It had been coming for months.
Some of you might say years, at least a couple.
Our American and I decided in May it was time to move forward with our relationship. And last Tuesday — a sweltering hot Tuesday in Spokane, Wash. — we put our heads together and filled out all the forms necessary to start an I-129F visa application.
All the forms necessary for me to become an American.
All the forms necessary for me to become his wife.
In a backwards way — and what Our American calls the least romantic engagement process ever — we wrote Fiance(e) Letters of Intent to inform the U.S. government that, yes, we intend to marry within 90 days of my visa approval and entry into the States.
And so, there we were shopping for rings on Thursday night. I selected a beautiful princess cut diamond with baguettes and matching wedding band.
The salesman congratulated us on the way out the door.
I said — just as we’ve come to joke around for the past few months — “oh but he hasn’t asked yet.”
To which Our American replied on point, “And she hasn’t said yes yet.”
It gets romantic
He was intent on making this as romantic for me as he could.
We went for dinner that night and took Shep to the churchyard in our neighbourhood. I almost thought he might do it then. My heart sank a little when we headed for home.
The plan was for me to head back to Canada on Monday. I have to be in the country to be eligible for my government paycheque, registering for Employment Insurance a couple of weeks ago.
Time was short but my hopes were high.
He took a vacation day from work on Friday and the plan was to visit his mom in Coeur d’Alene and then take Shep for a short hike on Tubbs Hill. His mom wasn’t feeling well, though, and the visit was cancelled.
His concern for his mom weighed on his mind as we made our way to Tubbs Hill. He grumbled at the parking fee we had to pay at the new lakeside park, a development that wiped out the diamonds where he grew up playing ball.
He fretted over Shep along the trail, worrying over his age and sore back.
Shep, ever the determined explorer, rose to each rock, root and challenge along the way … just as you knew he would.
The trail was busy with people looking for places to cool off. Families wound their way along the trail, teenagers yelped as they leaped off the rocks into the calm lake waters below.
We came upon the beach where we rested the first time we did this hike not much more than three years ago, right after Shep and I started coming to Spokane to visit Our American. The waters were rough at this little cove, thanks to the boats and jetskis that blasted by a few hundred feet off shore.
People were sunning and splashing and swimming.
And I was clicking away with my shutter release button while Shep fought the waves to cool down in the water.
Our American suggested we try elsewhere. Just on the other side of the rocky point is another beach.
There was no one there and the waters were more calm.
Shep headed straight for the water and laid down, knowing he didn’t have to dig his claws into the sand and hang on for dear life.
I snapped a few more pictures and moved to sit down next to Our American on a log.
I started to say something.
Ask a question.
“Do you think we should …”
I turned and he was holding the ring, my beautiful ring, and said “get married?”
He finally asked.
And I finally said yes.
It was the most romantic moment of my life.