About a month into my relationship with Mary, I quoted a song saying "I want to love somebody, love somebody like you." At our 6th month, I told her I loved her, and she said the same to me. A year later, I bought the ring. It was an estate piece, three-stones and made of platinum. It was ideal for her, everything she wanted. But because I was still in school, and she was graduating that May, I needed to wait before I could ask the question, lest I risk a long engagement. And it was then that I came up with an idea.
About a week after Mary's graduation I was scheduled to go to Rome for two months for studying abroad. I told her I already had the ring, but that it was going to stay in my house back in Boston. She was thrilled to know of the ring's existence, but heartbroken for the distance I would be from her. I was already working on a plan, however. Her very first gift to me, pictured above, is what's known as a "scapular." It's a religious (Catholic) cloth-necklace of sorts, worn as a testament of believe. She got one with a picture of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the saint whom I'm named after, on it. Into this, I sewed the ring. And went onward over to Rome.
In Rome, I had several pictures of me taken with the ring hidden in plain sight. I was paranoid with it, always making sure my sewing job didn't come undone, or that the ring hadn't fallen out. I took it everywhere I went. It went to ancient ruins such as the Colosseum, the Triumphal Arch, the Forum, and Ostia Antica. It went to beautiful churches: Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and perhaps a dozen more. It went to Florence, to Porto San Giorgio, to Palermo, to Agrigrento (those last two being in Sicily). It went into the Vatican, and there was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI (earned some awesome Catholic points there). And then, after one incredibly interesting return home...
("there is no train to Catania in the afternoon,","the bus station is over there, "we're driving close to the brush fires in Sicily," "you are out of money," "you missed the connecting flight, we're putting you in a hotel in Lisbon," "the baggage wasn't checked out when you guys left the airport yesterday," "the bus broke down, we need to wait for another one...")
... I finally found her in the airport and hugged my greatest hug. However, I still needed to wait.
All the way until November 10th. It was torture waiting that long, talking to her with the ring less than a foot from her. She had no idea. She searched me a couple times for it, digging into my pockets. It was at this sports bar near her apartment that she said, jokingly, "Ya know, I've waited soooooo long now." Oh have you now? Well, I guess it's finally time then. Long engagement or not, I can wait no longer.
I drove her back to the apartment and waited a bit too long in the car. She was confused. I put a small hole into the scapular using a knife (a hole that I will never repair) and produced the ring. I exited, went around the car, opened her door, got on one knee, and told her that it had been everywhere. It'd been to Rome. It'd been with me every day she saw me. I told her I loved her and could not be without her. And then I asked her to marry me. And she said yes.