearing a ring! I was so excited! I told James right away, for we both love her and her fiancé. He was thrilled too.

After arriving to the Rand Bryan House, I pulled James aside while we were standing in the parking lot and suggested that we just say that we are engaged if the owners so inquire in order to avoid confusion, a lengthy explanation to our circumstance, or a pitying look conveying to me, “Oh honey, when will he ever propose?” James, getting all serious, stated that we didn’t have to pretend anymore and began to crouch down to one knee. James had fooled me so many times into leading me to believe that he was proposing that I took his gesture as another prank. I began to walk away. Seeming defeated James called back that this was the real deal, producing a box to prove it.

Oh. Like right now. Here in this parking lot of a wedding venue that we might not even have our reception. When I am wearing running clothes and sweaty. Ok lets do this then.

And we did. As it turned out, James got too excited when he found out that our friends were engaged and renounced his plans of taking me to the airport observation deck under the moonlight and opted to do it right then and there. Just us. No surprises. Simple. In a parking lot. Of a wedding venue where in 10 months time we would have our reception. And it was perfect.