So I'll tell the story of my proposal, and this way when I'm old and my mind's a little fuzzy, I'll have written this down with every detail. (Though, I will take poetic license to fill in little details that are already fuzzy!)
It all started on an unexpected weekend in May, 2013. Friday night: the plans were made (both innocuously to me, and, little did I know, very purposefully by Ryan).
"I think we should go see Gatsby this weekend," I mentioned while fussing about in the kitchen, probably preparing myself the necessary Friday-night-it's-been-a-long-week cocktail, especially after having just returned from rehearsal.
"Sure. We can go on Sunday and do a picnic in the park," Ryan replied while sipping on his Jack Daniels, and probably trying to find something to watch on Roku. I believe this is about the time when he had become obsessed with any and all Gordon Ramsey shows, which also inadvertently led us to break into English accents at random. "We'll go to the Menil Collection," he continued.
Our favorite museum, the Menil Collection, whose exhibits change seasonly, is a free museum in Montrose. The building and its accompanying grounds are gorgeous. A long white building with open, bright green grass in front of it, the Menil Collection is home to dark wooden floors and an atrium room that Ryan and I 'joke about' (read: desperately want) as our future bedroom. We'd walked through the museum multiple times and always looked at the grounds outside thinking, "We should totally have a picnic here one day." The old oak trees are lusciously green and their branches bend and twist out towards the ground. The grass is soft and inviting. And just one block away from Montrose Blvd (a very busy road), it is silent and peaceful.
|The Menil Collection|
Well, it was almost derailed. Come 2 am, and Ryan was hurling his poor guts out, likely food poisoning from the Niko Niko's we had so healthily eaten for dinner that night. Come 3 am, more tossing of the bucket. And so this continued on and off for the entire night; i'll save you from hearing the more gruesome details of that night.
I had to get up early Saturday for rehearsal, so I apologized profusely for not being able to play nurse. I mentioned we would potentially bag Sunday's plans if he didn't feel better. Despite his intense discomfort, he firmly stated that he would be better by Sunday and plans were on. When calling to check on him later, he insisted he was on the mend and that I should, "Go pick up some picnic things for tomorrow; you know, charcuterie and cheeses. And, also, whatever you want to drink - wine, beer, or champagne for mimosas. Whatever you want!" (He knew I'm a sucker for mimosas...brilliant way to slip in 'champagne' to our picnic.)
Sunday morning, after a long and thankfully restful sleep, we finalized our plans. At about 10am, Ryan stated it was time to get ready; then being ready in less than an hour, we decided to wait - for the movie wasn't until 3, so why not picnic at 1pm? And then at noon, he was rearing to go again (How did I not see the signs?); after pacing about the house a bit, he settled down till 1 o'clock.
It was warm, but the Houston summer heat hadn't settled. A nice breeze kept our faces cool. We walked towards the ground, on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot that we wouldn't have to share. We pointed at this tree and then the other and so forth, but there were either people too close by, it wasn't shady enough, or the ground wasn't grassy enough. The bench was perfect, but it was taken. We continued walking across the area and began to veer to our left. There it was. Towards the back of the grounds, near large hedges, stood our tree. It was away from others. The leaves rustled as they shaded the soft grass.
I spread the blanket and began unpacking the spread of cheeses, meats, bread, olive oil and spices. I snapped a shot of Ryan with the food, completely unaware of what my next set of pictures would entail.
"What would you like to start with, my dear?" Ryan asked as he laid back on his hands and looked up at the clouded, blue sky.
"The champagne, of course!" I responded while resting comfortably on the blanket. We sat for a few moments enjoying our tree, enjoying the sounds of Spring, and breathing deeply; both of us were remarking about what a good plan it was, and how we were so glad we had finally made it to our "Picnic at the Menil."
Then it happened.
Ryan sat up and took a small wooden box out of his pocket, placed it on the blanket. I sat up taller, in shock. "Could this be what I think it is?" ran through my mind.
"See, I have this problem here," he started, "because I have this ring and I need someone to wear it for me." Then he continued with a few more words (of which I am forbidden to share with the public; there were meant only for my ears - don't worry though, they were all G-rated!), and all the meanwhile I was sitting there with my mouth open. In shock. "I didn't think this was happening for a long time! He's already proposing. Oh my god. He is proposing. Oh. My. God. Oh. Sh!t. This is happening," continued to play in repeat in my head.
Then, the tears came. "Yes," I think I murmured. I reached forward and kissed him, hands shaking. Then I sat back and the tears wouldn't stop coming.
"That was a yes, right?" Ryan asked with a tinge of fear behind his eyes, confused by my shaking and sobbing. "Are those good tears or bad tears? She's crying a lot," he thought - as he later told me.
"Yes! Of course!" I managed to choke out through more tears. "Will you put it on?" I stammered, gesturing towards the wooden box.
"Ok, but hold your hand still," he laughed. My shaking had clearly not subsided yet.
And though it was too large (like 2 sizes too large), it sat beautifully on my ring finger, where it belonged. Where it would always belong. Where it will always belong.