A Romantic Engagement Story by Sarah
"Thomas and I met at university - I was 19, he was 20, and after declaring to the world only a matter of hours before that I was "giving up on men and relationships for the foreseeable future" fast forward a few hours and I'd come face to face with the future love of my life.
Jump ahead again almost ten years and we are in Holland for Christmas - staying with Thomas' parents in the family home where he was born and raised:
It is the day before Xmas and we are all in the family kitchen finishing a late lunch. Thomas asks me if I will come for a bike ride with him to the sand dunes. Usually, I would jump at the chance for a bit of 'us time' after spending our Xmas holiday as a big family group, but his Mum has already asked me to go shopping with her and his sister and I don't want to let her down.
"Why don't you go on the excersize bike down in the cellar?" I ask him, after refusing his offer and his responding pleas about how he really wants to go on the bike. Unbeknown to me, I'd just completely ruined his romantic sunset proposal plan at the top of the sand dunes on Xmas eve. No wonder he looked so crushed.
I set off to the village with his mum and older sister to pick up some last minute provisions for Xmas day. I am just about to cross the road when Thomas jumps out of his Father's car and grabs me by the hand, "come on", he says, "we need to go and pick up a secret present for Mum, they're closing soon!"
His sister looks visibly annoyed that I am leaving her to it - for a second, I consider inviting her along just to keep the peace, but Thomas is pulling me away faster than I can think. "This way", he says, " I know a short cut..."
He takes me through an old ruined church - the Ruïnekerk - and back out the other side, before stopping just as we come through the arch way. I can hear children laughing and I look ahead to the row of shops and wonder if the secret present is a painting or a framed picture. I turn back towards Thomas, but he is stood still, "I wanted to ask you something..." he says, falling to one knee....."will you marry me?"
He is holding a box. It's closed. "Is this for real?" I think to myself...I have been standing here for a while now, in total shock, just staring. Thomas is looking nervous and worried-but I can't move. I always thought I'd know when this moment was going to happen, I'd plan for it then jump for joy like they do in the movies - but he has caught me totally off guard! It turns out, when I am REALLY surprised, I don't react at all how I would expect...
"Well....?" He asks, opening the box as the sun begins to set in the sky ... "Is that a yes??"
The ring is beautiful, perfect....if I'd been asked to create an image of my dream piece for this occasion, this is it. I still can't speak. I nod in response and we embrace. My legs are wobbly and I feel sick with nerves.
Finally, I manage a few words: "what about your mum's present??"
"There was no present!" He says, laughing, as we walk back through the church to give them our good news."