The day started out like any other. I woke up at the usual time. My clothes were pretty casual. I went to the studio to do some work. But unlike any day, this one was going to have a special ending. With some well-wishes from my coworkers and a ring in my pocket, I made my way down to Olwen’s office to pick her up. On they way, I called Desmond to confirm the plans for tonight. Last year I was the cameraman when Des’ proposed to his schoolteacher girlfriend at her elementary school (think Meet the Parents). I wanted Desmond to be a part of this proposal, so I also asked him to videotape my proposal. He was in Yakima for an interview and was finishing at 4pm, so we needed to make sure that he was going to be beat to the house before us since Thanksgiving traffic can be unpredictable. We created some “signals” to use for the trip to time ourselves in the form of two phone calls from Des. The first call would be to chit chat about his interview; that call would let me know that he was leaving Yakima. The second call would be to talk about hanging out in Portland with his wife during the long weekend; that call would let me know he was a half-hour away from Portland. It was kind of cool plan to be covert with the fake calls, but like all well-thought-out plans, we never used them. Turns out Thanksgiving traffic never showed up on his route, so he beat us home by a good hour and a half.
I had over a month left until the proposal. The most difficult task now was to keep it all a secret from Olwen. My main concern was with her parents since they’re the ones that I probably would have the least control over. It turned out that leaks were coming out elsewhere.
After I picked up Olwen from the airport, we headed over to NewGen, my church fellowship. I had to give Olwen back her car, so I had her drop me off at the fellowship. We were hanging out on a couch when Christine spotted Olwen and walked up to us. She welcomed Olwen back and asked about her trip to Rwanda. And that’s when she said, “Wow, you guys have been doing a lot traveling. Nolen just got back from Toronto.”
She did not just say that.
I got about 5 hours of sleep that night. I usually have a habit of hitting the snooze button a dozen times before I get my day started, but I resisted and got up. It was around 9am EST, and no one else in the house was up yet. Candy had instructed me the night before about how to let myself out in the morning. As I was making my way to the garage, I bumped into her mom in the laundry room. She smiled and said something in Chinese that I couldn’t understand. I tried to act natural, smiled, and mumbled something incoherent as I headed to my car. I guessed she figured I was one of Candy’s friends.