As written in the last post, Ben & I began on 5 August 2002. (Yes-a part of the reason our wedding date is now 5 August 2008). We have celebrated that day ever since. Well, not really while on missions, but I'd like to think we at least remembered it those years.
Ben and I "began" because we finally established that we liked each other more than just friends. We were acquaintances beginning freshman year, and friends beginning junior year. The summer before senior year is when it took the big turn. On the 5th of August, to be exact. To propose, Ben reenacted our 'coming together'--much of which occurred that night. I'll use color to best-tell the story to avoid confusion. Green for 2002, orange for 2008:
We began by speeding up to SLC to make it in time for the reservations at the secret restaurant. By the time we were in East Salt Lake, I figured it would have to be the fancy little Italian place, Fresco. We went there before a 2nd Beck concert together in November and had an excellent time. It wasn't crowded, we had good service, and yummy squash soup. It was fun to be a couple. We had a good time again, though it was a very crowded night--including a loud Prom group. I enjoyed the pasta and lentil soup. I just enjoyed talking to and being with Ben. We left without dessert, but stopped at the Maverick gas station on 6th South. We used to stop there by default all the time to use a phone book for directions to whatever Salt Lake event. We always got the free frozen yogurt samples. But they're not there anymore. So we just got some treats (gummy worms, JuniorMints & water), and we were on our way. I thought we were on our way home, but Ben drove around to a road directly up from the temple. When parked, it was a perfect elevated view of that amazing edifice. Then the music began: beautiful Beck songs in the order of the set list from the acoustic Beck concert in August. We ate our treats and listened and remembered things from the concert and had a good time. Though my bladder didn't want to stay there as long as we did, so our next stop was a bathroom, and then on to the freeway.
I was falling asleep on the drive, but then I tried to keep Ben awake. It was a long drive, but it was direct: he took me right home. (The drive is just as long and just as sleepy in 2008). After parking, we stopped to sit on the lawn, and Ben told the story of beginning to like me during that freshman year when we met. The conversation ended when I said "I like us." He hugged me, and I pecked him on the cheek. After parking across the street, he took my hand and a white envelope and we walked to the front lawn. This is what I saw: (THOUGH IT WAS NIGHTTIME)
Ben removed the flowers (leopard lilies--one of the first flowers I learned to classify as a goal from Summer 2002) and we wrapped in the quilt and shivered. He pulled out the envelope saying "I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget", though I think he just wrote it down so I could have it forever. The card ran on the theme of the first line:
"I knew just as much then as I know now that I want to marry you."
He didn't tell me that he wanted to marry me back then; and smartly so. But he did spill it a few months later, when I realized I really could spend the rest of forever with him, he told me he'd pictured marrying me since freshman year. I'm not sure what could be more flattering.
Anyway, after the romance, he told me I needed to stand up. He pulled out the ring and smiled as he asked. I smiled as I answered. It was so dark that I couldn't see the ring, but all I really wanted to do was hug him anyway. He was keen to remind me about the kiss on the cheek from the first time around... And of course I did want to see the ring, but I enjoyed chatting in the quilt for a bit until he told me to go and study it under the light. Then we went our separate ways--ENGAGED.