I’m a true believer in fate. As corny as it may sound, I think Rodney and I were simply meant to be. My intended loved me way back in the fourth grade, when–outwardly–I was a gangly, geeky little brown girl deep in the throes of pre-adolescent angst. Inside, of course, I thought I had it going on. So did he. In 1995, we found our way back to each other and began dating in earnest. But we broke up 18 months later. Last year we rekindled our romance. During our time apart, I think we both had a chance to mature–making us better for each other the second time around. It soon became clear that this was it. That said, I still didn’t see the whole proposal thing coming. At all! This is our story:

Vonetta’s Side:

the vibe: We were doing the cute, mushy couple thing in New York City. Strolling around hand-in-hand and making people sick with our lovey-dovey carrying on. Rodney fits me like a glove. He makes me feel like a queen even with a head cold, PMS, morning breath and toothpaste on my face. That’s love, y’all. The kind of brother I can grow old with.

the set-up: Rodney wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. We stopped in the middle to chill. He came up behind me, kissing me on the back of my neck. Cute, I thought— He is the affectionate type. But I still played the coy move. You know the one, ladies-batting the eyes and sweetly asking, “Oh, where did that come from?” Rodney then took a deep breath and launched into how much I mean to him.

the big moment: Rodney’s words all seemed to blend into a background “wah-wah-wah,” like the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher. See, I was transfixed by what was happening in front of me, playing out in slow motion. Rodney was reaching into his pocket, pulling out a small black box. I thought, “Oh, hell naw. I know that’s not what I think it is…” Rodney: (voice back from wah-wah land) “…will you be my wife?” I stood speechless staring at ring, mouth agape in shock. A little voice in my head said “Say yes, fool!” snapping me out of the daze. “Yes!”

the prologue: Marriage? Bring it!

Rodney’s Side:

the vibe: I wanted the proposal to be special, something we would always remember. But, it had to feel natural. Nothing about our relationship had ever been forced or contrived. So I wasn’t about to start now. Ever since the fourth grade, something about Vonetta has had a hold on me. Maybe it was her eyes. Big, soulful ones that look right through you.

the set-up: It was an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon. We were hanging out in lower-Manhattan and had lunch at a local pizza shop. At this point, I was sure, Vonetta was getting suspicious. I was too nervous to think about eating; and she knows I can always get a grub on. Afterward, I suggested we take a long walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. We live in Connecticut, so visiting the Brooklyn Bridge has been one of top-three things on my to-do list. The others are seeing the Eiffel Tower and a Lenny Kravitz live performance. Since Vonetta’s the only one for me, it seemed a fitting place to ask her to be my wife. Besides, I want her with me when I tackle the other two.

the big moment: Halfway over the bridge, while she stopped to read one of the historical plaques, I kissed the nape her neck and said “I love you.” You’d think at this point, she’d be used to hearing those words, right? But she turned and asked, “What brought that on?” Bam! I had her. I slowly pulled the ring out of my pocket and said “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife?

the prologue: We don’t complete each other; we compliment each other. Vonetta doesn’t need me. She has own income, her own goals. I love that. She’s the one.