Liz and I met on a cold evening in March of 2010. Writing that out, I can't believe it has been that long, but at the same time it almost feels like longer. I remember the first words I said to her were that she was too pretty to be with the guy she was with at the time. I still think so. I think I had the same first impression of her that most people seem to have. I found her to be someone who was good, attractive, smart, and fun. I spent a fair amount of time with her from the day we first met, and our friendship blossomed into something deeper, and quite beyond our understanding. It wasn't long before our friends were getting mad at us for dating and not realizing that we were dating. I quite stubbornly told them that we were just friends and that the time we spent together was nothing more than two friends hanging out. I kept my feelings hidden from even myself. I enjoyed her presence in my life too much to worry about love.
Then came the day that she told me she was planning on leaving for Texas. I should clarify that I knew she had thought about going back, but this time was different. There was a conviction in her voice like steel and I knew I was going to lose her forever. That evening I finally confronted my own feelings and decided that I could not let her go without a fight. I then set about wooing her with horrible poetry and even worse one liners. It worked like a charm.
The last year has without a doubt been the happiest of my life. People tell me often that I have changed from the person I was before. I had never felt more alive. We traveled, went to concerts, and just lived happily for the last almost 10 months. I had found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and it was wonderful. But how to ask her to spend the rest of her life with me? She was too important to me to just give her the fancy restaurant drop on one knee routine. Also she would have seen that coming and I wanted to surprise her.
Using the holiday as a distraction I quietly bought a ring. Then came the next moment of truth. I had to call her Dad asking him for his blessing. He grilled me over topics of personal philosophy and questioned my resolve, and in the end he graciously granted me his blessing. Relieved, I turned to the next part of my plan. Liz had desired a mandolin for as long as I have known her. I hunted all over town and found a beautiful mandolin sitting in a shop not two miles from my house. My original plan was to place the ring in the mandolin case and then have her open the case to find the mandolin and then I would drop to one knee and ask her to marry me. Things never go according to plan.
I put the mandolin case, with the ring tucked safely inside, into my trunk underneath the camping gear (since if I had wrapped it she would have been able to figure out what it was from its shape). She almost caught me putting it in there, but I quickly pretended to be fixing the straps on the sleeping bags. We made it to my parents' house in Harrison and I snuck out with my father to get the mandolin in the house while my mother distracted her. I told my father the plan, and since I think he was as eager to have Liz as a daughter as I am to have her as a wife, he told everyone we were opening presents on Christmas Eve.
Liz went way overboard on her presents like she told me she had, however I was still blown away by all of them. I got her a few small gifts so she would think that I had gypped her, right before I performed the coup de grace. All the gifts were opened (mostly by me from Liz) and before I knew it, all of the gifts had been opened. I announced that I had one more gift that needed to be opened. I then made my way into my father's study and brought the mandolin wrapped in a blanket.
The expression on Liz's face was something between puzzled and amused. She carefully unwrapped the blanket and I took a seat in the chair across from her. Her face shot to excited delight as she recognized the shape. "You didn't!" were her first words as she discarded the blanket to the floor. Her next words were "If there's just a picture of what I think is in here, I'm going to kill you!" and she began to unzip the case. I was getting more and more nervous by this point. Would she see the ring? Should I go to one knee now? Will she like the ring? A million questions like that went through my head in the time it took her to unzip that case. I caught her delighted face transcend beautifully as she caught sight of the mandolin. She pulled it out with such care and focus that she didn't see the ring. I had to move quickly and I grabbed it just before it got knocked to the floor. My plan was blown, but I had thought of this contingency. I let her appreciate the mandolin for a little then I said:
"Liz I love you more than anything in this world. I can't stand the thought of going through this life without you, and I want you to be my wife." by this point I had dropped to one knee in front of her and opened the box. The mandolin was quickly forgotten as she exclaimed, "Yes!" and I took the ring and placed it on her finger. Turns out I did very well on the ring and I will catch her staring at every once in awhile with this wistful look on her face.
So to sum it up, I totally beat her at Christmas.