24619 reads
Posted by Tim on Nov 28, 2005
On Bended Knee

Note: When we last left you, Jessica had signed off with a bit of a cliffhanger, promising to tell "in our very next post" the story of one of the most amazing experiences we've had on our trip.

That post is still forthcoming, never fear. But first, we'd like to break into our regularly scheduled programming with this special announcement...

Jessica and I made each other a promise before we left home: we both agreed that I shouldn't propose to her during our trip. For one thing, we were worried that an otherwise exceptionally romantic and special night somewhere could be tinged with disappointment if it didn't end in a proposal. For another, there is absolutely nowhere I could have hidden a ring: on a trip like this, you come to know each others' luggage inside and out. So we promised.

It was a promise I never ever intended to keep.

The Second Birthday

Each year, Jessica gets to celebrate her birthday twice. On October 6th, her actual birthday, we celebrate with friends. And then the following day we celebrate her birthday again, this time just the two of us.

This year, because we were in England visiting friends, we pushed back our private celebration of her birthday, planning on doing it when we got to Istanbul.

And then I started stalling.

I had in fact planned from the beginning to propose to her on her birthday. It was the one day that I could go through all sorts of special secret preparations without her wondering why. And because I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect, I kept pushing it back. Further, and further, and further... until everything was right. Until Saturday, November 26th.


She loves candles. From time to time during our trip, we've had a few candles with us, for those times when we just wanted to make everything feel that much more cosy and special. I like to surprise her by lighting them whenever she's especially down: candles always seem to make her smile.

I wanted the night to start with more candles than she'd ever had before.

By a stroke of luck, I'd noticed packs of tea lights when we were at the supermarket: 6-packs, 12-packs, 20-packs, and even 50-packs. One night, on the pretense of going to the internet cafe, I'd snuck out and bought one of the 50-packs. Then, thinking about it, I bought a second 50-pack.

And then a third.

On November 26th, we walked home from a delightful dinner at the charming little English pub we've become quite attached to. I made her wait outside in the hall for a moment (well, perhaps a touch longer than a moment) and ran inside to get everything ready.

When I opened the door for her, a little path lit by lit candles led her out to the balcony. There, dozens and dozens more illuminated a table set with a collection of little munchies, and three birthday presents.

The Ring

The ring was tricky.

I couldn't hide one on me before we left, without taking the risk of her discovering it. I couldn't buy one while we were on the road: we know each others' bank accounts just as well as we know each others' backpacks, and for a ring to be worthy of this purpose it would be far too expensive to escape notice. And most importantly, we're trying to travel without anything irreplaceable. Something as important and special as an engagement ring would be far too devastating to lose or have stolen.

All the same, though, I knew I could never propose without a ring. It was months before I figured out what to do.

The Big Moment

It was without a doubt the most important moment of my life. Every detail is etched forever into my memory, and there is far, far too much to try and relate here. There isn't space, for instance, to describe her presents: it is enough to say that, step by step, they led the two of us towards what was coming without ever making her aware of what was happening.

I had solved the riddle of the ring. There's a ring we bought together in Argentina that she always, always wears. With some help from her final present, I got it from her without her realizing what was happening. I placed the ring into a very special box, told her I was going to perform some magic, and asked for her help.

When we opened the box again, I asked her if she could see what had happened. She shook her head, staring at the ring uncomprehendingly. I told her that the magic had changed the ring, that together she and I had changed it into... something else. I was holding the ring, still in the box, and slipped down onto one knee without her even realizing.

I told her that I loved her. I told her that I wanted the two of us to be together for the rest of our lives.

I told her that was why, the night before, I'd slipped away while she slept and called her father from the hotel lobby. To ask him for his blessing.

Realization flooded across her face, and tears began streaming down her cheeks.

I told her that there was a magic in the ring now, and that when we got home we would draw it out, and put it into another ring... one with a diamond. I told her that if anything ever happened to this ring before that, that would be ok, because we could put the magic into another ring.

