I love it when a plan comes together.
July was going to be a game-changer. THE game-changer. Nook did not realise it, but, a lot was riding on her trip to visit me, and what all happened during those days together.
The ring from Tiffany was hidden in my house, tucked amongst my computer parts and gadgets (which, curiously, seem to form a natural barrier to most women), which is probably for the best. Perhaps Tiffany should disguise the Little Blue Box to have an exterior which looks like camera batteries and OS X installation disks...
The original purpose of Nook’s trip to visit me was to attend the wedding of a friend of mine - more people she had never met. Indeed, I had the absolutely fantastic honour of being the Best Man to a very good friend of mine on his special day - and the bride and groom were fully briefed about the Nook and Chair story and were happy to extend the invitation to a “plus one” for me.
The wedding was to be on a Thursday, and since Nook had so far to fly, we arranged things so she’d make it to my city early on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, since her jobs didn’t really afford much time off, we had to schedule her flight back for early Sunday, which was only going to give us a few days together, plus the full day at the wedding.
This trip was important for Nook for another reason: It was her first real trip abroad. She actually had to obtain a passport for this trip, her first. It arrived in her post on my birthday, by the way (not reading too much into these coincidences, but, it is nice).
Coincidentally to all of this, a group of friends of mine who made trips over to where I lived from time to time also wanted to visit in early July, and were wondering if I was going to be around that first weekend. “Huh,” I thought to myself. “Rather convenient for all these things to be slotting together...”
At this point, even though I had Sparkly in my home, I was not entirely sure whether or not I would pop the proverbial question. It was fast, and like most men, I wasn’t really keen on the possibility of being rejected.
But, again, without reading too much into the coincidences of life, the fact that she had her passport, we got a good flight (which we actually bought whilst sitting on her sofa looking at engagement rings online back in April), that she was going to attend a wedding of complete strangers, and that another group of very good and close friends of mine (going on some 20+ years) were going to be in town, well, portents of happiness, perhaps!
Even though I was not sure if I would propose to Nook whilst she was visiting during this quick trip, the fact that I would propose, eventually, was a common topic of conversation. Indeed, for many weeks we would say to each other on our Skype calls “Can we get married yet?” repeatedly.
It was something we both wanted, but, we were both not sure of the planning on.
Given the lack of movement in getting a final job contract in hand for my new position, and being unable to resign my current job at the time, plus all the other factors, well, we really couldn’t see any way to think of getting engaged until at least November of 2010, with a wedding at some point in early 2011.
But we were both anxious to get going with our lives and Nook promised me that when I did ask her, in November, that she’d say yes.
This prompted me to ask her, regularly: Is it November yet?
“No.” She’d quietly sigh. “Not yet. Do you wish it was?”
Soon I started saying that I was going to propose in a November-y time frame. And that quickly became “Novemberyish”...which had rather different meanings in Nook’s head versus mine.
She was thinking that would be October, or possibly December, but, whenever we were together.
I was thinking that would be, well, Friday.
But we’ll get back to that in a moment.
A beautiful day.
On the Thursday we awoke early (not particularly easy for someone suffering their first ever jetlag) and made our way to a friend of the Bride and Groom so that we could catch a lift to the ceremony. They had organised something very unique and special, and a fair bit of planning was needed to make it all work out.
The wedding was taking place on a small island, just off the coast, and they had arranged for the wedding party to be transported there and back via boat. A trip of nearly three hours each way, plus, several hours in the car just to get to the location of the boat.
But the day was astounding. The weather was perfect. The sea was calm. They could not have asked for anything better. It was a fantastic service and I was incredibly honoured to be a witness to their union.
Needless to say, it was also kicking my own sense of “WANT TO MARRY NOOK NOW” into high gear. Nook has often called me quite sentimental, and I don’t deny it. Not when it comes to things like this.
The bride and groom arrived on the island the day ahead of the wedding, but came back to shore with the wedding party and everyone met up at a fantastic venue for a reception. Probably another hundred or so people showed up for that, in addition to the 40 or so who were at the actual wedding and boat trip.
Nook did fantastic through all this. The ceremony was in a language she did not know, but most guests were able to converse with her in English and were quite keen to learn about her and where she was from (and our own longer term plans, as far as she knew them). By the end of the day she was pretty worn out, though, so getting back home to my flat was a welcome relief.
I think Nook made it about 5 minutes before passing out, face down on the bed, out of fatigue.
I, on the other hand, did not sleep.
Metres away from where we were lying was a little blue box. With a little black box inside it. And Sparkly resting there, within the black box. For weeks I’d been thinking about what I wanted to do on Friday, the words I might choose, and to say that my heart was racing would be a massive understatement.
I was, however, smiling.
A smile like I’ve never smiled before, nor shall I again.
A smile of knowing: Yes, this is the right thing to do.
A smile of knowing: I love Nook.
A smile of knowing: Nook loves Chair.
And so as I laid there in the darkness, I grinned away, knowing with all my heart that tomorrow, Friday, the Second of July, 2010, I would ask Nook to be my wife.
I just didn’t know where, or when...or even exactly how.