Kristy and Jarvis
Originally from Chicago, we moved to Urbana, IL during our undergrad years and never really left. I wanted to propose in Chicago where most of our family and friends were – it’s where our heart is. But I needed a reason to make this random trip to Chicago without Kristy knowing. March 12 was my birthday, and so I told her that my family wanted to celebrate it on the 19th at a fancy country club. Solid alibi – check. Elegant dress – check. Everything was good to go. [11 PM – The Night Before] I was dropping off Kristy at home after watching Beauty and the Beast. As she was about to exit the car, she turns to me and says, “I finally found the engagement ring I want.” Internally, I realize that I successively navigated this past month without ruining the surprise. Externally, I hesitate with a dumbfound look and reply, “Yeah, just pin it to me or something. I’ll look at it later.” [3 PM – The Longest Trip] We started our two hour journey towards Chicago.
I’m not really much of a small talker – I’m that guy who talks about the weather when my mind draws up blanks. It took all the strength in me to scramble for words to steer her away from any engagement or wedding talks. I think we spent a good 30 minutes on what names we could give different pets. [5 PM – Moments Before] We arrived at Rogers Park – the northern most neighborhood of Chicago. I had let Kristy borrow one of my cameras this past year to learn how to take photos, and it wasn’t unusual for us to go on random photo runs. With a couple hours to spare until the “7 PM birthday dinner,” we decided to put our cameras to use.
[5:30PM – The Last People] I checked my phone and it was almost time. As we were taking pictures, a few neighborhood kids stopped us and asked us to take a photo for them. They would be the last people we would see before the proposal.
[6PM – Go Time] It was go time. We walked a block down the street to the location I had scouted in advance. There was a mural underneath a bridge with the words, “You are beautiful,” tagged all over it. Not only did it look aesthetically pleasing, but it was inscribed with the words I wanted Kristy to tightly hold onto. I pretended to be surprised at the bridge and told her I’d record her dancing underneath it. Again, this was nothing out of the ordinary. I handed over my phone saying this was the vibe I was going for. On the phone was a video of my proposal.
[6:05 PM – Nervous Waiting] I setup the camera in the middle of the street and hit record, put the ring in my pocket, and walked over to her. [6:08 PM – Brain Freeze] I had memorized a speech, but all of that flew away. I held her shoulders, and stumbling with my words, “I love you Kristy. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”
[6:10 PM – SHE SAID YES] SHE SAID YES! [6:30 PM – All a Blur] We had some time to spare so we went to Lincoln Park Zoo to take some more photos. Afterwards we met with friends and family at a loft in Lincoln Park. We took photos, ate fried chicken, drank – everything was happening so fast, but inside I was so incredibly happy.