The Proposal & The Aftertaste:

We sat on a bench in our favorite not-so-secret secret garden in Queen Anne, enjoying the sun. He said casually, “Oh I finally did some modeling for Zulily, I’ll show you.” Surprised and genuinely interested I began scrolling slowly, per his directions, to find the photo of him. He told me it would be subtle. It was not. A large, grinning Tyler with a sign in his hands that said, “Chelsey, will you marry me?” The caption read, “I do—Do you? The deal of a lifetime.” I thought it was a joke and then I knew it wasn’t. I think I blacked out. Then he was on his knee with the ring asking me to marry him. In my excitement and stupor, I took the ring from him then awkwardly handed it back and asked him to put in on me. I said yes, and yeah I cried a little bit. I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked and without words even though we’ve been discussing this for a while. It was a blur afterwards. My family appeared out of nowhere and that evening I was surrounded by friends, all of whom have helped us along in various ways—encouragers, cheerleaders, shoulders to cry on, prayer warriors, and truth tellers. I must admit, I feel like this stuff is only for adults. And I’m not an adult. But Tyler told me adults don’t exist.

This part is harder to share because I always thought every bit about that day would be happy. From the moment he asked me I felt overwhelmed, awkward, uncomfortable even. I couldn’t put words to it and I was ashamed for having any feelings other than joy and because of that, I was afraid and pensive. I couldn’t hide it. To him I seemed unhappy and dissatisfied with his efforts. It made him wonder if this was all wrong, if I wasn’t ready. This broke his heart and sent us both into a deep sadness that night, a bitter aftertaste. I will never get to remember that day as a completely happy and perfect one, and oh how that shattered my expectations. But life and humans are complicated like that, aren’t they?