It was February 14, our five-year anniversary and he took me ice skating at an outdoor rink we had previously visited on past Valentine's Days to celebrate our love -- for each other, not for ice skating.
In true Minnesota fashion, it was freezing cold. The type of cold that made your nostrils freeze together. Romantic, right?
As one of the few couples insane enough to hit the ice, we slowly skated to the end of the pond where he eventually got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Marry him? Of course, I said yes. He is the love of my life.
With blurry eyes and hearts aflutter, we skated back to the warming house and decided to head to the jewelry store so we could pick him out his own ring to wear.
As you can imagine, a jewelry store inside a mall on Valentine's Day is a great way to take the wind out of your romantic sails. After fighting our way through the crowd we found someone that was able to help us.
"So who proposed to who!?" She shouted loudly. Embarrassed I looked around at the 20 straight couples picking out jewelry and responded quietly, "Ahhh I guess he did." It's unfortunate that on one of the happiest days of our lives, I still felt the need to keep the news under wraps. I found myself nervously wondering who was listening as we were looking through ring options and talking about what we envisioned for the big day.
But we were engaged! In true Taylor Swift fashion I shook it off, helped him picked out his ring and then high-tailed it the hell of that dreadful mall. On the way home we decided it was time to start making phone calls to our friends and family.
Of course, our moms were first. Well his was anyways -- mine was on a weeklong vacation in the Bahamas so we decided an email would have to do. Next up, our dads. His was excited, a little confused and in a rush to head to church but happy nonetheless. Now my turn, gulp! As I scrolled through my phonebook I decided that I would casually mention the engagement in-between conversation about the weather. My dad was well-aware I was in love with the boy but as the first ring echoed in my ear, a wave of nausea came over me. I couldn't help but flash back to the gut-wrenching feeling that I had just two years prior when I came out to him on a call very similar to this. "Why am I feeling like this? It's one of the happiest days of my life?"
As I stammered and spit out words that involved something about frigid temperatures and the status of my tire pressure, I took a deep breath and broke the news. I could tell he was a bit caught off guard but happy nonetheless. We ended the call with an "I love you" and as I hung up as I floated back into my blissful engagement bubble.
He had one surprise left, a fancy dinner downtown with a few close friends. Half way through dinner a ravishing straight couple that had been sitting nearby stopped at our table and asked, "Which ones of you just got engaged?" Again my heart sank as I wondered what their reaction would be when they found out it was the two guys sitting inches from them. Our friend jumped in and pointed the two of us out. "How exciting!" She said as I nervously examined her floor-long fur coat. "We're celebrating our marriage of more than 20 years."
Phew! That was close. We thanked them as the husband rushed his wife along. I took another deep sigh of relief and let it sink in that I had spent a lot of the day worrying rather than celebrating. And that needed to change.
From that moment on, I made the conscious decision that I wasn't going to hide it and I wasn't going to act ashamed. Our relationship somehow seems more invincible -- as if our rings held super powers that deflected any negative feelings or thoughts from outsiders.
A feeling we should all have, as humans, on one of the happiest days of our lives.