Monday, September 1, 2008

Life Since Meeting Robert (Chapter 2 of the Life Since High School Chronicles)

To be completely honest, Robert proposed to me about 2 weeks after we met. I had decided that we were getting pretty serious pretty fast and there was one tiny detail about my life that I knew I needed to share with him, in order that we would both know how far we wanted to take our relationship. Those of you that are family or knew me in High School, particularly senior year, already know of the "tiny detail" I am referring to. I don't really want to make it completely public (especially since there are members of my family who do not know to this day), so I won't tell you what I mean here, but if you are a good friend, rest assured you do know or will know one day. The point is I needed to tell Robert at that time, so I told him I had something important to discuss with him, and we met & talked in a quiet spot in the Cannon Center (the cafeteria where we met in the dorms). He wasn't very talkative, but listened carefully and intently. I was scared to death that his opinion of me would be forever tainted, yet he did the most wonderful thing. He told me he wanted me to be his wife. He expressed how he was glad I had told him and that he know knew me better and loved me even more for having gotten to understand who I was now.

The times after that were nice. Robert would get up and meet me to walk me to my 7 am classes every morning. I purposely scheduled 7 am classes my entire 1st year to make myself get out of bed and to give myself plenty of time for shows (theatre) and work in the evenings. We would see each other between classes as often as our feet could make it across campus in time, meet for lunch whenever possible, study together in the evenings, stay out late together, then stay up on the phone for hours on end. Robert always tells people who think it seems like we got married fast, that we spent so much time together that we both felt like we crammed in years of getting to know each other. We became best friends, and who better to marry than your best friend? There were many times that Robert would come meet me at work, and my boss, Jen, would gush over how cute and sweet he was. Think here how neither of us had a car, so he had to walk or take the bus to come see me... and campus was a good few miles from my work.
The time after the 1st proposal to the "official" proposal was interminable for me. I even had to endure one couple (friends of ours) who met after we did and got engaged before we did! Also for those of you who did not attend BYU, engagements are very common.

I skipped our 1st kiss, didn't I. That's a funny story, so let's rewind....
Robert had a date to Homecoming with another girl. He made the date before we met and we had just gotten serious, so he kept the date to be nice (with the express idea that this was just a friendly date). I waited in the common room of my dorm, and when he got back (much too early for the other girl to have had a lot of fun) we sat on the couch with other friends of ours completely ignoring them and enjoying each others' company. I remember him telling me how the entire time he was thinking about how he just wanted to be with me and not out with this other girl. I also remember him touching my face. When it got to curfew time in our common room, I walked him to the outer door and tried to use my feminine charm on him. I'm pretty sure I was totally unsuccessful, but he leaned in to kiss me anyway, with quite a few of my girlfriends watching! It was very sweet, and I was embarrassed about people watching and ran up to my room to avoid the inevitable barrage of girls wanting details as to this very quickly formed relationship.

"I love you" came soon after that. I am proud to say he said it first. I don't know why, maybe because it is such a hard thing to say knowing your heart could be broken. And, so you don't think he was totally fearless of his heart breaking, he told me on my answering machine. Slick, huh?

At Halloween, one of his many "Hispanic girlfriends" did his makeup and dressed him up as a dead clown. It was gruesome. I kissed him anyway. Gross.

For Christmas, we were both going home (Him to California and I to Houston; me thanks to the generosity of one of the friends who helped me financially get to BYU) and dreading being away from each other for so long. (I know we are so lame! Stop reading if you have to go throw up now, you don't want it on your keyboard). We exchanged gifts before we left. He gave me a BYU sweater (I still have it) and I gave him a picture of me in front of the LOVE sculpture that used to be outside the BYU Museum (He still has it). Then we stayed up until 3 or so in the morning, hanging out in the HFAC (the theatre/arts building on campus) the night before he left. We called each other long distance (this was when you payed by the minute!) every night at the same time, and somehow got through all the fun holiday stuff without each other. Charlotte took me to see the Nutcracker that year, I got to spend Christmas Eve at the Haines annual Xmas Eve dinner and program, and I surprised my mom while caroling that night; She thought I wouldn't be home b/c they couldn't afford to fly me out.

Come February and I was dreading Valentine's day. Granted I had a sweetie, but I knew he couldn't afford a ring yet. Add to that years of bigger sisters getting flowers, candy, gifts galore and me getting nothing and you can imagine how I did not like the thought of Valentine's day.
Robert changed my opinion that year.
At each class I attended that day, I found a friend of ours with a flower. The 1st was a white carnation. the 2nd was a pink carnation, the 3rd was a red carnation, and the 4th was a rose. Each was supposed to have the stanza to a poem on it, but only one made it, so I didn't get that until later.

