“Now, my only suggestion is to have a short engagement- but date for a long time, you know, just take your time…”
Jason jumped in, “I was thinking about asking her in two weeks…”
“Or that works too,” conceded my dad.
They talked a bit more, finished their meals and headed their respective ways, not before a “welcome to the family” hug from my dad. I didn’t see Jason until later that evening and, being the joker that he is, decided to tell me how the meeting couldn’t have gone any worse and this and that- I felt panicked. What does this mean? What do I do now? My over-reactive thoughts were taking over when my oh-so sensitive boyfriend stopped them. “It went great. He said yes!” I’m sure he gave me a few more details, but I was just relieved that everyone was happy and in one piece. I knew a proposal was coming, but I would be surprised as to when.
“Allison! There’s a car! You are making me nervous…” So, over the course of living in a bigger city for close to a year I had learned to drive a little more aggressively than what is the norm in Ashland. You have to! Or else you get no where. You can’t wait for people to make their move, you just have to keep traffic moving. Jason was terrified. He already had a heart attack every time I drove anywhere, but now, all the flashing lights and traffic lights in weird places and signs- he was a wreck.
We were driving in downtown Pittsburgh, trying to make our way to the East Liberty Presbyterian Church for a Wednesday night service they had going on called Taize. Jason was intrigued by the movement (read about it here) and wanted to take me to it. Since I lived in Pittsburgh, he thought I could show him my stomping grounds while we were out there for the evening. It was December 14th, my best friend Anne’s birthday, and also my Aunt Lori’s birthday! We finally found the church and it was beautiful!
We found our way to the section of the massive cathedral that the Taize service was being held in and sat down on the pew. I told Jason I could put his coat next to me along with mine. “No, I’ll just hold on to it.” Okay, weird. The beautiful repetitive chanting and simple melodies in French and English, and other languages filled the air, people playing instruments not in front of us like a band, but scattered behind and amongst us. A flute, a french horn, clarinet, strings, seemed like one of everything! The candles and ancient looking images of Christ, along with “sails” decorated the front of the sanctuary. It was a beautiful sight. The closest thing I’ve seen to the church scene in Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet. Only there was no teenage angst and forbidden love, no fake death and suicide. Just me and Jason and a bunch of strangers worshipping together. It was calming and refreshing.
Once the service ended, we gathered our coats and headed back for the car. I was hungry. Starving. I thought we could eat next. Jason wanted to go up Mt.Washington and see the cityscape. Big sigh from me.
“Why? Can’t we just do that after we find a place to eat?” I asked, maybe slightly whining.
“I really want to see it now though, why don’t we find somewhere to eat afterwards? Is it a big deal?” So we’re back in the car, and I had forgotten that the easiest thing would be for me to park Jason’s car down at Station Square and then ride the incline up the mountain, see the sights, and ride it back down and just eat at one of the many restaurants in the Square. But I chose the hard way. I missed the exit and here I am winding my way with the car up the mountain. We should be on the incline right now! I was becoming annoyed.
My mistake, but Jason wasn’t helping the situation.
“Is that the Enterprise Ship?”
“The Enterprise, you know, off of Star Trek.”
“No! It’s an overlook, it’s not the Enterprise.”
“I think it’s the Enterprise.”
“Jason, it is not a replica of the Enterprise sticking out the side of the mountain. There’s one down that way too.”
“Well it looks like the Enterprise.”
“Oh my gosh, I’m getting so annoyed with you right now! I’m trying to find the road I’m supposed to be on, I’m starving, it’s not the frieking Enterprise! Why can’t we just eat first!?”
I made my way back down the mountain, and where I was supposed to be in the first place and we found the parking lot at Station Square. I just wanted to get this over with. I would be in a better mood once we ate. Plus, it was freezing cold. All the peace and renewal I felt from Taize had gone out the window. We boarded in the incline, and laughed a little and began to get over our uptightness with each other. At the top we paid for just the one way (I’m not sure why) and trekked out on to the “Enterprise”.
I showed Jason the Art Institute building, Heinz field, the Point, the PPG building, all the sites. The night skyline of Pittsburgh from that vantage point is pretty cool. Chattering teeth and all. I looked out on the buildings that stood across the river and started to say to Jason “I think I knew someone who got engaged on the incline- how stupid is that!? With all the graffiti and it’s kind of dirty-” I was cut off. “Well, would you marry me?” I turned my gaze to Jason, (whose hand had been fumbling around in his coat pocket, trying to find the little gray box and open it the right way, while I was going on my rant about who should get engaged where and Lord knows what else), who was now standing beside me with the box that held a single princess cut diamond ring inside. It was too slippery to kneel, but we were close to the rail and between waiting for my answer and trying not to slip and throw the ring off the side of the cliff, Jason was standing there bracing himself for what I would say.