My goal had always been to take her entirely by surprise. In this, I was more successful than I could have hoped. She was almost in a daze, blinking and asking for reassurance that I was serious. Her cheeks were tear-stained, her eyes were wide, her lips were trembling.

I told her that she was the most wonderful thing that had ever, ever happened to me. I told her I couldn't remember my life before her, and I couldn't imagine my life without her. My heart was pounding between my ears, and my throat was getting tight.

Everything that has come to pass in my life, good and bad, has led to this. Every single choice I've ever made, including all those I may have regretted at some point, every single one has led me here. To this.

"Jessica Danielle McHugh," I asked, my voice breaking, "will you marry me?"

She stood, her eyes alight behind fresh tears, and she placed her hands on either side of my face. "Yes," she whispered, "oh yes, my best beloved. Yes."

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these ones:

Home Again After our Honeymoon!

Home Again After our Honeymoon!

Curling Up With a Book

Curling Up With a Book

Thankful in Turkey

Thankful in Turkey

Jessica the hedgehog
November 28, 2005 at 10:48am
Yea! :) :) :) :)

Just in case anyone is wondering, we haven't set a date yet. But we're guessing it'll be sometime in 2007! :)

Yea! :) :) :) :)

November 28, 2005 at 11:20am
You two are trying to make me cry, aren't you? :D


November 28, 2005 at 11:31am
OK – not fair – tears in the eyes at work is not a good thing – excellent post :D CONGRATULATIONS! Thanks so much for sharing the good news. You guys are too darn cute! Nice to know romance of that proportion is still alive & kicking out there. Enjoy!

P.S. – We'll try to keep the work coming now that we know saving for a wedding is in the works!

Koreen (Amie's sister)
November 28, 2005 at 11:35am
I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! HA!

Congratulations to both of you--I am so unbelievably happy for you!

November 28, 2005 at 11:41am
A very special post is that like a very special ER
November 28, 2005 at 11:44am
I am so happy for you! Congratulations!
Leigh Ann Schafer
November 28, 2005 at 11:49am
Oh God, I am so happy for you two! Congratulations on all of your new beginnings!

Leigh Ann

November 28, 2005 at 11:50am
Oh that was a little "G" lol anyway Timmmy VERY VERY clever with the Whole Magic Ring thing…because if it gets lost OH MY…
Poetic Furry
November 28, 2005 at 11:50am
*Simp, simp, simpy, simp* YEA, I finally got another sister! (Doing manic happy dance) Uh oh, do I have to wear a dress to the wedding, and does it have to be pink? (doing a rendition of Munch's scream cuz I hate dresses especially pink ones) Anyway, congratulations I'm so extrmely happy for both of you. So, when's the party? You know I love a good party… Oh, do I have to bring a date to this thing cuz I'm still annoyingly single. ;)
November 28, 2005 at 11:50am
Right before you left I told Pete that I thought you might come back from this whole thing engaged. I am *so* good.

::wandering off to be smug and happy for the both of you::

Paul Reiss
November 28, 2005 at 11:57am
eyes filled with tears
soul with joy

November 28, 2005 at 12:24pm
*chanting to herself: "There's no crying at the office…there's no crying at the office…*

Beautiful, beautiful proposal, Tim. The written account alone made me mist up.

Congratulations to the both of you!

Peter, Uncle
November 28, 2005 at 12:27pm
Congratulations Tim!
Jessica, I guess you could not really say NO under the circumstances! But that's ok as it is clearly meant to be.
May the magic continue!
November 28, 2005 at 12:27pm
Congratulations, guys!
November 28, 2005 at 12:37pm
November 28, 2005 at 1:09pm
Wow, that's awesome. Congratulations you guys. Tim, I never believed you when you told all of US that you wouldn't get engaged while away.

BTW, with all the fun, adventure, and romance you two are having we're all wondering if you're ever going to come back! Every time an AXIOM'er doles out a little freelance work your way we shout, "Stop being an enabler!"


