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This weekend, a carefully orchestrated plan came together and I emerged forever changed. It started with an innocent pancake breakfast and a walk on the beach at low tide. Then, I asked my girlfriend, Stephanie, to marry me.

I did it the old fashioned way, with a ring. People have given rings to symbolize their engagement since the time of the Roman Empire, exchanging bands bearing the image of two hands clasped together. In 1477, an archduke gave his beloved the first known diamond engagement ring, starting the modern love affair with shiny carbon stones.

Five hundred years later, I continued the tradition — saving my freelance writing money, kneeling down amid the pebbles and barnacles and holding out a shimmering diamond ring. A friend in a nearby kayak snapped photos. I asked a question. She said yes (and literally snatched the ring from my hand before hauling me to my feet).

As we walked around the bend, Stephanie’s family was cheering for us and popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. I breathed a sigh of relief, not because I was worried about her saying no, not because I was worried that some part of the plan would fail (What if she doesn’t want pancakes? What if she doesn’t want to walk on the beach? What if she recognizes the kayaker?), and not because I was worried about the future.

I sighed because I finally feel like I’m in the right place. It’s the same feeling I get while reading a great book when I know I’m close to the end of a chapter. I can feel this chapter drawing to a close and I’m ready to start the next one. For months now, I’ve felt like I’m at the end of this chapter, with all signs pointing toward the next page.

This weekend, I turned the page and dove into the next adventure in my — our — ongoing story.

 — 30 —

Jonny Eberle is a newly engaged writer living in Tacoma, WA. When he isn’t basking in happiness, spending quality time with his fiancée or thinking about planning next summer’s festivities, you can generally find him among disreputable company on Twitter.

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