A serious question.
My life with Abigail was not simple. She was still teaching full-time in New York, and I was working in Washington, D.C. Whenever possible we would spend all-too-brief weekends together.
Come summer, we were spending more time together. She needed a car. I looked at the ads and found a nice little white used car. The guy selling his car was the youth minister at a local church. I started to explain that I was buying it for my girlfriend. No, that would not sound right, and it was not true. I was buying it for my future wife. “I’m buying it for my fiancée.”
There had never been any doubt that I wanted to marry Abigail. I never considered anything short of that. But, in my methodical way, I had held off for six long months. It was time to pop the question.
I took her to a dark, romantic Spanish restaurant in Alexandria. I don’t know how we behaved in those days but the waiters called us the love-birds, and they put us in the “lovers’ cove” upstairs. I had written her a little poem, a bad poem. I can’t write poetry, but I thought the effort might soften her up.
But it was not our night. A thunderstorm came up and, just as I was warming up to ask her, water started dripping right on our table. Ink in the poem ran. We scooted the table to the side. And then I told her I loved her and would love her forever and would she be my wife? I knew well the scene in Hollywood movies; the woman looks longingly into her paladin’s eyes and gushes, “oh yes, yes!” Well, not the philosophical Abigail. I asked, and waited. And waited. Then waited some more. She seemed lost in deep thought.
Finally, I reminded her that I had asked a question and was still holding my breath for an answer. In the gravest tones, she said Yes. Why the long pause? “It was a serious question and I thought I should give it a serious answer.” She certainly had.