I was going to lie to her, there was no other rational option… Considering Samira started our dating relationship by playing a little “hard to get” I really should not have been surprised when she picked out an engagement diamond that proved to be a little “hard to find.” As a result the story begins with me telling a lie: I was supposed to be heading to Orlando for the weekend, as I have done for countless weekends during the past two years. This weekend was different though. I was waiting for the “needle in a haystack” (that’s what the jeweler referred to it as) of engagement rings to be completed so I could rush up to Orlando and ask Samira to marry me before she either changed her mind, or her family withdrew their approval because I was taking so long. The ring was supposed to be ready on Friday, but the stone didn’t show up on time, so I told Samira a little lie about why I needed to stay in Jupiter until Saturday. Saturday came and the stone was set, the ring was paid for, and I was on my way to Orlando trying to act frustrated about why I had to stay in Jupiter until Saturday.
I knew Samira had been expecting me to ask her for well over two months, so since she was operating with a high level of suspicion I decided I would need to be especially clandestine with my plan. With that in mind I decided to ask her to marry me on Sunday rather than Saturday. Saturday evening and night came and went slowly -I just wanted Sunday to get here because by this time I was very ready to ask her and I was excited about my plan for doing so. I woke up Sunday morning and decided I would need to dress well for church, but not too well as to create any suspicion on Samira’s part. I also considered shaving, but then decided against it because I rarely shave on the weekends, and I knew that would tip Samira off. I decided instead to trim my three day pseudo-beard since that seemed like a good balance between not arousing suspicion, yet still looking presentable. So off I went to church trying to look like I typically do, only a little more crisp and polished -after all this was a momentous day.
Part of my plan for the engagement required help from a third person so I decided to ask my mom. The plan was: after Samira and I ate at the restaurant we ate at on our first date, we would go for a walk around Lake Eola just like we did on our first date (only this time hopefully there would not be some shady foreign guy walking six inches behind us). As we rounded the lake (if you are familiar with Orlando we would be right by the amphitheater) I would call my mom from my pocket. She would then know to light the candles that were arranged around a little peninsula we had selected as the best place for me to pop the question, as well as place a line of flowers forming a path to the little peninsula. With the plan set my mom and I rushed back to Winter Park to meet Samira and my dad for lunch. We actually managed to beat Samira there (which really isn’t all that surprising) and when Samira walked in I did my best to act calm. I believe at this point Samira saw my trimmed beard and thought to herself “is today the day?” After enjoying a great lunch with my parents, Samira and I decided to head to Home Depot to make some decisions for the house we were in the process of remodeling.
While we were at Home Depot I started making my usual comments about it being close to the time I would need to leave, at the same time I was trying to speed things along because there was a specific time frame when my mom was planning to be at the lake, and Samira and I still needed to have dinner. After we left home Depot Samira suggested that we get some frozen yogurt -she is very good at getting me to stay later than I plan to, and I love her for it (most of the time). I agreed to get some frozen yogurt and then a few minutes later, trying to sound spontaneous, exclaimed that I was hungry and suggested we get some dinner (I knew Samira would go for this because dinner meant more time together than frozen yogurt). I suggested two restaurants one being Dexter’s (the location of our first date) and the second will remain nameless -the only reason I suggested it was I thought their food was not very good so surely Samira would pick Dexter’s. Wrong! To my astonishment, Samira picked the second restaurant so I had to do some quick damage control. I made up some excuse that I couldn’t eat at the second restaurant because their food was not as healthy as Dexter’s -which really isn’t the case but my excuse seemed to work…somewhat.
After our little conversation about the restaurants I thought Samira might be getting suspicious, so I had to be extra careful moving forward. The only problem was we were both in the truck and I had hidden the ring in my truck inside a little makeshift envelope I had made. There we were, both in the truck and I needed to get the ring out without her knowing, and I didn’t have much time because we were about to park. I found a spot where I had to parallel park and asked Samira if she would mind getting out of the truck to make sure I didn’t back into the car behind us. I don’t think I’ve ever asked her to do that before, but she willingly hopped out and as soon as she did I pulled the little envelope out of it’s hiding place and stuffed it in my pocket. It felt so strange to be walking with Samira holding hands, as her engagement ring was just inches away in my pocket.
We had a great dinner at Dexter’s while reminiscing about our first date there and talking about how much our relationship had changed since then. Before we left Dexter’s I went to the restroom to check on the ring to make sure it was still in the envelope, as well as to make sure I would be able to get it out of the envelope when the time came. I also pulled my mom’s number up on the screen of my phone, and then locked the screen so all I had to do when the time came was unlock the screen and hit call. We were running a little behind schedule so I was trying to speed things up while acting relaxed. I remember walking down toward Lake Eola, and as we approached I glanced toward where my mom was supposed to be and noticed that the candles were lit: GAME TIME! We proceeded to walk around the lake like we always do, and as we approached the half way point I called my mom from my pocket. As we were walking I checked my watch and realized we didn’t have much time before we needed to leave Lake Eola in order to make it to Kissimmee where we were going to go after Samira hopefully said yes. The plan was to go on a helicopter ride and watch the Epcot fireworks from the helicopter to celebrate our big night. Samira suggested that we still get frozen yogurt, so I decided this was a good opportunity to speed things up by saying “sure I’ll go, but we have to hurry because it’s getting late and I need to leave soon to drive back to Jupiter.” This seemed to work other than the fact that after a few seconds passed I was walking really, really fast -so fast that Samira was joking around about how fast I was walking. The primary reason I was walking fast was so we didn’t miss our flight, but I’m sure being a little nervous caused me to walk even faster. As we approached the little peninsula, I could see the flowers forming a line leading off the main path. I started picking up the flowers, and I didn’t take long for Samira say “you can’t pick those up: those aren’t your flowers” to which I responded something to the effect of “well no one else is around here, we’ll give them to the person they belong to if we see them” about six or seven flowers into our little walk off the path I looked at Samira and her face told me everything. Samira is a very expressive and enthusiastic person (which I really really enjoy), so I could see the child-like excitement balanced with a look of poised enjoyment (and probably a little relief…) all over her face. I kept picking up flowers until there was a nice bouquet, and then I gave Samira the flowers, dropped down to one knee, said a few words intended only for Samira, pulled out the ring, and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and then started alternating between hugging/squeezing me and exclaiming “this is so exciting” she did this several times and it made me laugh. Did I mention I love her enthusiasm? We snapped a few pictures at Lake Eola, took a few minutes to enjoy what had just happened, and then we were off to Kissimmee for the helicopter ride to cap off the evening.
Since I’m taking the time to write this, I feel that I have earned the right to say whatever I want in this last sentence so here it goes…Samira I love you, thank God for you, and can’t wait to marry you!