November 28, 2005 at 1:14pm
Oh! I cried, reading this. You two are so lovely together, such beautiful souls. I'm so happy for you!
November 28, 2005 at 1:38pm
Absolutely PERFECT! Congratulations.

(I'm sure you're coming up with specTACULAR ideas of places to get married, as well, on your travels?!)

Happy Holidays to you both.

November 28, 2005 at 1:51pm
awww! Congratulations! That is awesome!
November 28, 2005 at 1:52pm

Best proposal ever! I'm all sniffy now! Congratulations!

caroline noble
November 28, 2005 at 3:01pm
You two made me cry!

Feel smiley, giddy and full of love,

So happy, so meant to be,

Much love and big squeezy hugs,

November 28, 2005 at 3:09pm
That was truly romantic, and it couldn't happen to two nicer people. Congratulations to you both!
November 28, 2005 at 3:19pm
Magical on ALL accounts. Congrats you two. Now pass the tissues!
Juno the incredibly pregnant and r
November 28, 2005 at 3:25pm
CONGRATULATIONS YOU TWO! I could see THAT coming a mile away. It's obvious to all that you're meant for each other. How romantic are you TimTim? *swoon*
Carried away
November 28, 2005 at 3:58pm
Oh wow!, if that's not the most wonderful, romantic, sweetest story ever. I had tears in my eyes and a big goofy smile the whole time. I'm so, so happy for you two!


November 28, 2005 at 7:24pm
Congratulations Jessica and Tim. I am so happy for the both of you.

I look forward to hearing more and more of your wonderful and exotic travels. :)

November 28, 2005 at 8:11pm
Congratulations! :) I am so happy for you! :)
angry amy
November 28, 2005 at 8:24pm
you guys. now i am all choked up. i love you both. you are so incredibly blessed.
November 28, 2005 at 10:37pm
Congratulations, Mom…Do I get to be a flower girl? Marmalade wants to be one too! We both love and miss you two.
China and Marmalade
Amber (Tim's Cat)
November 29, 2005 at 12:29am
I want to be the flower girl! Just because I have kidney disease doesn't mean I'm not going to live until after the wedding! Aunt Maggie will see to that! *MEOW!* :(
November 29, 2005 at 3:05am
i'm grinning from ear to ear, just reading this account. congratulations to both of you, may you always cherish each other the way you do now. special people! so much love to both of you.
Bex Eakins
November 29, 2005 at 8:26am
Congratulations, what a wonderful story and so well written!

You are both so perfect together, be happy for ever just like Andy and I…

We will be waiting for our wedding invite with bated breath!

Loads of love, Bex xxx

Andy Eakins
November 29, 2005 at 8:52am
Jess…“oh yes, my best beloved. Yes.” is the perfect answer, to a perfect question !

(Bex, if you ever read this…'yeah, I suppose so' was NOT the perfect answer !)

But seriously Jess and Tim, I wish you all the happiness in the world, for now and forever !

November 29, 2005 at 9:11am
Just flicked on LJ for the first time in months, and wondered how you were doing!

Awwww Congratulations to you both!

What a wonderfully gooey write up!

Bless you two!

Elisa xx

November 29, 2005 at 9:19am
Ah…China will be the only cat at the wedding as she will assassinate any other cat that gets in her way…"MEOW"
other jess
November 29, 2005 at 1:53pm
Hey, I didn't know Jess' middle name was Danielle.

Congratulations. This is one of those wonderful things that is both unexpected and completely expected. I read this entry this morning and had to jump up and down for a little while to express happiness. You guys keep on happying.


whit and bonnie
November 29, 2005 at 3:31pm
We are so happy for you both! Last night, travelling through the environs of Columbus, Ohio. we toasted your happiness at Max & Erma's!
The Godparents
Mouse and Meg
November 29, 2005 at 6:59pm
What a wonderful, wonderful thing!
SUCH happy news!
We were thrilled to be visiting the "clan" in MD over Thanksgiving, when we heard the news and could celebrate with everyone. Wishing you both Magic always in your life together.
Cath, Paul, Sarah and Elizabeth
November 29, 2005 at 9:04pm
Congratulations, Tim and Jessica! Jessica, we knew from the first moment we met you that you were "the one." We are so very happy for both of you!

