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Unspoken Part Three - The Proposal

(Listen Here)

"Hey Lynette, I just finished another story and posted it on Facebook. I haven't recorded it yet, so would you mind pulling it up on my page and reading it out loud?" I asked, pointing to the second paragraph showing her where to start and then having a seat next to her to listen.

Thirty-four years have passed since the night I first met Lynette. In a way, it feels like five lifetimes ago, and some days I can recall the encounter like it was yesterday. We've both been through plenty since we were teenagers. Kids, failed marriages, and mortgages can sure keep two people occupied for three decades. We grew older, lost touch, and moved on with our lives. But, a lot can happen over a few months. We managed to find one another again, and I'd like to share the rest of our story in a unique way. August 14, 1988, was our first kiss. Today is August 14, 2022, which will hopefully be a special day too.

Lynette and I had been friends on Facebook for a while, but we never commented on posts or acknowledged each other. One day out of the blue, I received a message from my first love on the popular platform. She'd seen where I publicly announced my divorce and wanted me to know she was also dealing with the same circumstances. I immediately felt better knowing someone out there was going through a tough time just like me and was willing to provide an ear whenever I needed it. There we were, both around fifty years old and all of a sudden, we're pen pals again. Thanks to technology, we didn't have to wait weeks for a letter.

After a few days of texting, we decided to have an actual phone conversation. I planned to tell Lynette my intentions when I drove to Gurnee three decades ago to see her. She'd finally know the trip wasn't just a friendly visit. She would hear me say that I had made the journey to reveal my feelings. I mean, what did I have to lose? The chance to finally get this off my chest was within reach, and I was not about to mess it up again. Nobody ever gets this chance, and I mean nobody, ever! The gesture was more about speaking it out into the universe and less about continuing a love story that was over so long ago.

I drove down Madison Street to the abandoned movie theater, where we shared our first kiss. This time I was no longer an unsure kid who had no idea how to communicate. After sitting in the parking lot reliving that special night in '88 for a few moments, I made the call. As the phone rang, I recalled the last time we'd ever spoken, well, until now. Maybe things would have been different had I known I'd never see Lynette again. Then she answered. Suddenly I was seventeen again, talking to the most beautiful girl in the world on the other end of the line. Who knows how many hours we spoke? I know that I watched the sun drop behind the horizon, and most of the conversation was in the dark while I sat in the front seat of my Jeep in that empty parking lot. It was nice to toss my teenage feelings into the atmosphere finally.

Days transformed into weeks, and weeks slid into months as we got to know each other again. We didn't miss a day on the phone or a chance to FaceTime. I learned about Lynette's family, and she listened while I chatted about mine. Our lives had certainly changed since our first encounter, but something special remained. Affection found its way back into two hearts that had lost all hope and decided to shine brighter than ever. We both agreed it was time to meet again, so the planning began. We booked the flight and counted down the days until I picked Lynette up at the airport. I recently expressed how I felt years ago over the phone. But I refused to tell her I was in love with her still today until we met in person. I knew I'd soon get my chance.

The drive home from the airport was forty-five minutes filled with giggling and hand holding. Once we made it into the house with her luggage, I decided not to waste a single minute. Music played, and we danced right in my living room. It was our first dance.

"Hey, Lynette," I said with a grin from ear to ear. She looked up into my eyes, waiting for me to continue. "I was wondering if you'd be my girlfriend?" After a short pause that lasted long enough to smile, she said yes. We danced a little more, and then I said, "I love you," for the first time in our lives. She said it back to me. We continued to dance. Life doesn't get any better than that.

For two weeks, we went on dates, spent time with family, and grew closer. We knew she'd eventually have to go back home, but we kept that thought pushed to the back of our brains. Nothing would ruin this occasion, this grand reunion. We'd even discussed the possibility of her moving in with me by October. It sounded like a good plan, but three months was a long time, especially considering how we felt. We convinced ourselves that ninety days was a drop in the bucket compared to the thirty years we've spent apart, and it would go by quickly. Returning to the airport allowed all those first-date feelings from 1988 to resurface. Once again, my heart felt like it was being ripped out, but at least this time, I knew I'd see my Lynette again.

She was barely back home in Illinois a day before we discussed the possibility of her moving in sooner than October. After a quick change of plans, we decided three weeks sounded better than three months. Lynette quit her job up north and found a new one here. She said goodbye to friends and her church family. She left her life there to start a new one with me in Clarksville.

That moment on Sunday, August 14, 1988, brings us to today, Sunday, August 14, 2022. Lynette told me in a conversation we'd had months ago that if I ever proposed, she'd like to wear my birthstone, a ruby. We'd already retraced all the places we went on our first date during the previous visit, so I chose the perfect spot to ask the question. Our next chapter will start in this living room, where I told Lynette I loved her for the first time. As Lynette reads this very sentence from a story that waited three decades to unfold on my keyboard, I'll reach in my pocket and pull out a ring.

My girl is trying to read as she watches me kneel with a pink ruby in my hand. I chose the particular color because I think it looks good on her, and I picked the vintage eternity white gold band because it reminds me of the number eight on both sides of the gem. Hopefully, Lynette will always see eighty-eight when she looks at it. And I had to have the date August 14, 1988, engraved on the inside. I only have one thing left to do now.

"Alright, Lynette, you can stop reading now," I said Before she went any further. Then I asked this question, "Lynette, will you marry me?" And she said yes.