Now, where was I? Ah, yes. Trevor and I embarked on a total of two years of dating long distance. I was in Valpo; he was in Lexington. We saw each other as often as we could, and we emailed and talked on the phone constantly. Sometimes I would drive down to Lexington after school on a Friday for the weekend, and those weekends were always too short. Trevor had a little more flexibility to his schedule, so he would try to drive to Valpo on a Friday afternoon to see me. Looking back on it, those were some truly great times. We had to take it slow because we weren’t together all the time. Talking on the phone every day was a sweet way to really get to know Trevor. And the emails he wrote….swoon. He’s an amazing writer, and I would read the same emails over and over just to get a rush. He sent flowers; I sent letters. There was a whole lot of wooing going on.
During the first year and a half, I knew he was The One. I just knew that we were meant to be together. I mean, come on. Fate had obviously brought us back into each other’s lives for a reason after ten years. I think Trevor knew it, too, but he tends to be more cautious than me. I’m sort of an act-now-think-later kind of gal whereas it can take T ten minutes to decide what he wants on a sandwich. I admit that I started to get frustrated after a while wondering when he was going to finally realize that we needed to be together all the time. 24/7. You know, like, married. Gulp. Everyone I knew asked me when we were going to get engaged. Even my dentist, a man I only saw twice a year, asked me when T was going to “s&*% or get off the pot.” That was slightly awkward. T and I had some veiled conversations about getting engaged, but he made it clear that he wasn’t quite ready. I was disappointed, but I was also pretty sure he would come to his senses.
In late fall of 2004, Trevor said he wanted to take me to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. Some friends of his had a tradition of spending Turkey Day in Vegas, and he wanted me to meet them. Um, Vegas? Yes, yes, YES! Trevor would fly to Chicago the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, meet up with me, and then we’d fly together to Vegas that evening. As I sat in school at teacher meetings that afternoon, I couldn’t focus on the computer training I was supposed to be doing. I was, of course, totally excited about the upcoming trip, but there were also some other factors. At that point, I was teaching full-time at the middle school in Valpo, but I still had good friends who taught at the high school. That morning, a student had taken a machete to school and slashed some of the other students. It was terribly scary, and I was worried about the students and the other teachers. I kept checking my email on the sly to get word from my friends that everything was okay. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but I couldn’t stop shaking. After Columbine and all of the other school tragedies, an armed student had become my worst nightmare. I was also keeping an eye on the sky. Huge snowflakes had started to fall, and I was worried about making it to the airport. You just gotta love that lake effect snow. The afternoon seemed to stretch out longer and longer, and the snow fell faster and faster. Finally, it was time to leave, and my fantastic, patient dad drove me to the airport. The weather was so terrible that a trip that normally takes about an hour and a half took twice that long. I had no idea once we got the airport if the plane would even be able to take off, but I was determined to be there no matter what. My dad dropped me off at the curb and had to leave right away so he could make it home before the next morning: it hadn’t stopped snowing the entire time we drove. I checked in, found my gate, and sat down on the floor to grade papers. I had one eye on the TV – CNN was running stories about the Valpo student- and waiting for Trevor to arrive. After a long wait, my flight was called. No Trevor. I waited until the very last minute to board, and finally Trevor came running down the hall. His flight had been late due to the weather as well. We boarded and didn’t even get to sit by each other, but at least we were on our way.
We landed in Vegas late, and we met a couple of Trevor’s friends at the hotel/casino, the San Remo. The San Remo was…interesting, to say the least. (As an aside, it’s not even there anymore. It’s a Hooters hotel/casino now. Can you see my eyes rolling?) We ended up having a drink and doing some gambling until the wee hours of the morning. I was so tired that I could barely move; it had been a really, really long day. When we woke up the next morning, it was Thanksgiving. It was strange not to smell turkey roasting or to help my mom set the table for a family gathering. We hung out that day and did some gambling before getting ready for a fancy dinner that evening with some other friends. (Please note, by gambling, I mean penny and nickel slots. We’re serious high rollers.) I was a little nervous about dinner that night; I wanted so much to impress Trevor’s friends, and I wanted to make a good impression. Trevor was acting weird, sort of twitchy and silent, so I thought he was anxious about introducing me to everyone. I put on a little black dress and did my hair and makeup. I was putting on my jewelry, and I said to Trevor, “How do I look?” He said I looked okay. I’m pretty sure I screeched something about not wanting to look just OKAY and what exactly did he mean by that. As I was prattling on, he said, “Something’s missing.” I turned around to glare at him, but he wasn’t there. Well, he was there, but not where I expected him to be. He was on one knee. In a hotel room. In the San Remo. With a ring box. And a ring.
I know he said something sweet about wanting to spend the rest of his life with me and would I be his wife, but for a moment, all I could hear was the roaring in my head and my own voice saying, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.” I was shaking and laughing and crying, and it took me a couple of minutes to finally spit out a resounding YES. The rest of an evening is a blur after that. I know I called my parents, my brother, and Tiffany. I know we went to the schmancy dinner, but I don’t remember where it was or what we ate. I remember that I was so happy and also beyond exhausted. We ended up leaving dinner, going back to the hotel, and falling into a coma-like sleep.
We were lucky that weekend. Not only did we get engaged, but Trevor won around $1,000.00 on a slot machine at Mandalay Bay while my ring was being sized. Not bad, huh? The weekend quickly sped by, and too soon, it was time to go home. Trevor and I got to sit on the plane together on the flight back, and I watched his eyes glaze over as I pulled out the bridal magazines I had bought at the airport bookshop. The planning had begun.
To be continued…