Megan and Brad

How We Met

Chad was the love of my life. We planned to get married and often talked about what forever would look like for us. But when Chad was just 34, an incurable blood cancer took him from me. The universe as I knew it stopped.

A few months after Chad died, a high school friend of mine also passed away. A different disease, a different fight, but a similar surrender.

Eva’s service turned in to more of a high school reunion, and I had heard through the grapevine that Brad Watt was going to be there.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that he was the crush of 90% of our graduating class, including me – even though I did my best to hide it as we were friends.

I saw a few people there who I hadn’t seen since Chad’s service. Recognizing the only time I had seen these people in the last 6 months had been at two of my closest ‘people’s’ funerals is a bizarre realization to come to – inevitably causing nothing else but tears and a feeling of being punched in the gut.

I had guessed that he might be at Eva’s service, yet the excitement I had when I saw him was just the same as when we had accidentally run into each other three years earlier.

He was the same as he had always been. Big smile. Big personality. Big energy. “Megan Williams. It has been forever. What have you been doing? Married? Single? Dating? Divorced?”

Ohgod. I foolishly assumed for some reason he might have heard about Chad. He doesn’t have facebook (wtf?), yet I thought a mutual friend might have mentioned something. Ya, foolish assumption.

“Well hey there. Im fine thanks. …as for those questions, I’ll save those answers for another day.” I fiddled around with the ring on my finger that I’d put on when Chad went into the hospital for the last time. Not the day to talk about it…. Or was it?

The conversation continued for a little while longer, with me behaving in a weird and awkward blend of a giggly Grade 11, and a very ‘seasoned’ 25 year old version of myself.’ Anyways, awkward, adult and following the consistency of our past encounters, we agreed to meet and catch up.

It didnt take long. We met up later that night – both of us starting from 3 years ago when we last saw eachother. I told him everything about my last three years with Chad. I told him about the love, the fight, the loss and the love again. He listened to every word, and when I was done, his reaction was not what I expected.

It wasnt sympathy or condolences – the first thing out of his mouth was one I will never forget. “Wow. Megan, (he’s calling me by my first name now?) I did not think the story was going to end like that. HE FOUGHT SO HARD.”

I was instantly proud of Chad. Proud that Chad’s character comes out so clearly, regardless how much information I share about him. His response also made me want to share more. – And that I have.

In the same spirit of sharing, he told me about his daughter, Madison. She was the leading lady of his life, and you could hear his love for her pour out of him as he talked about their days spent swimming and watching Disney.

That was 6 years ago – and while I lost a life and was changed for it, Brad gained a life and was changed for it – and somewhere in the middle, we found each other.

I think my best description of how it feels is like finding an old sleek black dress in the back corner of a closet. A dress you forgot was there – but when you try it on, not only does it look new again – but it fits better than ever.

******

Brad’s memory of our “re-meeting”:

The best way I can describe it when I first saw Megan was that it was like I was struck by lightening. I said to my friend, that so long as she wasn’t engaged or married, she was going to be mine.

"Williams - I love you."

How He Asked

It was like many halloweens before.

Brad and I drove out to Coquitlam to accompany his 8 year old daughter, Madi, and her cousins trick-or-treating. Super heroes, Elsa, a couple really good story book characters, and my favourite – our Zombie Princess – all racing from house to house with no strategic path in place.

After the loot was collected, Madi’s mom, step-dad, Brad and I combed through our Zombie’s candy, divvying up unwanted grown-up gems like Coffee Crisps, Reese’s Pieces and the lonley Bounty bar.

With a few bolts of sugar, we all stood outside watching fireworks that Madi’s uncle puts on. It’s nearly dangerous, always sparkly and quite impressive. As our Zombie Princess slurped on her hot chocolate looking up at the sky, she and Brad practiced the proper pronunciation of Princess Bride quote, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” 

I just stood there, watching her little zombie face trying to perfect a Spanish accent like “Inigo Montoya”, trying to absorb just how cute this was.

The Zombie Princess and her Dad

Anyway – the fireworks ended and Brad pulled us both away from the group.

“Madi and Megan, I want to show you something at the car.”  I knew he didn’t have anything to show us and assumed he just wanted to spend a few minutes alone with Madi before she left to spend the weekend with her Mom.

“What do you have to show us?” Madi asked.

Brad looked at Madi and said, “I think I’m going to do it now.”

The Zombie Princess’ eyes widened, knowing exactly what he meant, “REALLY?!?!?!”

“Do what now? What are you going to do? What are you talking ab…”

Before I could finish my last question, Brad was on one knee, a little white box in hand, and Madi beside him, who had started bouncing up and down.

“Megan Asha Williams, will you marry me?”

Time froze and my eyes darted back and forth between Madi and Brad, realizing what was happening and that this was not a dry run.

“Williams! Say yes!” Brad snapped me out of it. 

“Sorry!… YES. Yes!”

He slipped a skinny, sparkly infinity band (exactly the one I had hoped for) onto my finger and the three of us hugged…and hugged.

Then, as Madi bounced on her toes, she tripped over her words as she revealed she had kept this a secret for the last two months while she and Brad ring shopped, every Wednesday when he picked her up from school. “Does the ring fit you? It’s a size 3.5 but if I doesn’t fit they’ll have to make a new one because they can’t resize it because of the shape.” She beamed with her newly aquired knowledge of wedding rings.

“Yes Bunny, it’s perfect.” I looked down at my hand – shaky with adrenaline and disbelief. It was, they are, “The One.”

Brad says he didn’t know that he was going to do it until 30 seconds before – choosing spontaneity over choreography. And seeing as we were standing behind my car, with a blood splattered zombie with chocolate around her mouth beside us, I believed him.

Sure, it might not have been a carefully scripted plot, but the love I felt from Brad and Madi in those moments contained more romance than anything I could have wished for.

We are so, so happy.

And that, is our little engagement story.

Engaged!

(Not) The End.

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