Well, two years ago good ole husmate pulled the wool over my eyes and led me to believe that he needed help finding an apartment up in DC for when he started his job. Somehow it was simultaneously important enough that my advisor (sweet Dr. A) excused me from a mandatory Alumni Delegate function and common enough that my usually detail-oriented always-asking-questions mother simply said "be sure to take a camera!" Hmm... red flag, anyone? (Actually my mother being so keen on the idea from the start really did send up a red flag, but I just brushed it off and asked my dad if she was okay. Haha!). I then emailed all my professors that I would be absent on Friday (one of them told me it was my decision if I wanted my grade to suffer... I think I made the right decision in the end) and started to get excited to fly to my favorite city!
Since I now had a free weekend, I packed my bag and flew with then-boyfriend to DC eeearrrly Friday morning. He told me that the schedule consisted of job interviews on Friday morning and apartment hunting on Saturday, so when he left me at the hotel to go to his "interviews" I thought nothing of it. I climbed back in bed and took a nap, while the boyfriend was actually walking around the city memorizing his route for that night's plan & calling some friends to calm his nerves. He came back that afternoon saying his "interview" went well, and we got ready to go to dinner.
Boyfriend was super smooth in that he "let me" choose where to eat knowing that I would choose a restaurant we went to the previous summer while he interned up here and I was visiting friends. So still no red flag had been raised in my head. After dinner, I begged him to walk around the monuments at night because it's my favorite time of day to view them (again part of his evil plan). Still no red flag.
As we're walking towards the monuments we pass the DAR Constitution Hall and see all these people milling about. By nature, I do not get curious about what others are doing but he does, so he asks if we could go see what was up and I agreed. As we're nearing the steps I see someone pull out tickets to be admitted, and I make a remark about how we don't have tickets and can't we please keep walking to the monuments? I got shot down pretty fast while also being pushed towards the door. Turns out he has tickets to some mysterious show that he won't tell me what it is until we're sitting down in our seats. Red Flag.
Oh, it's just the Avett Brothers. My favorite band. Ever. No big deal. He tells me he discovered that they were playing here earlier this week and he bought the tickets on stub hub (can you tell how gullible I am with him?) and I totally believed him! Red flag is at half mast. Avett proceeds to play an incredible show, and naive little me- I comment during their song "Murder in the City" about a lyric saying "Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing/Like the love that let us share our name" that one day we'd share that bond. Ha! I crack myself up at how soon that was going to come true.
So the concert ends and I beg again to walk to the monuments; obviously I am playing into his master plan... So we're walking and talking and heading towards a park that we both had mentioned we wanted to see. I start rambling on about how cute the ducks were in the pond being paired off, and he just lets me go on and on in my merry little nerdy ways. By this point we reach the Bench. We sit down and start chatting, and he tells me he has a small surprise for me. Now you would think that this would cue a red flag? Yeah, weirdly it didn't.
He pulls out a puzzle and tells me to put it together but not to flip it over. Hmm, what was that? Don't flip it over? So there's a part two to this? But that little train of thought exited stage right as I started to put the pieces together. Super sly one over there had collaged together all of the ticket stubs and receipts and trinkets from our relationship (even though he adamantly told me not to be sentimental about these things earlier in our dating relationship), and I was simply put quite mesmerized. He had to interrupt me from my trance to even remind me of part two of the puzzle. Ha, whoops... So I flip it over, and it was a picture of a little boy and a little girl kissing him on the cheek. And there was a speech bubble in the picture that said "Will you marry me?" WHOA. Hold up. Read that again... Yep, it definitely says that. I did not string this together out of my imagination... I look over and he's on one knee. He told me he loved me and asked him to marry him!
The romantics of the story don't even stop there (I know, right? He's gooood). Inside the box was a gorgeous ring surrounded by yellow rose petals that he told me he picked the same night he told me he loved me for the first time. That night he had given me a red rose, and on our wedding night he gave me a dried white rose (also from the same night). Yeah, he thinks really far in advance...
After he put the ring on my finger, he told me there were a few more things. My mind is completely blank by this point. Can't even fathom what is going on. He hands me our journal and tells me that he wrote about his entire planning process, and in the binding was a scrap of paper I once gave him several months back of a quote by e.e. cummings: "Unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense."
After reading our journal, he said he also had a letter from someone that I might want to read... He hands me an orange letter in a wonderfully familiar handwriting that's addressed to Mr. Jordan Berry (and KB). My sweet big sis, Laney, had been tipped off and wrote a beautiful letter that brought on the first wave of tears. Her letter made our engagement real for me, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to come to the understanding that I was getting a new last name and wonderful husband to spend the rest of my days with. I was so numb from emotions by this point that all I could do was thank God over and over again for all of my many blessings, most of which were sitting on a park bench holding my hand. God is so good.
To end this scene on a note typical of us Berry's, my now-husmate looked at me before we left our little bench and pulled his hand into the shape of a gun and said "Boom!" as if to shoot the starter pistol my dad had always joked about (Boys only get to determine the start to the wedding, girls do alllllll the rest).
Funny, funny boy whom I get to love for the rest our life. I am a lucky girl.