Ever since I moved back to Louisville, my three best friends from high school and I have made a tradition of getting together for “girls night.” Normally, we will meet at my house, order pizza, and talk about life. But, last night, I was tired of my house, and my girls had other plans in mind.
Jodi suggested a restaurant on Frankfort Avenue, down the street from where I grew up, and home to many of my favorite restaurants and stores. Unfortunately, the place she wanted to go was only open until 2 p.m., so we would need to pick another restaurant.
In our typical fashion, everyone was having trouble making a decision, even about what time we should get together. So, Jodi says, “Why don’t we all just meet at Carmichael’s (my favorite local bookstore) so Jessie can get the book she’s been meaning to buy for Lilly, and then we can walk somewhere from there?”
Perfect. I can waste so many hours in Carmichael’s, and if I get off early, I could even go have a cup of tea at Heine Bros. (my favorite local coffee shop), I thought. (Side note: I did get away from the office earlier than normal, but I had to go home and let the dogs out, because my boyfriend was too busy “catching up on TV” to run by my house and let them out so I could go to girl’s night.)
I get to Carmichael’s, greeted by the “Treat Yo Shelves” whiteboard out front, and Corin, another old high school friend and leader of the Carmichael’s community book club, greets me and Jodi. We all talk near the front of the store until Jessie and Jessica arrive. Totally nothing out of the normal about this. My typical modus operandi at Carmichael’s is either to get lost in the shelves or in conversation, always the latter if Corin is working.
Once all the girls are crammed into the Carmichael’s storefront, Jodi says, “Hey guys! My nephew is coming to town next week and I found him a super cute book that I want to show you.”
So, we turn the corner into the children’s section (not visible from the front of store), and there is my boyfriend, Scott, sitting in a little kid’s chair.
“Hey! What are you…” I start to ask, but can’t finish my question before I can no longer see my friend’s faces for the cameras now filled out between us.
Scott points me to a book about UofL on the shelf behind me with a handmade bookmark sticking out of the top. I open it up, and find the words:
Emily, will you marry me?
written in light blue ink on the paper.
“YES!” I say right away, thinking that would be the end of it.
“Wait!” Scott calls back. “I have something I want to say first.”
You may be wondering why I am appearing here at your favorite bookstore.
A bookstore is filled with stories.
For the time that we have been dating, we have been writing our own story.
Our story begins with me reaching out to you – in writing – for advice on a vegetarian restaurant.
We began to write each other every day.
We shared stories about our past … our most intimate and vulnerable thoughts … our hopes and dreams for the future.
We wrote letters with lists of things that we like about each other.
The first time you told me you loved me was in a letter.
So it seemed appropriate to me that we come to a place where we are surrounded by stories, to symbolize that we are turning the page to the next chapter in our own story.
For the next chapter, I want to ask if you will do me the honor of being my wife.
– Reprinted with permission (He wrote it down and memorized it so that I would always be able to remember what he said – sigh)
Of course, my answer did not change between the time I read the bookmark and the time he recited his words to me. In fact, it became a more resounding, “Yes, of course!”
When Scott and I first started talking about this day, I made three requests:
- I want to be surprised.
- Please don’t do it on a jumbotron.
- And also, please don’t do it on my couch while we’re just hanging out a la Chris Pratt in Bride Wars.
In my wildest dreams, I would not have imagined he could surprise me and incorporate so many of the things I love: books, my favorite bookstore, my childhood neighborhood, my lifelong best friends…
This is our story. It’s not the beginning or the end, but a moment that will change the course of our narrative. And, I couldn’t be happier that we get to write the rest together.