I must preface this story by saying that my recount, even with the pictures (click any to enlarge), will never do justice to the immense effort and thought put into every single moment of the past few days. I am purposely glossing over details because they were all in some way, shape, or form an aspect of our relationship that can never effectively be explained. That said, I will now tell you about an unforgettable quest I began last Thursday...
Last Thursday mere hours before I left for my Florida birthday trip (a trip that was my birthday present from Spike) and hours after I posted 3 Things Thursday, Sun Runner messaged me saying she had something to give me before I left. I suspected nothing. I tell her I'll swing by her office when I head out to the airport as she works across the street but she insists she must come to me. She arrives shortly after and presents me with a scroll. I knew immediately it was from Spike because no one loves a scroll like Spike does.
Upon unrolling it I read that I am to begin a quest, but there are two stipulations: the first is that I cannot contact him in any way; and the second is that I must write "Today I begin a quest" on the ground. I accept the chalk Sun Runner is holding and go outside into the rain and write my promise. She then hands me a booklet of two sheets of paper. The first reads "The Story of Racer" and the second begins the story, our story, and tells how we came to be 'us.' Essentially, how once upon a time a girl trained in Florida for a race in Chicago....and that was it. No clues, riddles, or hints on what was to come next other than to return to the land where the story began.
So I fly to Florida full of wild speculations of what this could possibly mean. I read and re-read both the scroll and the story over and over on the plane and again to Beaker Luv when I arrived. What could it mean?! What will happen next?!? Time would tell.
Friday she and I go shopping and I look high and low for a dress to wear to my party the next day because Rixy keeps insisting I wear one. I packed a few but wanted something else; so I searched to no avail. After shopping our faces off we returned home and she casually mentions there is something on the table for me. "Is there now?!? I knew you were in on this!!!"
On the table is a beautiful box bearing a golden phoenix. My heart races, I know this phoenix. Then I see three small packages that each have dates on them, I confusedly look to her as she begins to read from a small strip of paper "What is the date of your and Spike's first kiss?"
I opened the package with the date, October 15th in case you were wondering, and there is a small key, the key to unlock the box. I open it and see the top portion of a folded flag. A design on which I know well because it is something I designed for Spike a long time ago. It's essentially a coat of arms, something we had discussed unveiling when we got married someday. I cried. (I'm a crier.) I open it up to see it in its full glory and Beaker Luv hands me three more pages of the story. I cry harder. I explain to her what the flag means. "Does this mean?!? No it can't possibly be "that which we do not speak of"... this must be some kind of epic birthday surprise right?!?"
Linds comes over shortly thereafter and we spend the rest of the night speculating and discussing her recent engagement. I read and re-read the story long past everyone going to bed. And I cry.
Saturday I meet up with Rixy, Yvonney, and Kimmy for their sons' baseball game. I fill them in on what's going on and announce "And I know one of you b*tches have the next piece!" Lol! After the game we all head out for mani/pedi's and then back to Yvonney's to get ready for my party that night. As guests arrive, including B.o.B, I explain what's going on and how I'm quite certain the next piece will occur that evening. Later that evening, after cocktails and awesome food had been consumed and after my amazing friends presented me with a plane voucher to return in December for the annual girls Christmas dinner, on a weekend Spike conveniently had me block already (I say conveniently but really I'm realizing all my friends are lying, scheming yet loveable hoes!!!), I was steered into the front room where the door was closed behind me and my dear Rixy awaited.
On the coffee table in front of her was a box, smaller than the last, with three small packages with city names on them. After I sit down, tears in my eyes, she reads from a small strip of paper "In what city did you and Spike first profess your love to one another?" In the package marked "Chattanooga" I found the key that opened the box.
Inside the box was a nautical star in the same gold as the phoenix on the box, another token of our relationship, and a folded piece of paper that, at the time, looked like an after thought--so I disregarded it and started to cry. Rixy then presented me with three more pages of the story, which I struggled to read through tears. After I read it she pointed to the paper and I opened it to find an itinerary. An itinerary for the next morning. An itinerary with a destination not to Detroit and home, but to Chicago. And that is when I truly knew what was going on. And I cried harder then I had so far. We then held each other, because that's what we do.
The rest of the night is a blur of emotions, predominately happy, but also anxious, excited, and just the tiniest bit of sadness because, if you remember dear readers, I have not spoken to my beloved Spike in days and all I want more than anything is to call him and tell him how much I love him and the story and all the things he has been doing. But I couldn't. It would violate my oath.
I did not sleep one wink that night and when 5 am Sunday morning rolled around I showered and prepared myself for the flight to Chicago. I spent the first leg of the journey crying and re-reading the story. And willing myself not to vomit. At my layover in Cincinnati I managed to choke down a banana but I spent the rest of the time willing myself not to vomit. During the short flight from Cincy to Chi-town I re-read the story and cried some more. Before the wheels of the plane even touched down on the tarmac in Chicago I turned on my phone to see if there were any clues as to what would happen next...
And there was a text from my cousins saying they'd be picking me up. When I hopped in the car I apologized ahead of time in the event I threw up in the back seat. They both laughed and asked me how I was doing. I asked them if they remembered the exact moment they realized they were getting proposed to (they did) and I said, imagine feeling like that for 4 days! Then they asked me if I was ready for the next piece of the quest. I was. Mel held up a small strip of paper, struggled to read it, and finally just gave it to me. It read "Do you believe in everlasting love?" I started crying. I managed to nod my head and say "of course." Upon hearing my answer, Mel handed me a book. A book? I opened it to find the entire story, our story, with the final page in place. He had gotten our story made into a real book. Something I will be able to treasure forever. If you would like to read our story you can HERE. But come back, because there is still more of my story to tell...
So of course I cry even harder than ever and I'm openly weeping and doing the horrible choke on breaths and ugly cry face. When I can finally collect myself I ask, so are we on our way to him now?!?!? (The last page had instructions to meet him at the place of our first date) No. What?!?!? Nope, we are going home so you can clean yourself up and then we'll catch a train into the city. Oh Spike I thought, you sure know how to drive a girl CRAZY!!! Rereading the final page again, I realized I accidentally glossed over the part of the story detailing what time to meet.
The next two hours were the longest two hours of my life.
We finally arrive via train into the city and grabbed a cab to Shedd's Aquarium, which you may remember from my almost two year old post where I revealed how we had come to start dating. My cousins wonder aloud if I knew where exactly we're supposed to meet Spike because he hadn't mentioned it; but I knew. Rounding the corner to the front of the building I saw him; wearing a huge smile, rocking back and forth on his heels, hands clasped in front of him, standing on the viewing deck with the cityscape as the backdrop.
And at that moment everything melted away and I walked (you know I would've ran if I could've, stupid leg), hands in pockets, tears streaming, smile plastered on my face, to him. I have never in my life been so happy to see him (and that's saying a lot seeing how we did a lot of not seeing each other when we were first dating long distance). When I reached him he grabbed both of my hands, spoke a few beautiful words about the quest and me, got down on one knee, pulled a box that was even smaller than the last one, a golden phoenix delicately painted on top from his pocket, and asked me to marry him.
I said yes. All the random people around us clapped and cheered. He twirled me around, we kissed, I may or may not have screamed in joy.
Four words made up the question, the answer required only one. After an unforgettable quest, our love story has really only just begun...