On Friday Feb 1, 2002, he allegedly had a doctor’s appointment in the city, so we made plans to do lunch near my office at Penn. Around noon he called my cell phone and told me he was out front and that I should bring my backpack.
“My backpack? Why my backpack?”
Mike sighed, “Just bring your backpack.”
The joke for years was that in those 2 minutes between getting the call and getting into the car, I imagined that Mike had bought me a puppy as a birthday gift (my birthday is February 5) and that he was going to give it to me to put in my backpack. Is this completely illogical? Yes. But, it’s where my fertile imagination took me.
So, I get in the car and start blabbering on and on about my day. Time passes and suddenly I realize we’re on the bridge that goes towards the airport.
“Where are we going?” I asked, looking around.
Mike told me to look in the glove compartment. In it were two e-tickets to
“Happy Birthday, Smoosher,” he said with a grin.
As legend has it, my response… which I repeated for about a minute straight was, “Shut the f*ck up. Shut the f*ck up.”
Lovely, huh? I’m a real lady.
Then I proceeded to grill Mike about all my school commitments and meetings I couldn’t miss (response: “I’ve called all your professors and they know you’ll be gone.”). Then about the schoolwork I had to complete before the following week (response: “Your officemate and I were in touch and she slipped all those files into your backpack.”). “But, I can’t go to
Apparently, I then asked him about every individual item of toiletries: facewash? “Got it.” Contact lens solution? “Got it.” Birth control pills? “Got them.” Glasses? “They’re in there.”
So, we fly to
The next day we walked on beaches and sat in the sun. Before heading out to dinner, he suggested we walk down to the pier and watch the sun set (see photo at left). We watched it set while holding hands. As soon as the orange sun disappeared, I hopped up off the lounge chair, “Ok! Time for dinner!”
“Wait. Smoosher…. Can we just sit here a minute?” He actually seemed nervous. He never seemed nervous. Ever.
My stomach turned inside out. I knew what was coming. We had talked about getting married forever. My mom had given me her mother’s engagement ring which I then gave to Mike for him to have reset when the time was right. So, I always knew it was an imminent possibility, but it was still surreal.
He got down on his knees and asked if I would “give him the honor of being called my husband.”
I just nodded and cried.
So, this Sunday, Bax and I will join Frank, Matt, and their families for the Superbowl once again. And, my hunch is that Mike will be there, too.Oddly enough, I'm not super-sad thinking about this. I laugh when I picture Mike retelling this story to our friends and mocking me for thinking he had bought me a puppy ("A puppy???"). I smile when I think about him being nervous - if even for a moment - just before he asked me. Most of all, the trip was so important that I remembered every detail of everything we did - so when I let my memory drift back to it, I'm with my best friend again - if only for a moment.
Mike made a fantastic mix CD that we listened to our entire five days in the keys. I found it on his powerbook:
Annie Waits, Ben Folds
Lava Lamp, Duran Duran
Stupidly Happy, XTC
Beautiful Day, U2
Everybody's Talkin' , Harry Nilsson
Man of Constant Sorrow, Soggy Mountain Boys
Stuck in the middle with you, Stealers Wheel
Whole New You, Shawn Colvin
Pink Moon, Nick Drake
Do What You Have To Do, Sarah McLachlan
Anywhere But Here, k.d. lang
Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys
I've Been Waiting, Matthew Sweet
Lust For Life, Iggy Pop