Will You Love Me When I'm Old?

I would ask of you, my darling,
A question soft and low,
That gives me many a heartache
As the moments come and go.

Your love I know is truthful,
But the truest love grows cold;

It is this that I would ask you:
Will you love me when I'm old?

Life's morn will soon be waning,
And its evening bells be tolled,
But my heart shall know no sadness,
If you'll love me when I'm old.

Down the stream of life together
We are sailing side by side,
Hoping some bright day to anchor

Safe beyond the surging tide.
Today our sky is cloudless,
But the night may clouds unfold;
But, though storms may gather round us,
Will you love me when I'm old?

Robert met me after my evening class with a huge long stemmed rose that was almost as tall as I am, and walked me to my dorm to put my things away. Then we walked to Viva Spaghetti at Brigham's Landing (the spot where companies go to die, as Robert says. No business can survive in that spot for long.), with me blindfolded the whole way! At our table was another red rose. Then we walked to the Provo Temple, walked around the grounds, and sat & talked until the night watchman told us they were closing (this was about 11pm). Robert can tell you the dirty trick he played on me there, if he dares! I refuse to tell it.

On the walk home I was subdued. I had spent weeks and then all day telling myself he wasn't going to propose tonight and now our night was over and I had to admit to myself I was right. Darnit! Didn't he still want to marry me? Did I do something wrong? Will he ever propose? These are my thoughts as we are walking home. He declined walking me to my common room saying he promised his family a phone call and he needed to get my present (some wool socks I needed, which I don't still have). I dejectedly sat down on the common room couch and chatted with some friends who were playing cards. Some guys Robert and I knew who were in a band were hanging around our common area, too. Tania asked me about borrowing a cd, and we went up to my room to find it. For some reason by the time I had gotten to my room (the 2nd to last from the end), half of the girls on my floor had followed me. When I walked into my room, I found I had been "Heart Attacked!" This is one of those BYU dating things. You put up hearts all over someone's room and a sign that says something to the effect of "You've been Heart Attacked," except my room was also filled with gifts. And Robert had used hearts I had used in his room earlier in the year when I had filled his room with balloons (did you understand that sentence at all?). That was fun. Anyways!

The wool socks were there, a print by Bouguereau, and more things I don't remember. When you come to our house you can see that print, framed in our entryway. He even stuck one of the small hearts to my Elmo doll. Then Tania asked me if my stereo was on. I was confused. What was she talking about. The she started fiddling with my blinds. What is this crazy girl thinking? But music was coming from somewhere... We opened the blinds to see Robert and the guys from the commons room outside playing and singing "More Than Words." Note here, I lived on the 3rd floor, so even though Robert and the guys were not expecting it, they had 3 full floors of spectators that night. It brought my depressed state to an abrupt end, and I was glad he chose to end our Valentine's day that way. Then he disappeared, and someone said he was coming up the fire escape stairs. I was glad he came up for one last good night and a kiss.

I hugged him at the door to the fire escape and he pushed me back, and proceeded to gag me. Then he got down on one knee and recited the last stanza to the poem.

When my hair shall shade the snowdrift,
And mine eyes shall dimmer grow,
I would lean upon some loved one,
Through the valley as I go.
I would claim of you one promise,
Worth to me a world of gold;

It is only this, my darling,
That you'll love me when I'm old

Then he asked me if I would marry him, reached behind me to Tania holding out a box, and opened it with my engagement ring inside! I, of course, said yes, and to the chanting of Besa! Besa! Besa! (I've already told you we had a lot of Spanish speaking friends) we kissed. And he left me to be bombarded with my girlfriends for all the rest of the evening's details and to ooh and ahh over my new ring. Oh, and one of our friends was clever enough to have a camera, so I have a few pictures.
p.s. For those of you wondering, the gag was b/c we were getting "engagged." Robert is very corny.


Meg said...

Awwwwww! My goodness, how romantic, fun, and creative. You two have a very sweet story!

Texas Tingey said...

How sweet and very creative was the proposal.

swedemom said...

I love it. This is so fun to read. And it is fun to remember after being there for parts of it.

I'm impressed that you were able to use your feminine wiles to get him to kiss you.

I tried and didn't succeed with my man at first. He just wouldn't take the hint and had this noble idea of waiting until we were engaged. But things picked up after we got engaged.

But I was never good at figuring out how to use feminine wiles.

Lewis Family said...

Heehee. The kicker is I don't think I really succeeded. He just happened to want to kiss me, too. My love is fairly clueless with these things.