WARNING: Those who get squeamish reading about hugs and kisses and mushy, gooshy love (you know who you are) should probably not proceed to read this post. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The day Mr. Brown Eyes got home from Oregon I ran up the terminal and tackled him. You could say I had missed him a little bit.
Now that I'd realized my love for him, our relationship surged forward. We were closer than ever. I had never been happier. And suddenly it no longer mattered that he was my first boyfriend. I didn't want to date anyone else. Driving with my mom in the car one day I said, "I think I just might marry him," and my mom, who had scared me spitless by asking me, after one or two dates, if I thought Mr. Brown Eyes was "the one," just smiled. She had known all along.
Heavenly Father, knowing me so well, eased me into the idea of marriage with little nudges. I would see a mother with a baby and feel a tug at my heart, a desire to have that for myself, and not just with anyone. With Mr. Brown Eyes. Holding Mr. Brown Eyes' hand I would think, out of the blue, "I could spend forever with him." When I prayed about our future together, all I felt was warmth and peace.
Fast forward a week to our ward Halloween party. Mr. Brown Eyes and I had planned elaborate costumes as Indiana Jones and his blonde heroine. From the moment Mr. Brown Eyes lifted me into his truck (because my dress was too tight for me to climb in by myself), I felt a strange giddiness inside, a desire to express something to him but I wasn't sure what.
After the party we went to dinner with some friends, and Mr. Brown Eyes and I, as was our tradition, tied our straw wrappers in knots and then each pulled one side like a wishbone. Whoever got the side with the knot got to make a wish. Mr. Brown Eyes got the winning side this time. I let him make his wish and didn't think another thing of it until later that night, as we were saying goodbye outside my house.
"Do you want to know what I wished for tonight?" he asked between kisses, his arms around me.
"Sure," I said with a smile.
His eyes softened and his lips curled upward into a little half-smile, the way he does when he has something sweet and romantic to say. "I wished that you'll know sooner rather than later whether we should get married."
There was that tug in my heart again. Every nudge Heavenly Father had given me in this direction for the past week flooded over me. Suddenly I knew what it was I felt I needed to say to him all night.
I smiled and caressed his cheek. "I know," I whispered.
He caught my hand, his eyes brightening the way they had when I first told him I loved him. "Really?"
He pulled me closer. "You want to marry me?"
He swept me into his arms then, and we laughed and embraced and danced in the middle of the starlit street. It would be several hours later when we finally said goodbye. We were too busy planning our life together, trying out the sound of my name with his, imagining what it would be like when we didn't have to say goodbye every night anymore. We were going to get married. And there was no terror for me in the idea. I had never been so sure of anything in my entire life.
I woke up the next morning for work after a very short night's sleep, but I was so happy I literally skipped through my day, humming a song under my breath, smiling at everyone, even the grumpy coworkers I didn't usually talk to.
Keeping me on my toes, Mr. Brown Eyes didn't oficiallly propose until almost a month later. He took me hiking on the same trail we'd started on our first date, leading me down to some rocks where he'd strategically placed a basket full of gourmet sandwiches, chocolate-covered strawberries, Martinelli's, goblets, and a picnic blanket. (I'll skip the part about how clueless I was even when I saw the basket. Seeing it perched on a ledge above us I gasped, "Maybe there's a baby inside! Let's go see!" Mr. Brown Eyes thought I was joking. Let's pretend I was.)
As we enjoyed our (alas, baby-free) picnic, Mr. Brown Eyes asked me to get him a water out of his backpack. As I unzipped it, I caught sight of a little red Helzberg Diamonds box. My heart pounded.
"What's this?" I squealed, flipping it open.
Then I frowned.
Instead of a glittering diamond, there staring back at me was a green rubber spider ring, its spindly legs sprawling out in every direction.
I scowled at Mr. Brown Eyes, who I realized was recording me with his camera. "I'm going to push you down the mountain," I vowed. But it was a good-natured threat because I realized if he had the box, the real ring couldn't be far.
He thought it would be funny to take pictures of him proposing to me with the spider ring, so he told me where to stand and positioned his camera on a rock. While I absentmindedly scratched my nose and gazed off into the distance, he pulled the real ring out of his camera case and dropped down onto one knee in front of me.
"Will you marry me, Rachel?" he asked.
I can't count how many times I had dreamed of this moment. Long before I met Mr. Brown Eyes, when the man proposing in my dreams was just a blurred face I would fill in according to my current taste (or current crush). There were days I thought this moment would never come. Now, as I breathed, "Yes!" and threw myself into his arms, his tender kiss and solid arms told me that this most definitely was not a dream.
We have it all on camera, and I thought about posting the video here, but it's just a bunch of smooching and most of you probably don't want to see that. And Mr. Brown Eyes claims at the beginning I am picking my nose, but I swear to you I am scratching it, NOT picking it. I just wanted to set the record straight, for posterity's sake.
I still have that spider ring somewhere,
The Brown-Eyed Girl