Helen and I had been together for two years when I took a contract overseas. It was hard being apart but we managed with the occasional phone calls or the more frequent chat sessions. We talked about this or that, nothing really important, just two people talking about their daily lives. Time continued on, but in those eight long months away from her, I realized just how important she was to my life. It wasn’t anything grand; it was the little things like how she would take a bite out of my sandwich and feign innocence with that smile of hers, ignoring the fact she did it in front of me. Then there was the way she looked at me when she thought I wasn’t looking. It was something more suited to a high school student than a grown woman. Yet it never failed to make me smile. I guess she had that effect on me, always making me grin or laugh for the smallest of reasons.
During this time apart, I decided that as soon as I got back I’d ask her to move in with me. It was a big step for me; I’ve never lived with anyone but my family. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that I was a man on a mission and so I began to plan. I found myself flying home a week before she expected me back, my brother picked me up from the airport handing me everything I needed for that night. It didn’t take too long before I was ringing her doorbell, a spare key to my home safely hidden in my pocket.
I was disappointed that she didn’t seem surprised; she just smiled and engulfed me in a hug. She did say something that I’ll always remember “What took you so long?” She said it as if I had only been out to buy some milk, as if I had never left at all. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks that to her it was as though I never left at all. She had always told me that all she needed to do was close her eyes and that I’d be right there by her side. I didn’t understand what she meant until that night, with her in my arms I closed my eyes and began to think. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of memories of us flashed by and I suddenly realized that even though we were apart for all those months, a piece of her was with me all along, supporting and encouraging me on.
The One; The Ring
There was no way I could give her a mere key after that realization. It just didn’t send the right message that she was the one. There was only one thing that could do that for me, a ring. Call it spontaneous but two days later I began ring shopping. I thought it would be easy; just pick something and that would be it. Sadly I was wrong; it was so hard to find the right ring. I wanted the engagement ring to be something she liked yet at the same time something that held meaning for both of us.
It took me a while to find the right one. It was one of those CZ Fantasy Rings with a small imitation sapphire on it. I could have spent more and bought a real ring. In fact I wanted to but Helen would have bitten my head off; she was nothing but natural. The blue gem and the price would satisfy her but the fantasy like design meant that it was the beginning of our happily ever after.
Having the jewelry box in hand, I suddenly felt a wave of fear. What if she said no? What if I picked the wrong ring? Why had I only thought of that now? I knew she loved me but did she love me enough? Time would tell. It wasn’t long before we went out for dinner. We walked to beach afterwards. It wasn’t too dark and finally we arrived at the spot we first met. She glanced away and said she recognized it but I had already taken a knee. Helen took one look at it and said yes. I knew that there were so many rings that I could have picked, but never one as special as the one I put on her finger.