'I planned my proposal on the day she became my girlfriend, three years earlier.'

Love at first sight isn’t exactly how I would describe this story. If anything, it would probably be the exact opposite way to describe this story. Everything about the way we met, got together and finally wed goes against all notions of impulse and spontaneity. And I don’t think we’d want it any other way.

We met in our first year of university. When I was introduced to her, I thought she was the cutest Jamaican girl I’d ever met (she was Sri Lankan) and that she had a great sense of humour (this part was true). We quickly fell into the same circle of friends and spent endless hours as a group skipping classes and chatting.

(Image supplied)

We were always close, but our friendship was based on mutual teasing and joking around. She really just was “one of the boys” albeit a smaller, lighter boy that we could easily place into garbage bins or hang from coat racks when drinking.

Fast forward through five years of friendship and graduations and as I’m preparing to move overseas, we both realise just how much we mean to each other. I’m hopeful it can turn into a real relationship, constantly asking her “Are you going to be my girlfriend?” She still needs time to be sure of her feelings. For a few surreal months we find ourselves in the limbo of not being a couple, but not just being friends either. Finally, sitting by the beach in July, she presents me with a puzzle. Now I don’t mean a riddle or dilemma. I mean an actual jigsaw puzzle. She watches me carefully as I put all the pieces together. My eyes grow wide. The completed puzzle spells out the word YES.

“As in, yes, I’ll be your girlfriend.”

I hug her so earnestly that we end up rolling down the sand dune, laughing all the way.

The next day I cancel my plans to move overseas. I also order a pendant to be made for her. It’s a silver puzzle piece.

"She presents me with a puzzle. Now I don’t mean a riddle or dilemma. I mean an actual jigsaw puzzle." (Image via iStock)

A month after the puzzle on the beach, I presented her with a small golden key. I didn’t tell her what is was for, but I knew her well enough to know that she would keep it safe.

We continued dating and loved every minute of each others company. Time flew by and to celebrate our six month anniversary I gave her a wooden jewellery box. As I handed it over she heard something rattle inside but when she tried to open it, she found that it was locked. It didn’t take her long to realise she needed the key from five months ago and the next day she was proudly wearing the Puzzle Piece pendant I’d made for her earlier.

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It was a fairly small puzzle piece, with some unusual swirls engraved across its face. It was the only piece of jewellery I’d given her and she became quite fond of it, wearing it often. The years rolled on and she would wear it out on special occasions, our anniversaries and birthday celebrations, and even just for casual get-togethers. We were basically inseparable and almost couldn’t believe it had taken us so long to start dating. I always loved seeing her wear the pendant as it would remind me of her special gesture on the beach that had started it all.

Almost three years later, we were back at the beach, grabbing some takeaway food. It was a hot Sunday in February, and she was wearing the puzzle piece pendant even though it was just the two of us hanging out. We wandered away from the crowded water to a small shady garden to enjoy our lunch. As she rummaged through the takeaway bag, she pulled out a small wooden box, covered in faded green felt. I watched her carefully as she opened it slowly, and her eyes grew wide. She looked at me in disbelief.

"She pulled out a small wooden box, covered in faded green felt." (Image supplied)

“I knew from the very first day we got together”, I explained. “I wanted you to know that.”

Inside the box were three silver puzzle pieces, all assembled together. Engraved across the faces were the words “Marry Me.” For almost three years, there was just one piece, holding the question mark, which had been missing.

Until that moment.

This post originally appeared on Quarter Life Love. You can read it here.

Tags: wedding , facebook-rogue , facebook-tg , proposal
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