Cath, Paul, Sarah and Elizabeth

Gemma and Stu
November 30, 2005 at 2:15am
YOu guys are so beautiful we love you so so much congratulations to you both and you really are so perfect for each other and well, YOur just great and lovely and wonderful and amazing.
Love you both lots and lots

Gemma and Stu

Muff, Phil and Rachel
November 30, 2005 at 4:52pm
How wonderful! We are all thrilled for you. Your room is ready for your next visit, on your honeymoon perhaps!

Lots and lotsa love,

Muff, Phil, Rachel, Petal, Sandy and Rufus!

November 30, 2005 at 7:59pm
Tim is sooo romantic! Even I am envious.
Welcome to the family Jessica.
Love you both
cousin rob
December 1, 2005 at 10:27am
Well congratulations and all that, I haven't met Jessica yet, but having followed your blog a bit, it certainly seemed to me that two souls had met their other half. So I don't really need to wish you all the best (as that is happening already) but I'll think it all the same.

cousin rob from switzerland

December 1, 2005 at 6:15pm
You guys are beautiful. Congratulations and all of my love to you both.
JP and Marguerite
December 2, 2005 at 6:34am
A big congratulations to both of ye!

I'm really happy to hear the news and wish ye many years of happiness! I must admit that the candles were a really nice touch.

I hope we told you already but myself and Marguerite got engaged just before we got home September. I failed on the candles side of things but it was pretty special all the same.

All the best for now.

The other Tim
December 3, 2005 at 11:04pm
So does Pig sit on the bride's side or the groom's side of the church?

Or is he gonna be best pig?

December 4, 2005 at 5:41am
Yeah.. Jenn was right.. Reading this made me cry.

Thats one wedding I won't be missing. Congrats guys

December 4, 2005 at 10:46pm
you two know how to make my eyes water and thanks again for the phone call love woof meow chirp and binkies ps for all who might be wondering what is a binkie is i'll clear this up as i close my post at times with this, it's a great big bunny flop that bunnies make when they land on thier sides. now that done keep having fun and be safe miss you both dad
December 7, 2005 at 8:25am
Hi, someone told me about your travel blog yesterday and I think your adventure is really amazing. I've enjoyed reading your posts and looking at pictures. I'm leaving in two weeks to go to Thailand and Cambodia, so I'll be interested to read about your experiences of it. I'll only be there for three weeks and then back home, but I really want to do an around the world trip in a few years. Thanks for sharing all your experiences and inspiring me to want to visit countries I hadn't considered before. And congratulations.
December 9, 2005 at 10:25pm
Late on the congratulations but no less enthusiastic. Loved you like a daughter and now I have a pretend son-in-law. My how my family grows.
Once the wheel of love is set in motion there is no absolute rule. Guide each other and do not lead but walk hand in hand; for in sharing there is love and wisdom.
December 12, 2005 at 5:17am
you don't know me, but you brought tears to my eyes as this was the first of your posts that I read. Bravo, good job. Every girl could wish for something so perfect.
Jen Simcoe
December 15, 2005 at 11:25am
Beautiful… Congrats :)

I pop on to your site every now and then to read about your adventures and day dream a little. I love that you're living out your dreams!

December 20, 2005 at 11:05pm
I am soooo happy for you!
April 16, 2006 at 2:21am
SUPER HAPPY CONGRATULATIONS! I got all teary and smiley reading about your proposal. What a wonderful story!
October 6, 2013 at 2:00pm
Goos pimples and tears!
Just beautiful x

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