The day I “proposed” to Megan.

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Jason and Megan, 2008

I never gave Megan an engagement ring or technically asked her to marry me.

When I worked for the Sheriff’s department, Megan found a ring she liked and called me at work. The ring was on sale because the store was going out of business. The store was open for one more day…for 8 hours in the middle of my 12-hour shift. I couldn’t come see the ring or buy it for her out of custom. Either she bought, it or waited for another she liked.

Megan assured me:

  1. We could afford the ring.
  2. She liked it.
  3. She had no misgivings.

Mobile phones don’t work inside Orange County Jail (Hillsborough). Calls from the Missus were taken at the front desk, a huge office separated into “behind” and “out front” by huge metal bars — the same ones that demarcated cells. The room was part office, part break room for everyone working “up top” (the front half of the jail).

My half of the conversation was plainly audible.

After hanging up, I turned to my fellow officers and said, “Guess I’m getting married.”

It may seem strange that I’ve never proposed; I’m a romantic guy. Megan’s romantic too, she’s just expedient and decisive. She doesn’t hedge, vacillate or hesitate. Not about big things. What to make for dinner? That can take hours of careful deliberation. (I’m no help.)

Engagement rings, though? “I’ll take that one.” I wonder who the clerk thought Megan would propose to; we lived in Chapel Hill at the time. Megan’s choice cost about a fifth what I’d planned to spend, though I had no idea how I’d save that much on a Detention Officer’s salary. Megan’s boldness saved me months of anguish.

Knowledge that we’d marry was a foregone conclusion. That we were demonstrably perfect for each other was apparent to all but Megan even before we dated.

On our wedding day, we’d known each other five years. The day of my proposal, we’d been dating three weeks.

I didn’t buy jewelry. I didn’t get down on one knee. I didn’t ask permission for anything. I didn’t use words like “marriage,” “forever” or “honor.” I made a simple promise that I stand by today:

As long as you want me, I’ll be here. I’ll do whatever you need.

A week later, Megan made the same promise to me. Everything since has been a delicious formality.

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