After breaking up with Brent (twice) and going to school 1600 miles away from him, the end of the school year brought with it some make-or-break decision making. Should I go back to Tennessee? I had so many wonderful friends there, was enjoying my time at school, grew to appreciate being the first Wyomingite ever to enroll in that university....but I would be leaving my family another year. I would be leaving Brent behind, and the stress of being so far apart had already taken its toll once. Plus, the bugs were a bit more than I could handle at times. There's something about a 6-inch, 6-legged winged creature falling out of a tree and on to a person that makes me about wet myself.
The weekend before the semester ended, and before I would be picking Dad up from the Memphis airport so we could drive back to Wyoming together, Brent said something during one of our phone calls I never expected any boyfriend of mine - ever - to suggest. "Maybe I should go spend some time with your parents before you get back. I haven't seen them in a while."
Um, what? Voluntarily? Without me? ....why, exactly?
After the initial shock of his statement wore off, I began to smile. Thankfully he couldn't hear me smile through the phone. I knew what his visit meant. He was going to ask their permission for my hand in marriage. Either that, or he had eaten some poisonous mushrooms and was completely delirious. ....Either way, it made me smile.
I had told Brent how I wanted to be proposed to. (Remember the part from the story earlier about me being a heartless, immature snot? Proof...) I wanted to be in my happy place - Artist's Point (lower falls) in Yellowstone. It would be grandiose - surrounded by beauty, having tourists take our picture because they were there when some sweet guy proposed to his unsuspecting damsel, in such breathtaking surroundings - grandiose.
It was a Sunday. Mother's Day to be exact. May 12th, 2002. Brent had come to visit us for the weekend. I say us, because I was fresh home from college, living with my parents. The whole family. He and I had ridden to church together that morning, and afterwards, stopped at the grocery store to buy Mom her favorite pie - lemon meringue. Actually, I think her favorite pie is pecan, but since I'm not a big fan of that, we went with her second favorite. (more proof...)
Dad had barbecued a wonderful Mother's Day lunch for us all and it was time for dessert. I sliced and served us pie. After the first bite, I thought I'd be cute and smear a finger-full of meringue on Brent's face. He warned me not to. I didn't listen. He responded by smearing a handful of meringue on my face and neck. I think it was at this point Mom started yelling, "Don't get any on my floor!" The pie fight continued. I was left with only a small bite of custard, and a whole lot of crust. And a kitchen floor to clean up. (Sorry, Mom...)
Brent changed his clothes and went to put his pie-saturated laundry in his car. While he was outside, I locked the screen door. (Okay, at this point, I'm embarrassing myself with how childish I was...) He asked me - several times - to let him back inside. I giggled and shook my head no. Finally, I relented and unlocked the door.
That's when things got weird.
He stepped inside and had the most adoring look on his face. He put his hands on my shoulders and just stared at me. I don't know about you, but people staring at me, not speaking, makes me a tish uncomfortable. Do I still have pie on my face? He pulled me in for a tight hug. He pushed me back, hands still on my shoulders, and again did the silent stare. I gave him a sideways glance. He pulled me in for another tight hug. He pushed me back, and just stared at me, smiling. At this point, I'm beginning to put more stock in the assumption he had found some poisonous mushrooms. Again, he pulled me in for a tight hug.
"Brent... What are you doing?"
He pushed me back from him and let his hands drop down from my shoulders. He got down on one knee. I gasped. He smiled. He cleared his throat. He held my hands in his.
"Do you want to see your ring?"
^Brilliant, by the way. A 100% guarantee to get a "YES" while proposing.
I put one hand over my mouth and fought back tears. I nodded. He pulled my ring out of his pocket and placed it on my hand. It was beautiful. He was so handsome. We were so happy. He stood up and we hugged again, this time I was crying.
I wanted to see how long it would take my family to notice my new piece of jewelry. It was a while. Mom scored points for the best reaction by exclaiming, "It's about TIME. I've been waiting and waiting ever since he asked us if he could." (A whole two weeks. We're good at being patient...)
There was no waterfall. There was no applause from strangers. There were no pictures snapped. There was a pie fight in a kitchen, and a proposal in my parents' living room. And it was perfect. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
That day I answered a question (unspoken but implied with the whole ring and all...) that would change my life. I answered to marry my perfect match. I was going to spend the rest of my life with Brent.
(Stay tuned for: The Honeymoon is Over)