My friend C.J. had the perfect proposal planned for his girlfriend, Michelle.
Moved by the beauty of Christmas Eve Mass, Michelle would be a holiday vision as they exchanged gifts under the tree. First she would open the outfit he had carefully selected followed by a sparkling engagement ring surprise.
Christmas bells rang throughout the slumbering city while C.J. and Michelle shuffled to the car. He smiled to himself all the way to her house as he set his plan into motion.
“Let’s exchange presents when we get home,” he calmly suggested, “so we can sleep in a little longer before we roll out tomorrow.”
“I don’t know, C.J.,” she countered, “I’m really tired.”
C.J. should have expected parts of his plan to be met with some degree of resistance, as the clock was ticking away to midnight and Michelle was worn out from a week of business trips.
But C.J. kept his cool and continued to make his case.
“Yeah, me too,” he briefly conceded. “But I know tomorrow morning is going to be crazy loading food and our families’ gifts into the car. I really think we should just do it tonight.”
Michelle considered his point for a moment before agreeing, unwittingly placing herself one step closer to the altar.
They arrived at Michelle’s house where C.J. offered to take her new puppy out. He stood on Michelle’s front porch, inhaling the chilly night air with eager anticipation of the moment he had waited for all of his life. He would present her the ring and drop to one knee; she, still dressed to the nines and radiant from the season, would leap into his arms with a resounding, “Yes! Yes, I will marry you!”
He walked back into the house ready to start a new chapter in their lives and watched as his future bride emerged from her bedroom … dressed now in an old, blue T-shirt and magenta sweatpants, her hair piled into a ponytail atop her head.
The vision made him gasp — choke a little, maybe — but it did not dampen his resolve.
Neither did Michelle’s lack of enthusiasm about the blouse he had bought her, one they would later compare to Seinfeld’s infamous puffy-sleeved shirt.
No, C.J. pressed on with his plan, presenting Michelle with a dazzling diamond engagement ring, much to her surprise, and speaking not what was on his mind (“What’s up with the magenta sweatpants?”), but what was in his heart (“You are beautiful, even in magenta sweatpants”).
This weekend, the happy nearly-weds will travel from their hometown of Wichita to Lawrence, their wedding destination of choice, to seal their union far above the golden valley while the carillon bells of the nearby Campanile ring throughout our city.
Michelle has put away the magenta sweatpants, promising to step it up a little more for the wedding than she did for their engagement, but I have a feeling C.J. is not concerned, as long as, in the end, he gets to kiss his bride.