The Proposal

He was leaving.

Over the summer we’d talked about getting married; we’d even found the ring. Yet here we were, two weeks until he was set to return to college, and he said he couldn’t propose before he left.

I had battled with God for a month about returning to school; my grandma’s battle with cancer became the reason to stay home. Josh had agreed with the decision, squashing my hopes that he would try to convince me to go back.

Josh suggested we go out to a nice dinner as a going away meal. The girls at work said it was a good thing we were already engaged or they’d think he was going to propose.

A seed was planted. One I wanted to dig up and throw away. I’d ruined so many special occasions before, I didn’t want to ruin this one with false expectations.

He seemed in a rush. He’d forgotten his watch at home, and he kept checking the clock on the car stereo as we fought traffic to the restaurant.

The host seated us in a cozy little table for two next to windows that overlooked the Puget Sound. Already I could see the faint streaks of a purply-orange sunset; it was going to be a good one! Our meal wasn’t really that impressive, so when Josh stopped eating I did too.

“Let’s not get dessert. We eat too much dessert,” he said.

Rather than turn the car toward home, as I’d expected, he drove towards the zoo. Surrounding the zoo is a five-mile drive that offers views of the Sound, which is where Josh wanted to go watch the sun set. We got lost and finally drove through gates that displayed a sign stating the park closed at dusk; we’d just made it.

I suggested a few good places to stop, but Josh seemed to know where he was going. He parked the car, and got out. I wasn’t really dressed for a hike through the woods, nevertheless, Josh was adamant about me following him. I started to get suspicious.

Walking before him down a little dirt path that hugged the edge of the cliff, I rounded a corner to find a tree stump covered with fern branches and red roses. Josh directed me to sit down on the decorated seat, as he pulled a cooler with sparkling cider and champagne flutes out of nowhere. Handing me a bouquet of roses, he said, “Melissa Redmond. I love you. I want you to be my wife.”

He may have said more, but it’s all static in my head. At one point, after he’d proposed and I’d accepted, I noticed him staring at something behind me. Quickly I turned to see what he was looking at, but saw nothing. We talked. We kissed. I said the word “amazing” way too many times.

And then our friends emerged from the bushes behind us. One of them had crouched there for at least an hour to photograph the event. The other one had video taped the entire proposal. That is what Josh had stared at, our friend’s head sticking up out of the bushes.

The next day we made the two-hour drive to Oregon; I talked the whole time about colors, locations, dates, and wedding to my heart’s content. We said we wouldn’t kiss again until our wedding day. A month later he came to visit for a week. The month after that I visited him for a week. I had paper chains lining my cubicle at work, counting down the days until I could see him again. My life became a blur of wedding planning, chemotherapy treatments and work.

And I couldn’t wait until February 24th…

Engagement pics are difficult when you can't kiss! :)




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25 thoughts on “The Proposal

  1. Melissa, thanks again for sharing with us. This was beautifully written!

    I didn’t have our engagement/proposal filmed and/or photographed… looking back that would have been something really special to have!

    1. It is pretty cool! Of course, this was before everything was digital, so the video is on VHS and the picture is just that, a picture. I wish I could have put a copy of it with this post, maybe I’ll have to scan the picture and convert the video to update this post later. Nah…sounds like a lot of work. haha! :)

  2. way more romantic then ours, but I ruined it and got the back up plan one of “you want the ring now or what?”

    1. I know so many people who got the back up plan proposal. :) Haha! Those are sometimes just as interesting. One of our friends was so nervous about proposing that his girlfriend got angry at him for being weird. They were driving in his old VW bug and he snapped back at her, “I’m nervous because I was going to ask you to marry me.” Haha! Not quite as romantic. :)

  3. What did you think of the fact that there were people hiding in the bushes? I’m such a private person that would have totally freaked me out!

    As Dustin already said, this was so beautifully written, Melissa! And, it helps that I know EXACTLY what restaurant you’re talking about. I love that restaurant! :)

    1. I’m glad that I didn’t know they were there at the time. The problem I have is worrying about my reactions. I feel like I don’t respond in the way people think I should. So to know that they were there would have made me uncomfortable (more than I already was) about how I responded to Josh’s proposal. After the fact, I loved that we had a picture taken right after we got engaged with that glorious sunset in the background. The video completely embarrasses me because I think I sound like an idiot: “This is amazing, you’re so amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.” I didn’t realize how many times I said it until we watched the video with Josh’s parents later that night. Josh thinks it’s cute, but I still feel silly when I watch it. Haha! It’s a wonderful memory though. There’s this one part where Josh is going to put the ring on my finger and I need to take off the purity ring that my grandma had given me years before. I toss the bouquet of roses on the stump, but it sounds super loud on the video; like I threw them down really hard. Everyone always laughs when they see that. Haha!

      You know which restaurant it is? Which one are you thinking of, because I wonder if you’re right. Haha!

      1. That sounds hilarious! I think you should totally find a way to upload the video.

        So, I’m just assuming it’s Anthony’s. But, now I think I could be totally wrong. Was it somewhere else on Ruston? Maybe The Lobster Shop? Or Shenanigan’s?

        We got engaged on Alki, so have similar memories. Except it was FREEZING because it was in December.

        1. I would love to share the video, but I have to figure out how to get it from VHS to DVD first. :) That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. The restaurant was C.I. Shenanigans, I don’t think Anthony’s was there in 2000. :) I love that view of NE Tacoma from Ruston Way. Would you believe that I’ve never been to Alki? And I spent the first 19 years of my life in Washington! :) I bet it was freezing in December. Haha!

  4. got all teary reading this. . .i think there is such wisdom in making sure not to ruin beautiful moments by unfulfilled ((often unreasonable)) expectations. . .what a beautiful story. i think it was an awesome decision to not kiss till the wedding. . .VERY wise :)

    1. I grew up in the Puget Sound area, but my husband was driving back to school in Southern California with some friends from Beaverton. :) I love the PNW area!

  5. how romantic!!!! ;) love it!!! my husband and i never told our engagement story to ANYONE! i wonder if i will ever spill the beans…it’s both comical and embarrassing! ;)

  6. Melissa,

    I just got done reading the previous post about how you were impatient.

    I can see why!

    This special occasion is amazing! ;) I’d want to rush to it too.

    Where’s the video?

  7. Loved this story!! I had never heard it before!! Was cool to hear because I met you guys pre engagement and then we fell out of touch ..but I always wondered about your engagement and wedding and what they were like! :) way to go Josh!! I want to see the video.. :)

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