Sunday, October 18, 2009

On This the Day of our Engagement

Scene: last night, in the hot tub at our house in Podunk, Rhode Island.

Beej: Hey, what’s the date today?

Todd: I don’t know. I don’t pay attention to that stuff on the weekends.

Beej: It’s October 17th. Nine years ago today you asked me to marry you.

Todd: (splashing around in the water) And what did you say?

Beej: (stretching out in the hot water and sighing) I said no. Then you asked me what you needed to do so I would say yes, and I said that you needed to get me a hot tub and I might consider it.

Todd: I think you might be remembering that incorrectly. Just a little.

On the night he asked me, October 17, 2000, I was working in Boston, and he was working in Providence. We lived between Boston and Providence at the time, and I used to take the train into Boston for work every day, then I went to grad school at night and caught the late train home. Todd drove the 45-60 minutes south to Providence for work, and came home at a million o’clock every night.

He called me at work on a random Tuesday in October and said “Hey, how about if I come into Boston tonight and we’ll have dinner together in the city.” We hadn’t seen much of each other at the time, and I couldn’t wait until I saw him that night.

I was late meeting him at Government Center. I had to take the green line to my professor’s office on Beacon Street to drop off a paper. He never ended up reading the paper and just gave me a B because it had gotten lost in his office. I thought I deserved an A because he was the one who lost the paper. The green line was slower than weight loss, and I frantically checked my watch every other second until the train finally crept into Government Center. I ran up the stairs and out the street exit. Todd was there with flowers that he’d bought from the vendor on the sidewalk.

“There she is!” he exclaimed. Finally I’d shown up, and it didn’t look like he’d been stood up. We walked to Quincy Market, and checked out the benches under the trees. White Christmas lights were strung in the trees, and the branches were lined with thousands of squawking birds. The benches were covered in poop so we sat at the base of the Samuel Adams statue.

It was chilly that night, and I felt the chill of the stone base of the statue as I sat. Todd put his hands in his pockets. I wondered if his hands were cold. But Todd’s hands are never cold. He’s exothermic. I swear the water boils around him when we dive. I watched his hands; I wasn’t listening to what he was saying.

He held out a ring and asked, “So, will you marry me?” I burst into tears and said yes.

Here it is 9 years later, and I still have no idea what he said before he asked. I wish I’d listened more.

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Anonymous crisitunity said...

Splendid post. I love the way you switch back and forth between barely relevant and totally relevant stuff. And your details are just marvelous.

I also think I should listen to Matt a little more carefully from time to time, in case I miss something.

October 18, 2009 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Thank you for the compliment, Crisitunity.

The problem with listening closer is, um, actually having to listen to everything. LOL.

October 19, 2009 at 7:15 PM  

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