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Engagement, Pt. I

Many thanks for the comments, and apologies for perhaps a shameless act of self love. I have two different counters on the website that track traffic and mostly agree that this site averages about 50 unique visitors per day. It also shows where visitors are from, which is interesting to see. Of course I see traffic from Anchorage (us), Dallas, Frisco, Rockwall, Plano, etc. But of the last 500 visits, 27 came from Boise, Idaho, 12 from Reston, Virginia, 11 from St. Paul, Minnesota, 10 from Dodge City, Kansas, a long list of cities in the single digits, and one from the Czech Republic.

And now, to continue our story…

Stephanie and I were finally engaged seven years after that statistics class we shared in the spring of our freshman year. The story of our engagement, however, begins a year before that: In the spring of ’99, I was at Hardin-Simmons working as a dorm director and finishing my bachelor’s degree in English. I felt at home at Hardin-Simmons and things were going well for me. Stephanie and I were in our usual state of limbo, and I had met a cute little co-ed in whom I was growing increasingly interested.

One weekend in May, I was scheduled to drive to Dallas to visit Stephanie for the weekend. On the drive there I was thinking about our future, and thinking that it was long past time to finally talk to Stephanie and tell her that we had no real hope for a long-term future. I resolved to break up with her fully and finally.

With that resolution, our weekend began. Though it was a pleasant visit, Stephanie struck first with “the talk” in which she said that she had been thinking about us and she had decided that we had no hope for a future, and that we should therefore end our relationship. Fully and finally.

There was a certain amount of sadness and heartache, but there was also a lot of relief. I drove home believing that chapter was closed, and relieved that I hadn’t been the one to pull the trigger. I was free.

And I was glad to be free, but I still missed Stephanie. She and I were, above all things, the very best of friends and we talked daily and, more particularly, nightly. I missed ending the day on the phone with her.

About a month later, I was walking across the Hardin Simmons campus, down the long sidewalk leading from Anderson Hall. I remember this exact moment with ringing clarity – I was thinking about Stephanie and something in my mind clicked, and I simply knew that no matter what my future held, I wanted her to be my partner. I knew I would love her all of my life, and I couldn’t wait to woo he her back.

Though I was working at Hardin-Simmons as a dorm director, I was paid a paltry monthly sum. I couldn’t begin to think about shopping for an engagement ring without changing my tack. So I began working the night shift cleaning buildings on the Hardin-Simmons campus, saving every shiny dime in the hope of buying a ring. And I began calling Stephanie. At first she was reluctant to indulge such phone calls, but after a time she warmed up to my calls again. I told her I loved her.

But I didn’t tell her what I was thinking or planning. Though I knew that I’d soon ask her to marry me, I wanted it to be a surprise. The way I figured it, most young couples asked the question twice: first, they ask casually in ongoing conversation, something like, “So, where are we headed? Do you want to be, like, married some day? Is this it?” And if the mutual sentiment was “Yes, let’s,” then there would be a second, formal, surprise “popping of the question.” But it couldn’t really be much of a surprise, could it? While not knowing the particulars, the betrothed-to-be must surely know that it’s coming sometime. But I wanted to truly surprise Stephanie.

To be continued…

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 at 12:17PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | CommentsPost a Comment

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