As my relationship with Raymond was slowly hitting the one-year mark the hot topic amongst my friends and I was when he would propose. The initial thought was that he would propose on our trip to Europe and immediately thoughts of what romantic plan might he have concocted for the big question began swirling in our heads. My sister even suggested I find a movie that had a man proposing in Paris to give him ideas! Europe came and went and nothing happened. As disappointed as I was I knew that we had barely reached a full year so there was still so much time.
February of the following year came and once again there was talk that he would propose on Valentine's Day. Since I did not want to be disappointed again I convinced myself that it wouldn't happen. That morning I was preparing to head out to work when I saw a single red rose inside my car with a Valentine's note. A wave of emotions spread over me because he has never given me flowers before. That was enough to make my day, but when I came home from work I found the bottom of the staircase strewn with rose petals and a note inviting me to dinner that evening. Obviously thoughts of a proposal started racing through my head.
Raymond took me to "our" restaurant, the Old Spaghetti Factory, where we had our first official date. Throughout the whole dinner I was waiting for that moment. By the time the check arrived and he was not down on one knee I decided to let it go and accepted that when it happened it would happen. As we were walking out of the restaurant, Raymond asked a nearby couple to take our picture in front of the restaurant's sign. After the picture was taken he asked the couple to take another picture. I asked, "Why do we need to take another picture? What's wrong with that one?" When I turned towards him for an answer he got down on one knee. Within that split second I realized what was going on and immediately burst into tears. All the hopes and dreams that I had held on for so long finally exploded. All I could remember hearing was Raymond saying, "Will you marry me?" and the woman exclaiming, "He's proposing!"
After our first year together, the wedding bug was already lingering in the back of my head. Around that same time we had bought tickets to an Earth, Wind and Fire concert. One of my favorite bands. I had the idea of popping the question during the concert, when they played our song - September. I thought it would be so cool if I could contact the band and get them to call us on stage. Things never panned out, but the wheels were starting to churn to thnk of a creative way to ask Trang.
So, I knew a ring needed to be the first step. I found an online site that allowed me to design a ring. I chose a three stone, white gold ring. A couple of weeks later, I was in Arizona visiting my parents. Trang and I were talking on the phone and the conversation went in the direction of what type of ring she would like. The topic had never really come up before. She described the same exact type of ring. It was kismet. So, when I got back from Arizona, I shopped around and found the perfect ring.
Next on the list was "how should I do this?" I thought Valentime's day was a good choice, it was definitely obvious. But it was November and V-day was three months away. Around that time we were going through some major life changes and pressures were all around. February came quicker than I thought. The day before, I went to the florist and picked a single rose and some rose petals. That night, I snuck into her car and placed the single rose with a note that she would find in the morning. After she left for work, I placed rose petals all around the stairs with another note letting her know that I would be taking her to dinner that night. She would find the second note when she got home from work.
For dinner, I wanted to take her to the Spaghetti Factory in downtown. The restaurant was the site for our first "official" date. My vision for what would happen was to go to dinner and near the end of the meal, I would ask our waiter to take our picture. Right before he takes it I would stop him and take the ring out of my pocket. Get down on one knee and have him take the picture. With the ring in my pocket and a swirl of 'what ifs' in my head we arrived at the Spaghetti Factory. We were told the wait would be an hour. We headed over to the bar to wait. Sitting there, I was thinking, should I get it over with? No, not yet.
The hostess eventually gave us a buzz and we were seated. Seated nearby was group of loud and obnoxious teens. The bread came, the salads came, the main dishes came. Through out the dinner I was looking for opportune times to pull off my "vision" but no time felt right. We were about to get dessert and I was beginning to doubt that the "right" moment was ever going to come. Meanwhile the teens were being warned about their overly disruptive behavior.
The bill came and we got up to leave, my "vision" was gone. Walking out the door, I noticed a couple behind us. As we approached the street, I took a deep breath and revised the "vision." I asked one of them to take our picture in front of the restaurant sign. The gentleman took the first picture and I asked him to take one more. At that moment, I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out the box. This was the moment! Do or die. As soon as I pulled out the small black box, Trang knew what was happening. Her eyes swelled up and the tears started flowing. I got down on one knee and openned the box. From the couple, I could hear the female exclaim, "oh my god - he's proposing." The man took another picture of the moment. I don't think Trang heard me the first time I asked but the head nodding up and down was a good sign. So I stood up, asked her again and she said, "yes." And the rest is history.