Well, 4 years ago today I remember waking up thinking that I was in a dead-end relationship but was still hoping that Patrick may still want to marry me eventually. I remember feeling depressed and down, yet I was still looking forward to going out with Patrick later that evening. He could still propose, couldn't he? I mean, could what he had said to me the night before just been a line? But Patrick isn't like that. I was playing ping-pong in my brain...the ball was our relationship being whacked back and forth, yet I was both players doing the whacking.
It was supposed to be chilly that night with a chance of rain, but we had still planned to go uptown to a nice dinner at a little French restaurant and hopefully enjoy the romantic ambiance emulated along the night-lit streets of Charlotte. When Patrick picked me up, I was still a little in the dumps and I think he was getting a little frustrated by my reaction to his "schpeel" the night before. He told me that I was going to enjoy the evening, so just relax ("so...did that mean that he could possibly propose?" asked ping-pong player #1).
We headed off to Freedom Park first for a stroll around the pond. It was the first time I had been there and it was pretty crowded with runners, walkers, dogs and SCORES of geese (leaving behind their trail of poo we had to dodge). BUT, it was really nice. We ended up sitting on a bench watching people walk by while the sun was setting (a seemingly perfect time for an engagement to occur, thought #1). Patrick suggested that we go ahead an leave for our dinner before it got to late, so we got in the car and headed to the restaurant ("he's not going to commit...this is so lousy!, thought #2).
Before dinner, Patrick suggested we enjoy a coffee. How nice! So, we went to the Starbucks across from the Blumenthal Theatre, ordered coffee, and sat out by the waterfall infront of Bistro 100. The sun had set, the water sounded nice, the street lights were bright...a perfect time for us to enjoy the evening sipping some joe. Again, nice moment for a...well, I won't go there again because it was time for us to go eat dinner.
Patrick took me to a quaint French restaurant called Bijioux. It was located near Capital Grille uptown, but has since closed it's doors and is now another fine dining establishment. We had a table upstairs in a back corner away from all the other couples enjoying their meals. It was private and secluded and would, again, be a perfect spot for a couple to discuss serious topics in life without the intrusion of a stranger's listening ear. We had a nice meal, though conversation was strained and close to nothing. I'm sure I didn't help at all, because I was still holding a chip on my shoulder from the night before and the one side of my brain that was still hoping for a ring was loosing badly to the other. Our meal was good, the bill came, and it was over.
As we walked out of the restaurant, it started raining...one of those cold rains that will chill a person to the bone. As we started walking in the direction of the car, Patrick casually asked me if I wanted to walk around for a bit. Oh, yeah...in 40 degree weather in the rain? That sounded perfectly lovely. "Sure, I guess", I hestiantly replied. We walked down to the corner of Trade and Tryon and went over to the beautiful waterfall that is near the center city clock. I was shivering a bit and was wondering why we weren't headed to the car, since I was pretty cold and wet. But, the waterfall was really pretty at night all lit up. Patrick stopped me and gave me a hug. He said to me "Melanie, I love you." And then he pulled away from me.
He loved me? He was running out of time, didn't he know? I had a plan, a life, a future to think about. Did he still want me to wait around? And as I was whacking these thoughts around, I almost didn't see him drop on his knee. I think the sparkle of the diamond caught my eye and made me focus on the question he was asking me. "Will you marry me?" WHAT?!?!?!?!?
I think I stared at him for about 5 seconds not knowing what to do. He was holding out this beautiful ring, offering it to me, and letting me know he was ready to commit. Why did I fear? Why did I potentially ruin this night because of my unthoughtfulness and controlling attitude? Patrick had known all along and my pestering questions the night before caused him to think fast to somehow get me to not think about us and our future. I'm sure I put him through a lot too. But, I'm so glad that God kept my act in check because it started as one of the worst days, but ended up being one of the best days of my life.
4 years ago today, I said yes to marry the man God had selected for me.