On Good Friday many years ago, Gwen and I bought her engagement ring, and then visited a favorite restaurant afterward. The following excerpt from the book, Thirteen Months is the account from that day.
We had found the ring early in the morning, and I spent all that I had on it, which wasn’t much. It wasn’t very big, but to her it was the “Great Star of Africa.”
After we bought it, we went to have brunch at Perkins Pancake House near where we lived in New Jersey. As we waited for our food to come (waffles and pancakes of course) Gwen stared at the ring on her finger.
“Don, this is the most beautiful ring I have ever seen.”
She didn’t look up as she held her hand outstretched in front of her, fingers fully extended, trying catch the light from the window just so.
“Baby, I wish it could be a bigger stone, but someday …”
“I don’t want a bigger stone, I want this stone—it’s beautiful.”
She looked up this time and gave me a smile that melted me. Just then our waitress stopped, having noticed the way Gwen was modeling her new jewelry.
“Oh my, let me look at that. Ooh, that’s just beautiful, look at that, ooh.”
They acted like I wasn’t sitting there.
“That man must love you, girl. That ring is beautiful!”
There was a girl thing going on, and I was not necessary. They held the ring at countless angles to get every perspective possible as Gwen continued to beam. The waitress finally left to check on our food, giving Gwen one last wink.
“Don, we’re going to be married …” her words trailed off as she looked at me in bewilderment. “Married …” Her eyes began to fill with tears. “I am going to be your wife, and we are going to have our own family.”
There was no fear in her voice; she was simply marveling at what lie ahead.
“I will do my best for us. I will support us, but it will be a while before I am even in medical school. Are you okay with all of that?”
I knew she was, she had told me so many times, but now we were engaged.
“I know you will. And we will do just fine. What are our lives going to be like, do you think? Are we going to have children? What if God doesn’t let us have kids? How long do we wait to have them? What if I’m not a good mother?”
She stopped abruptly as she saw the smile on my face. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?” She gave a little grin, enjoying the thrill of the future and its possibilities. “Do you think I’m being silly?”
“No, I do not think you’re being silly, I think you are being adorable.” I couldn’t take my eyes off her. “I could not be happier than I am at this moment. I am going to marry the most beautiful woman on earth—you are going to be my wife.”
Our eyes met as the waitress placed our waffles in front of us. Gwen took my hand as we prayed, but I saw her peeking at her ring.