By Jonathan Cato

Seven months in the making. The road leading to the 5th of January was bumpy and had curves just like the girl who I took along the ride with me. The curves were smooth, like hers, but still gave me a feeling of exhilaration with each turn of the wheel. We never ran out of gas. We never needed it. All we had was the driving force of our love, which takes us to that day. January 5th, 2016.

It was a beautiful, sunny, but surprisingly chilly day. Surprising, only because this winter was the only winter that we had a 70 degree Christmas here in the NY/NJ area. Anyways, I got dressed and later boarded a train to New Brunswick where I’d meet my passenger, my right hand, my soon to be girlfriend. As I sat in the train, many thoughts raced in my mind. “What kind of flowers should I buy? Do I smell good? I hope my outfit isn’t too bad. I’m pretty hungry.” I sat there, worrying about all the minor details, but I never lost sight of what truly mattered. We were turning onto a new road in our relationship.

“Next stop, New Brunswick!” The train conductor said, over the loudspeaker. I was finally back at school, which felt weird, being that I was on winter break. Anchalee, my girlfriend, was still on her way to the train station, so I decided to keep warm at our local Barnes and Nobles (I purchased a copy of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. Great book, haven’t finished, but definitely recommend reading it) So she arrived, and we headed for my apartment because she was supposed to have a meeting at noon with her supervisor that day. Originally, I wanted to bring her to Belmar Beach and ask her there, but due to time constraints, I wasn’t allowed to. I didn’t even have time to buy her flowers but I didn’t fret!I had to think quickly and I thought of a pretty good substitution.

We dropped a couple things off at my apartment, and I quickly got dressed into a somewhat better outfit for the occasion. I wanted to keep things a surprise, so I decided that I was going to blindfold her. The drive to the spot was relatively close to Rutgers, which was great because I wanted to spend the most time with her before returning home that night. After about 10 minutes of driving, we finally arrived at Rutgers Gardens, a place I had suggested to visit as a date during the summer before our Fall semester. I parked the car and looked at the map of the Garden’s grounds and I saw what I thought was gonna be a good spot to ask her, the bamboo forest. Still blindfolded, I helped Anchalee out the car and we walked towards the forest. From outside, it seemed pretty mysterious. I could barely tell what paths they had inside. 

As we entered, I realized that it was a bit lackluster. It was shady, and all I could see was a small creek that had barely frozen over from the cold. I felt pretty bad, I didn’t think this place was worthy enough for her and the occasion. After walking a couple more feet into the forest, I found an opening. There was plenty of sunlight to keep us warm and a bench where I could sit her down. I began to record on my phone what was going to be a very special moment for the two of us. I took off her blindfold and to my surprise, she actually liked it! 

Now, down to business. I got on one knee...just kidding! We’re not quite there yet! Anyways, armed with a silver Casio watch that she’d been wanting for quite some time now, I asked her to be my girlfriend. I have to give credit to her big, Aleyssi, who had given me the idea to do that. It was quite “punny”, I must say. “Finally, after seven’s about TIME! (I brought out the watch when I said this) that I ask you to be my girlfriend.” It was great, she said yes, and I’ve never seen her crack a smile bigger than at that moment. She was mine, finally mine.