This is a great story.
Last night, Kyle came home from work right as I was finishing my workout and he reminded me that we had a standing date to go see the Zoolights, which is the Christmas lights up at the Columbus zoo. Last night was the special members’ preview night and since we’re zoo members we’d gotten a postcard about it. I was NOT feeling it, though, because it’s been incredibly cold here and I was already exhausted from working out, so I sat down and made Kyle go get Subway for dinner.
When he got back he just kept pushing the Zoolights thing and I was really starting to get annoyed. It’s true that we go every year, but they’re going to be up until after the new year and I was sooooo not in the mood to walk around in the cold. I can’t say no to that cute face, though, so after a while we got all bundled up and headed to the zoo. We knew we were only going to have about an hour at the zoo when we got there, but he was just so excited…
I was actually in a good mood by the time we got there. Kyle let me change his radio station from talk radio to Delilah and her non-stop Christmas music, so I had caught the holiday bug. There are some people out there who are hostile about the fact that they’re playing Christmas music already. To you, I say “pttttthhhhhh” because we had a lovely time singing Oh Holy Night at the top of our lungs as we drove through the snow.
Now, to appreciate the next bit of this story, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull you back into a flashback, nineties style…(imagine the picture fading…the music swelling…suddenly Carly steps onto the screen with crimped hair and legwarmers…):
We’re in Kyle’s car, on the way to the zoo. It’s the same car he had when we were in WDW on the college program and I positively love being in it. I try to check my hair in the side mirror for the hundredth time without being too obvious. My first-vacation-to-Ohio wardrobe consists mainly of workout pants, t-shirts, and ponytail holders because I was under the impression that Kyle and I were going to hang out at the dorm, watch movies, and complain about our love lives. Instead, when I got off the plane, he was waiting for me and I realized that he was much cuter now than I remembered. Much cuter. Much Much cuter. And now I’m stuck in Ohio with a sub-par wardrobe and absolutely no hair products.
As we drive along through the foreign streets of a place called Dublin, Ohio, Kyle is rambling on and on about a movie idea he’s come up with. It’s the first time that we’ve really been alone since I got into town the day before, as we’d spent all of yesterday hanging out with Kyle’s fun roommates. At some point during the last 16 hours it had occurred to me that I was in trouble. Kyle was way too cute and we have a whole week ahead of us. At some point, we are going to have to traverse the territory of are-we-more-than-just-friends and it had been years and years since I’d attempted that one. As he talks and talks, I’m imagining possible conversation starters in my head…
Kyle, you know how sometimes you remember someone as being not cute but then they’re really hot when they pick you up from the airport?
Kyle, you know how my type of guy is basically everything that you are?
Kyle, you know how I’m not listening to a word you’re saying?
As we turn into the zoo parking lot, I start to panic. I literally have no idea what he’s been rambling on about for the last half hour and there was no way I’m going to survive three hours of walking around the zoo, thinking about how cute he is and stressing about whether or not it would be ok to hold his hand. Plus, my preoccupation is making me a really interesting visitor…I think during the last thirty minutes I’ve given him two grunts, a series of noncommittal shrugs, and a full out “Oh, that’s nice.”
We park and he turns to me. I really have no idea where I pull out the courage for this next move, but if I’m never brave about anything for the rest of my life than this moment is still worth it. I kiss him. Just lean over and kiss him like it’s one of those things that happens every day. When I stop kissing him, I open my eyes to see that he has the biggest grin on his face. We both get out of the car, grinning like idiots, and when I look at him over the roof of the convertible I actually think, ‘You don’t even know, but I am so going to marry you.’
And that’s when we realize that Kyle has just locked the keys in the car with the engine still running.
Yes, the whole locked car engine running thing is sort of my fault, which Kyle unchivalrously pointed out about one minute after it happened. It also sort of killed the mood and we did in fact spend the next three hours trying to gauge whether or not it was ok to hold hands. In one memorable moment, Kyle actually attempted to put his arm around me, but in true Carly fashion I turned my head at the last second and got a finger in my eye.
All of this was far behind us as we pulled into the parking lot last night. The lot is crowded with cars and parents leaving the zoo with their frozen children. Still, as we pull into the parking spot, I can’t help but tease him a little. “Ok, this time, turn the car off, put the keys in your pocket and then get out.” He ignores me (like he always does when I make this joke) and just smiles. I give him a quick kiss and try to get out, but he grabs my sleeve.
“I love you.”
“Yep, love you too.” Again, I try to get out. Again, I am grabbed.
“I love you more.”
“Ok, for real, get out of the car. It’s 30 degrees outside and I didn’t get bundled up so we could hang out in the parking lot.” I manage to make it out of the car this time. Kyle also gets out and shuts the door…with the engine still running.
“Are you being serious? The car is still on. Seriously, what is wrong with you when it comes to this parking lot?”
“Kyle, I’m f#^@ing freezing and if I don’t see some lights in the next ten seconds, I’m going to flip out.”
In response, he just stands there smiling at me and I stomp around to the other side of the car, assuming he’s going to show me the rust spots on the side of the driver’s door for about the eight hundreth time (he’s been bugging me for a new car for months). Instead, when I walk around, he holds out a giant ball with little legs.
It’s Rhino, the hamster from Bolt (new Disney movie), and I love him madly. We have a hamster so everything I’ve seen from the movie just delights me. I’m instantly non-irritated and take the stuffed animal, cuddling his little circular body. I’m just about to say thank you, when Kyle does something totally unexpected.
He drops to one knee.
As other zoo members walk around us and murmer to each other, Kyle Morgan holds out a small stuffed Mickey Mouse and says, “Will you marry me?” I’m so completely shocked that it just adds to the delight. Of course, this is the third proposal. The first was quiet and romantic, but rather spur of the moment. The second was silly and fun, on the steps of a Cincinnati restaurant after we’d finally gotten my ring. But this last one, with Kyle holding out a Mickey in the same place we stood four years earlier, is perfect.
And then it gets better. I notice that Mickey has something stuck to his nose. At first I think it’s something the price tag used to be attached to, but as I look closer, I realize that it’s a Mickey Mouse ring. Just to keep you in the loop, I’m afraid I need to do another flashback…
We’re in WDW and we’re not dating but I love him madly. For this reason, my heart jumps up into my throat when Kyle casually asks me which of the rings that I’m browsing is the one he should get me when he proposes. He’s teasing me, of course, but it’s one of those teasing moments that you positively live for when you’re crazy in love with your best friend. I put on my fake-serious face and scour the racks for the perfect ring. It’s small, silver, and has a single crystal Mickey on it. I hand it to him and tell him he might as well just buy it now, to save time. I admit that I’m honestly just a bit disappointed when he laughs and puts it back…
I had no idea he remembered that moment. I didn’t even remember it until I saw the ring. But there it was, stuck on Mickey’s nose and just the ring I’d wanted him to propose with. Like I said, completely perfect.
And, for your viewing pleasure, some loveliness from the rest of our cozy, hot cocoa-ed night…
The cutest boy in the world.