I'm a lucky man. Real lucky. I have had an amazing 30 years on this planet and going into my 31st I really couldn't have asked for anything more. Without giving my whole life story I'll pick up from the beginning of our story together.
I had just finished a couple year stint as a poker player. Online poker was being banned in the US, and after trying to sustain a living playing live poker, I decided to leave the game, free of my student loans, and with enough money to get started with my next adventure. I wound up in a "temporary" job as a dish washer. I viewed it as a chance to work with one of my best friends and get some cash flow as I sorted my life out. My friend moved on to a much better job and I stayed and worked my way up through basically every position at the place up until a couple years ago when I moved into upper management.
Along the way, I happened upon the love of my life. A young server there decided that Jessica and I were a match and decided it would be fun to tell each of us over a period of a few days that we each liked each other very much and were too shy to say anything. I finally took the bait and asked her out. We had a wonderful day at the beach and I asked her to come to a Phish show with me in a couple weeks. She had never been to a Phish show but immediately jumped at the chance, even though it would eventually involve me picking her up from the airport and racing for hours to make it to the show. We had an absolute blast and knew we had a special connection.
After months more of hanging out, we went to another concert, Further. Now, feeling like a power couple, armed with 5th row tickets, Jessica decided her entrance was the ultimate time for her to shine. She danced her way down the row with more excitement than I've ever witnessed in another human being in all of my life. Unfortunately, she was introduced to the row of seats in front of her and in all of her excitement tripped and fell and made a huge thud. The whole arena literally gasped, I ran over, picked her up as security tried to sweep in, and the crowd erupted when she stood up, hands raised, smiling. Mind you, we had not been drinking or participating in any other substances floating around, she was just high on life maaaan.
Later that night, she said at that moment she realized how much we loved each other as she said she would have felt horrified and embarrassed had that happened at any other time in her life, but she said she felt totally safe and happy with me as I picked her up.
Over the months following that night, we grew closer than I could have ever imagined in such a short period of time. We said early on that any real relationship requires complete honesty to be authentic. We made that our bedrock and build on top of that every day. We are curious, empathetic, engaging, and consistently grow together. We never fight, because we resolve our arguments before they ever happen, through open discussions about everything. We aren't afraid to learn. We aren't afraid to be humble. We aren't afraid to try new things.
This mindset pushed us to do what we want in life. Jessica left the restaurant, became a yoga teacher and landed an amazing job doing what she loves to do. I have become dedicated to Bitcoin and am actively trying to secure an amazing future for us, by working hard and hoarding however I can. I also have "converted" numerous people who are quite happy to have listened to me.
Just last year, a month before our 4 year anniversary as a couple, I decided it was time for the next big step. A year earlier I had asked my mom for a family ring that my great aunt had handed down to her. She told me as a kid that if I ever found the love of my life, she'd give it to me without question. I came down to visit, got the ring, and within hours of leaving I was getting texts from all sorts of family asking when I was popping the question. I had to deal with this for a year.
Why did I wait? We had planned an amazing trip to Puerto Rico for our 4 year anniversary, so I felt it would be the perfect time to propose. I just wanted to get my hands on the ring ASAP so I could mentally process it. As we got closer, I realized that was way too predictable and literally started having nightmares about proposing on the beach and losing the ring in the sand. I figured I needed to be sneakier and safer than this.
That summer, we went to Phish's Magnaball, which was one of the best musical experiences of my life, where I came up with a great idea one of the nights there. I decided I'd set up a fun weekend getaway to Vermont, where I went to college. I thought it would be so cool to go back to Vermont in the fall, spend a couple days showing her my old stomping grounds, taking her to all the fun places around town, while connecting with a part of me she never lived through. I booked a reservation at the nicest restaurant in Burlington (Hen of the Wood), booked the best hotel on the water, and told her I planned a fun getaway.
A couple weeks before we leave, I moved the ring to my desk drawer in a little fabric pouch. I worried that I'd forget it if I left it in my safe, because these are the crazy things you think when going through this process. Wouldn't you know, Jessica needed scissors that were in the drawer and said "hey cool pouch! What is it?" I leaped out of bed, jumped across the room and said, "uhh nothing, don't touch my...stash!" She looked confused, put it back and asked what I was taking with a concerned look on her face. I laughed and said I was just kidding it's a fun pouch I found, it's nothing. (I asked her afterwards if she knew that she actually had her hands on the ring weeks earlier and she said she had no idea and totally bought my whole "act" which is amazing because it was terrible.)
We set off on our three plus hour drive to Burlington. I am nervous and paranoid that she knows already, or that I'm going to fuck something up. Again, she is completely oblivious and continues to think that I am acting totally normal. After stomping around Burlington and getting my mind off of things by reconnecting with my past, we head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
When we arrive at the Hen, I scour the drink menu and start waves of the best martinis I've ever had in my life. The food is amazing and Jessica comments on how much I've had to drink, since I hardly ever drink. Normally I would be hammered, I had like 8 huge martinis between the hotel and the restaurant but I was stone cold sober, didn't feel a thing, and I certainly didn't feel any less nervous. We head off and my plans are seemingly working perfectly.
Once outside, I mention what a beautiful night it is and how wonderful it would be to go down by Lake Champlain to take it all in. She says, "that sounds awesome! Great! Let's head back to the hotel so I can get my sweats on." My inner eyes roll and my teeth grind as we take the elevator up in nice dress clothes and take it back down in sweatpants.
We walk a couple hundred feet down to the lake, and look out with the stars above twinkling down on the lake. Our sweats flutter a bit in the light breeze. The boardwalk is surprisingly empty and I take us out to where the boardwalk opens up a bit towards the water with benches. I take her hand, look her in the eye, and say one of the most heartfelt speeches I ever spoke. It came right from the heart and I was so emotional I could never recite any of it, except for the last part. I asked her "will you join me in this journey of life?" I pulled the ring out and her first reaction was an incredulous "Noooo. Nooooooo." My heart immediately sank for a split second, until she erupted with joy screaming "YESSS!!!" (I still give her a hard time about how she nearly gave me a heart attack by choosing "no" for the first words to come out of her mouth, but she says it's because she was so caught off guard and had no idea it was coming.)
I did it! I pulled off the unexpected, year-in-advance planned, perfect proposal. A month later we left for Puerto Rico and had one of the best vacations of our lives driving around the island and meeting so many wonderful people and experiencing so many new and amazing things.
Upon arriving home from the trip, we got a rescue puppy. Little Harold instantly became a part of our family and our home is even warmer than it was before before with him in our lives.
Weeks later, we went to Phish's New Year's Eve concert. It was the perfect way to cap off an amazing 2015.
Thanks for reading our story and we look forward to sharing our next adventures with you all here on steemit! We love you all! :)