The bus ride down island was incredibly relaxing. I was on just the right level of sleep deprivation to enjoy listening to music and meditating. As always, I find that the long drive through the mountains and by the ocean restores me. I need the trees and the water to feel whole. During the trip I was caught up remembering all the other trips I’d taken over the years to see David. It was just a lovely, peaceful, reminiscent ride.
I arrived in Langford, where David and his dad met me. I was a little disappointed, because I’d hoped that David and I could walk home from the bus stop like we used to, but with the amount of snowfall this was impossible. I’d hoped that if we walked home, and if he’d found a ring, he’d propose. Or, barring that, we’d at least get to spend some time together alone before all the visiting. But, it was not to be. We went back to his place, and then out again for a big family lunch. At lunch we discussed our plans for the evening, and for a while it looked as if David and I might bus downtown together and wander around the waterfront. I again hoped that, if he had a ring, he would perhaps propose downtown at one of our old haunts. Again, this was not to be. To spend more time with his sister Julia, we accepted a ride from her downtown but this did not leave us with any time for wandering around.
We were spending New Years with our friend Steve. It ended up being a quiet party at his place, with just four of us drinking and playing the board-game Zombies. By this point in the evening I realized that my engagement was not going to happen. The strange thing was that I wasn’t disappointed. It was enough to just be in the company of old friends, playing a game and relaxing. I was content. Closer to midnight we wandered downtown to ring in the new year with a crowd. David procured a jaunty New Years hat for me, and we joined the celebrations. Then it was time to run to catch the last bus out to Langford.
I don’t remember much of the bus ride. I was a little tipsy… the ride was bumpy. David was talking to me about his vacation (this was the first we’d been alone all day). He then mentioned that he’d tried to find a ring for me, but there was nothing that he liked in the stores he’d gone to, and everything would’ve had to be sent away for sizing. In short, he had no ring for me. I was a little disappointed, because there is always lingering hope, but that was that. No engagement for me, but the trip was still fun.
When we got back to Langford it was snowing. We stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee and donuts to sober up, and then had a lovely walk back to his parents’ in the snow. It was absolutely beautiful outside, and serenely quiet. When we got in we spent some time chatting with his dad, but then I excused myself to go upstairs. David stayed downstairs talking, so I sat down on his bed and pulled out my book and started to read. I admit I was impatient, waiting for him to finish his conversation so he could come talk to ME, whom he hadn’t seen in 4 weeks, and eventually I heard him moving around. He came up the stairs, then turned and went back down. I thought nothing of it. He came back up the stairs and came into the room and stood in the doorway and asked me to sit up. I was not quite sure what was going on in his mind. I thought he was either going to tease me, or tell me something negatively serious.
As I sat up, he dropped to one knee and pulled a ring out of his pocket. I don’t remember the exact words of his proposal, because I was in too much shock. After years of teasing him about how he’d never manage to surprise me with a proposal, because I was always expecting one, he’d managed to pull it off. In the one place I’d never expect a proposal, namely his old room, but yet in a place full of memories from our years of dating in Victoria. The room where, laying in bed with my face all smashed up, I realized how well he would take care of me. The room where we managed to snatch a few precious moments alone together when he came back from Spain. The room where we’d watched countless movies, listened to countless records, and spent countless hours just being together.
I accepted his proposal. I think I said “yes” and “is this for real” about fifty times. He had not found a ring, so he proposed with my little brass & enamel ring that I’d lent him for sizing, but promised that we shop together when we got back home. And after that I called my parents. My dad knew as soon as the phone rang, I think, because he demanded that I tell him “my news” before he’d pass the phone on. After the family-call, we stayed up most of the night talking. I slept very little. I spent the next day crying with joy and making phone calls and telling people in person.
The most fun we had was telling David’s family. Because we could tell them in person, we just slipped it into conversation. I made sure to keep my ring finger hidden. It was a lot of fun, particularly because it didn’t quite dawn on people right away. The most special moment of telling, however, was when I told my Grandma. I hadn’t planned to tell her that day, but I had called my mum to hash out details of picking me up from the bus that day and she told me she was at Grandma’s, because Grandma wasn’t feeling well. Then she suggested I tell her my news, which I did, and as soon as the words were out of my mouth I heard my Grandma burst into tears on the other end of the line, while telling me between them just how much she loved me and was happy for me. It is one of the most special moments in my life.
The day ended with an impromptu engagement celebration with David’s family. We had champagne, appetizers, and a “Jamaican engagement traditional dish” (according to Jen) of rice, rum, and shrimp. I then had to head off to the bus and back to Port. I spent the bus ride back in a happy daze of tears and smiles. The rest of vacation passed--mum began making wedding plans--and then it was back to Toronto.
So here we are. I am engaged to the love of my life. I’m sitting in a low-ceilinged apartment in Toronto, and we’re finishing one of the most stressful years of our lives together thus far. I think we’re stronger because of it, but it’s not always easy. School-stress, on top of our little house which causes physical discomfort for David and was having a very negative impact on my seasonal depression during the winter, on top of the recent changes to our plans…but we are surviving and having fun, and the time for a new chapter is almost here.
The morning after. I think this is the happiest we've ever appeared in a photo. Taken by Sarah after we told her.