The One Ring

More personal good news from Lockdown...

The One Ring
Ignore how claw-like my hand looks

This would most likely be part 3 of my “finding the happier news in lockdown” series. Very much a spontaneous reaction to the doom and gloom attitude I’ve experienced the past few months.

As is rather obvious from the picture and not so subtle, this is the year that my boyfriend asked if I wanted to marry him. Again, the picture gives away the answer; I said yes! If you're looking for a great story from a complete strange to help ignore the pains and boredom of this year, then I hope that you find this one enjoyable.

So, how did it happen?

So, we had gone on a long weekend holiday to Plymouth, Devon; I used to live there, we both find it really relaxing, and who doesn't love seeing the ocean from time to time?

It had been a really lovely weekend, with great weather that made it all the better. We'd both been super stressed from work so it was great to be away from it all and just have a great time. On the third day and we'd gone to the beach. It was a super warm day and we went to splash around in the ocean, there had been a slight hiccup when we argued while attempting to put together a tent (it was a milestone we were bound to come across). Then came the hour-long build-up to the event; we were driving home and he asked if I would drop him off at the shopping centre, luckily it was on our journey back to the hotel, so we agreed he'd go to the shops and I would go back and shower at the hotel, from there we'd meet at the area of Plymouth where we go swimming together.

In true form to me, I went back to the hotel and just relaxed in bed for about 30 minutes, only emerging when I received a phone call from my confused boyfriend wondering where I had gone. Of course, I got distracted, but I eventually made my way down to where he was sat looking out at the sea. It was really beautiful to look at, stood a bit away I looked out at the ocean, the sun starting to set and casting a brilliant orange glow across the horizon. We sat next to each other and talked about the weekend, well I mainly talked (he's never been much of a talker more of a listener). After a moment of silence, he turned and looked at me. I looked down and saw the box in his hands.

What was I thinking at the time?

As anyone would expect, there were a million thoughts that went through my mind, mainly lots of questions about whether it was actually happening. Although these questions didn't stay sat in my head, instead they burst out excitedly to my poor boyfriend. There was a lot of "what really?" yelled in his direction. I did know he was serious but it was all I could really say for a while.

There was an odd moment after the excitement died down a little, where he went for a swim in the sea (that is why we were there after all). I simply sat on the side looking at the ring. It was at that moment that I thought of who I wanted to tell first, turns out you really can think of too many people in one go. My head hurt from all the joy and excitement, but the person I wanted to tell the most was my late nan. This of course couldn't happen and tipped me over the edge, eventually just crying while sat watching my now fiance swim in the ocean. It was very odd and hilariously dramatic.

Telling the family...

Apart from actually getting proposed to, this was by far the best part of the whole engagement so far. I'm a huge family person, so it was really important for me to tell them in person. There was a slight order I wanted to tell everyone, with my dad being the first as he would have the most relaxed and calm response. However, due to a hectic drive home I missed him before he went to work, and instead I was left with my younger sister as the first person to tell, who I had planned to tell last.

Now, this isn't a bad thing against my sister, I love her dearly, but she is very loud and easily excitable. So it came as no surprise that she screamed and immediately cried happy tears when we told her. Admittedly, it was my favourite reaction to telling someone. As she was very emotional from there every time I told a new family member she would start crying again.

Mum was super happy and had a few tears, then instantly proclaiming that she'd need to buy an outfit. Bearing in mind we haven't even thought as to when we'd have the wedding we just know it won't be for a couple years. But I enjoyed the enthusiasm. My younger brother also cried, which really set me off as he doesn't tend to show emotion that often. There was a slight sense of bitter-sweet when telling him as he was abroad on holiday.

Eventually when I could tell my dad he simply smiled and congratulated me. Although very underrated as a reaction, I knew it was how he'd react and even the smile let me know he was super happy for me.

A moment of positivity in an otherwise crap year...

When I finally got round to telling one of my best-friends, I was an expert in how people were reacting, so I wasn't at all surprised when she started crying. Yet she did say something that really made me think about the effect I was having on people by telling them the good news.

She mentioned she was crying because she was happy, but also because it was an overwhelming wave of emotion from dealing with such a crap year. It was this build up negativity, only to be opposed by really happy news, that caused her to cry. I realised then that I was able to give people a much bright reason to keep going through the year. My friends and family could have a moment of peace and happiness in an otherwise macabre year.

It is this positivity that I hold onto as we enter yet another month of confusing lockdown rules and no end to this strange year. From time to time I look at the ring and take myself back to that magical and romantic evening by the sea.

proposal
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Joseph Harris
See all posts by Joseph Harris