For this Christmas, my boyfriend got me something I have always wanted: a “Despicable Me” minion toy.
He also proposed.
We met in late summer, early fall of 2013. After applying to over a hundred other jobs, I finally got a job working the counter in the Sporting Goods and Toy departments at the Sidney Walmart. I suspect that I got that job selling guns and ammunition because my name is “Sam” and many people think that I am boy.
“Sam? Is that short for Samantha?”
I get that question a lot, mostly from people over the age of 45. Nobody ever seems to go up to a boy named “Sam” and say, “Sam? Is that short for Samuel?”
After I was hired, I learned the Sporting Goods counter was only a couple yards away from Tire and Lube Express Center, where this future boyfriend of mine worked.
I did not go into that job looking for a boyfriend. I went into that job looking for a paycheck to cover my student loans until I could find a full-time position, hopefully even using my degree in English and writing at some point.
When I graduated from college, working 32 hours a week in retail – when I did not know a thing about guns, hunting, or children other than, for some reason, people liked each of those things – was not part of the plan. When I started working retail trying to sell guns, hunting and camping tools, and toys, falling in love was not part of the plan.
For a month, there was a lot of sneaking glances – and by “sneaking glances,” I mean me flat-out staring at him – before another coworker set us up.
Then, approximately 845 days after that moment, my boyfriend handed me a box on Christmas Eve at 2 a.m. after he got off work from his new job.
Within the box was another box, and within that little white box was a black velvet jewelry box. He buys me a lot of necklaces, so even then I was not suspicious.
“What is that?”
“What do you think it is?”
We repeated that exchange when I found a ring inside the box instead of a necklace. I finally convinced him, “I’m really going to need you tell me what this is.” What if it had just been a ring? A ring with no life-changing significance behind it handed to me on early Christmas Eve with no explanation?
Mean is what that would have been.
Instead, it was not mean, it was beautiful. His legs were apparently shaking – he told me afterward – my heart had either stopped or was beating so fast that I could not tell difference, my vision became blurry because I had started crying, he put the ring on the wrong finger, and he asked the question.
“Sam, will you marry me?”
At some point we kissed, I accidentally bit him, and his lip started bleeding. We are a really romantic couple like that.
He said it perfectly later that night when he said that we always knew that we were meant for each other, even though my new favorite question for him is, “On a scale of one to 10, how much am I annoying you right now?”
That moment became the best moment of my life. Not because of how it happened, not because of the timing, not because it was a surprise, not because of what he said – it was perfect because he gave me a promise that my future will be filled with the same type of moments I treasure most right now. My time with him.
I get mopey when I have to go more than a couple days without seeing him even though we do not like all of the same television shows. He likes action-packed video games while I think action scenes are the boring parts of movies. He has a dog that barks at us every time we hug. I do not have cable, and one time he missed a Browns game during a rare night off.
My time with him, though, beats any romantic comedy, any corny movie ending, any happily ever after. And my time with him gets to keep going.
NOTE: This is part one of two-part column series on my engagement where, in part two, I will go on to whine about the weird things that go along with engagements as well as brag that I get to annoy the man who became my best friend and love of my life for the rest of our lives.
Sam Wildow can be reached at (937) 451-3336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org