He promptly friended me on Facebook and a few nights later we stayed up til 5am sending progressively longer messages to each other. We decided that we should meet after church the next Wednesday to talk further over coffee. He (evidently) couldn't wait to see me again and came by my work in the interim - I was surprised, but pleased. When we went to Arsaga's we stayed until they closed, then went to IHOP til 1am because we weren't finished talking.
A few days later I went hiking around Lake Fayetteville with he and a friend of his and their dogs. Up to that point I wouldn't let myself like him. I'd known him for less than 2 weeks, and I'd been hurt through "friendship" too many times to be willing to open up to the possibility of correspondingly deeper pain. But it was getting harder to fight. We saw each other nearly every day; he met my family and I met his, and two weeks after the sweater party (and following a discussion several hours long about our convictions on the subject) we decided to date (with the potential of marriage in mind.)
Then he left for a mission trip to Sri Lanka for a few weeks. We wrote each other letters that we exchanged when he got back. We also took that time to pray about pursuing a relationship and came back together still wanting to get to know each other on a deeper level.
So on January 15, he manfully asked my dad's permission to date me; and then he asked mine, with a pair of pearl earrings he'd gotten on his trip. I (of course) said yes.
We did the funnest, most random things together. I think we've gone on what societal convention calls a "date" maybe a handful of times. We hung out at his parents' house, hiked, painted, raked leaves, played board games with my grandparents... and talked. A lot.
On Valentine's Day we wrote each other letters and swapped. And both of us said (with much similarly worded preamble) "I love you." It was great that we chose the same time, and both chose to write over saying it aloud.
But we said "I love you" out loud plenty after that. He came by my work for a hug, I left notes on his truck; we went to church together, babysat, watched movies... and talked. A lot.
He brought me along to a wedding he was part of in May. I caught the bouquet (which I found more amusing than predictive) and he coaxed me into dancing (first and only person to ever succeed at that.)
And then I moved to New York City for the summer for a job I had wanted since I was 15 and first learned to knit. We both cried when I left - I've never cried over leaving anyone before. I wanted this, and he'd encouraged me to pursue my dream - but, oh! it was hard to go.
I like New York - the busyness suits my personality, and I really like my temporary job. The time apart has grown us both in ways we could never have grown had we been together. But I missed him - so much.
After 8 weeks apart, he drove up here from Arkansas to visit on his way to a military school in Maryland. I have never been so happy to see someone in my entire life.
We spent an afternoon in Central Park. I showed him a big rock that I like to sit and think on, and we climbed to the top and sat there, side by side. "I've been trying to think of ways to show you that I love you," he said, pausing as he fished through his bag; then he got down on both knees and held up a little hinged red velvet cube. I recognized it and stopped breathing. If he's proposing, I'm going to die. "This is the box that your dad proposed to your mom with," he began, "And the best way I could think of to show you that I love you," he opened it and the ring inside caught the sunlight as it filtered through the trees, "is to spend the rest of my life trying. Will you marry me?" I managed a "yes," slightly choked and slightly breathless. He slipped off my purity ring and slipped on the beautiful band he'd chosen. I hugged him, speechless and overcome with joy (and dizziness. I don't have the best sense of balance in everyday non-emotional situations, and just then it was really nice to have him to hold onto, for a lot of reasons.)
So on January 14, 2012, a love story that started with a sarcastic comment about a pink sweater will culminate (just over a year later) in the first day of the rest of our lives - together.