Sarah and Bill
How We Met
Bill and I met online in march of 2009. I had reservations about online dating, and had two young kids from my previous relationship, so I wasn’t sure I’d find “the one” at all, let alone from a picture and a paragraph describing myself. I let my cousin talk me in to signing up anyway, and after a week or so I received a message from Bill. He was funny, not creepy, and he made me laugh. His picture was cute, and he seemed polite, so I thought why not? We arranged to meet for drinks on an upcoming Saturday around 7, but instead of arriving at 6:50 and pacing in the parking lot until 7 like I planned, I locked my keys in my car before our date and had to wait three agonizing hours for someone to come get me back into it. Bill was patient and kind, and pushed our date back to 10 pm for me, and still met for a drink. When I saw him outside the restaurant for the first time, I thought he was the handsomest man I’d ever seen in real life. 8 years later, I still think that.
How He Asked
After 8 years of dating, Bill and I were still not engaged, and I had started to think it was never gonna happen. When we planned our trip to Paris for march or this year, everyone thought he was going to propose – except me. My girlfriends and sister would tell me every time I mentioned Paris “you better get your nails done you know he’s going to ask!” And I shrugged it off. I didn’t think he would propose yet at all, and given his low-key nature I really figured he’d opt for a quiet proposal at home, maybe one morning over coffee, or one date-night over dinner. We’d also been to Italy and Hawaii in the past, and I always came back with no ring. Why would Paris be any different? One night before our trip he suggested we hire a photographer. I should’ve been suspicious but his story seemed plausible! He said “we’ve been together so long and we don’t have many really nice photos of us.” Plus we’d both recently lost about 25 pounds each and we’d be in such a beautiful setting, I thought it made sense.
Still was not suspicious at all. One morning as we met for coffee, he opened his phone to look at something and I could’ve swore I saw him looking at engagement ring settings. I called my sister on the way home and she cautioned me not to get my hopes up, just in case. So I didn’t. Finally, we arrived in Paris. I was ready to have an amazing vacation and had been determined not to think about proposals. Our first full day there we had a tour of the Eiffel Tower, and then our photo session, and a dinner boat cruise down the river. All day Bill seemed tense and stressed which is so not like him. I tried to be supportive but finally late morning I just said he had to relax, we were on vacation! He hugged me and said he was sorry, he just wanted everything to be perfect for me. Again, alarm bells should have gone off. Nope. I just thought “why wouldn’t I be happy? We’re in PARIS!” And we went on about our day.
When we arrived at the meeting place for our photo shoot – a beautiful bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower, our photographer was late! Bill started to get so stressed and upset. Again, not like him, but it was cold and windy and we had dinner plans. I had a reason for everything! Finally she showed up and after a quick chat about what we wanted, I walked away to get into position and get started. Bill stayed behind to talk to her and I assumed he was asking why she was 30 minutes late, and didn’t think anything of it. Turns out he whispered to her that he was about to propose and quickly agreed on a code phrase that would be her signal to him that she was ready for him to pop the question.
After chatting with the photographer Bill joined me near the bridge wall, overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and wrapped me up in his arms, and started being very sweet. “Wow!” I thought. “He’s really into these photos!” And then the photographer said “Bill are you excited for dinner?” And he turned to me. “Do you want to hear the French I learned for you?” He asked. Of course! Bill can’t speak French. Or at least before this moment he couldn’t, so I was so happy and surprised when he started speaking French as fluently as any native.
He said a few sentences, of which I only recognized one or two words, so when he was done I said “I don’t know what that meant but I loved it!” Laughing in the cold as he held me and the photographer snapped away. “Do you want to hear it in English?” Of course!
When he started repeating the words in English, with tears welling up in my eyes I started wondering what was happening. My head was spinning as he told me how much he loved me, and suddenly, before I could register what was going on, he dropped to one knee, opening a ring box and said “Will you marry me?” I shrieked. I gasped. I covered my mouth with both hands and said over and over “is this real? Is this really happening??” He confirmed it was and so I said “yes of course I’ll marry you!” He stood up, kissed me and held me to his chest while I cried the happiest tears of my life. It was the happiest and most startling moment I’ve ever experienced. From there we continued around the city with the photographer doing our engagement photos, before boarding our dinner cruise boat to celebrate in front of the glittering Eiffel Tower at night. Still, it all feels like a dream.