Monday, October 12, 2015

My Left Hand

Today marks the tenth anniversary of a big day on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

It was my senior year and I was sitting in Stanley Russ Hall in some sort of broadcasting or journalism class... give me a break, it's been ten years. I was 21 years old and had been dating a guy for a little over two months. Many of my classmates had met him through department functions or seeing us out and about. They liked him. My friends liked him. My mom loved him and so did I. Things were going well after a tumultuous spring and summer {different story} and the fact that this semester had started while I was stuck in the hospital {ditto}. I was happy, and that was new.

Back to the class. It's been a long time, but I remember being clueless as I slung my backpack over my shoulder and bid my friends goodbye. I pushed open the heavy glass doors with the day's plans on my mind. Even back then, it was important for me to know my every move. That's why I lost my breath in the parking lot.

Inside my Jeep were red balloons. I don't know how many, but I couldn't see much else inside. I stood there for a few minutes looking over my shoulder for hidden cameras or pranksters behind the pear trees. Knowing I was being watched, I kept calm and opened the door. I brushed the balloons back and there in the driver's seat was a piece of loose leaf paper, folded into thirds with "To my love" carefully drawn on the outside. It was from him.

I began to read and from the corner of my eye I saw a handful of people from my class waiting to see what would happen next. Frozen with fear and anticipation, I made my way through the love and promise that poured from every word. He talked about how much I meant to him, how badly he wanted to take care of me, and plenty more things I probably shouldn't publish on the Internet.

I don't look at that letter often, but I'll never forget the last line. He told me to turn around.

There he stood. All 6 feet and 5 inches. I could hear an audible gasp from the audience as he slid to one knee in the UCA parking lot. I didn't care that anyone was watching. I didn't care that I looked a hot mess. I didn't care that there were students and professors going about their lives oblivious to this defining moment in mine. There was no one else.

He said my full name, and I laughed as my nerves hit and said his. He asked me to marry him and I told him I would. He slipped his grandmother's ring onto my left hand and he kissed me like nothing could break it.

He later told me he had big plans for a romantic proposal on the dock of my Mema's lake with a beautiful background and beautiful words and a movie scene. However, he had gotten the ring back from the jeweler that morning and couldn't wait another minute. Knowing how much he wanted to marry me was a movie scene. It was perfect.

These ten years feel like a lifetime. It's been so good and it's been so hard, but I will always be thankful he was in the parking lot.

I love you, Jonathan. I'm glad you couldn't wait.

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Unknown said...

What a great story! My engagement story is similar in that it was in a parking lot because my husband couldn't wait. So romantic and beautifully told!

Unknown said...

Love this sweet story and I love that he couldn't wait to make you his!!

Amanda said...

Very sweet! Love it and his excitement! Guess What!!?!?! I got engaged at UCA too!!!! Our spot is in front of the football field on the sidewalk :)

Jessica Bauer said...

Thank you all for your compliments! I appreciate you reading and I sure love remembering this super-sweet day in my life. :) And Amanda, that is awesome!!! I'm telling you, the universe has meant for us to know each other.

Unknown said...

I love engagement stories! I was just telling mine to Ting tonight. Your's sounds very exciting. I bet that made for some fun stories from all the onlookers as well.