Chain me all you like, but please pound softly.

After reading Danielle’s engagement note and talking to her later on Skype about it, she reminded me that I still had to write my own how-it-happened epic note. So here I am, typing away, though I feel a little strange since most of the people who were around Chris and me during the past 18 months are roughly familiar with how we got together. This note is written for friends who got the barest details after I mumbled “It was, umm, you know, this and that… the end” when asked about how he proposed and how we met. For the longest time, I was hesitant about talking about the relationship because I didn’t think everyone could understand how it started.

Almost two years ago, I was minding my own business and bounty-hunting in a game I used to love. I wasn’t paying much attention but this big ass bounty with a big-level target showed up. Bailable was level 800+ and I was a puny 400 but I was sure I could crack his defense with enough persistence. I died a couple of times (in-game of course) while trying and when I finally got that billion bounty (yes, I am that old in-game), the f***er healed up, turned around and started attacking me to death. He couldn’t hear me swearing so instead of just giving his game profile the finger, I messaged him and told him to go ahead and chain me all you like, but please pound softly. He didn’t forget that message and the very brief annoying exchange that followed it because, after two months, he still remembered me when Kevin brought a bunch of us together for a group-bonding massacre. I just bought a new Sony VAIO and wanted to try the webcam. There were 7 people in that chatroom and I asked each and every one for a test video chat but they were all working, busy or didn’t have cams. And then the one I knew the least piped up “I have a webcam!” Well, what harm could a 2-5 minute chat do?

Apparently… A lot.

We ended up talking for 12 hours until we both felt like passing out. He hesitantly asked me how old I was since he didn’t want to be jailed for compromising a minor. I told him I was flattered but I was already 24. He confessed that he had Multiple Sclerosis and expected me to end the call. I told him I was epileptic and offered to show my MRIs. It became a daily habit, we became friends, and then a little more than friends. After 2 months I knew who I wanted to spend my life with so I just patiently waited for him to ask. We were not together physically for 18 long months (I had work-related issues) but did our best to give time for each other every single day. (Thank you, Skype!)

Even before meeting up, we knew what we had to do. We practically had the next 5 years planned out as the geographical distance was the first challenge in our relationship that we had to resolve. I was afraid and anxious, but I agreed to move to the New Jersey and leave my life in SA behind. He consulted a lawyer who advised us about what we had to do. I knew he was going to propose but I didn’t know when. I expected that Chris (I stopped calling him Bail after the first week) probably had something wonderful planned but I thought it would happen towards the end of the trip after we both pretty much made up our minds in case we had any doubts.

I landed a few hours earlier so I took a train to Heathrow 5 and waited for him to show up. As soon as he walked into the lobby, he saw me sitting beside my luggage with a big smile. Chris dropped his bags and cane and ran to me. Being a woman, I thought “the luggage!” and jumped up to meet him midway. He tried to kiss me and I turned away. He thought it meant I was disappointed and I told him that nice Filipina girls don’t kiss in places with a lot of people. So I dragged him and our respective bags to an empty sandwich bar for lunch and kissed him there.

The next day, I took him to the Big Ben, Palace of Westminster and the London Eye. While waiting in line at the Eye, I tried to hug him and put my cold hands in his pocket. He jumped away instantly. He seemed oddly distracted even while I was yapping away as we rose in the giant ferris wheel so I just took pictures and bullied him into posing for some. Later, I put the camera down, sighed, and said: “We’re at the top”. He made me stand on a certain spot then knelt in front of me holding a beautiful solitaire ring and asked The Question: “Stephanie Ann Fermazi, will you marry me?”

I was speechless and barely managed to whisper Yes! He didn’t hear me right so he nervously asked again. We laughed, kissed and basically made a scene in the pod. We had yakisoba and Japanese beer from a sidewalk stall to celebrate. Chris told the teenage guy on the counter all about the proposal. It started to rain while we were eating so we just laughed, packed up and took the train home. We talked to our respective families via Skype or over the phone and they’re all very happy for us. Mom threatened Chris a little and made sure he knew how special her little girl was. He either had a lot of practice from my passive-aggressive style when we fight or perhaps he just simply spoke from his heart because, in the end, my parents gave us their blessing. 🙂

Right now, we’re apart again. I’m back at work in Saudi Arabia while Chris is in New Jersey. But in a year, we’ll be together again. *knock on wood* My little sister isn’t thrilled about her Ate Steffi moving so far away but I promised her I would visit and that she could be the junior bridesmaid in the church wedding in the Philippines and wear the flowered crown and vyoyet (violet) dress she likes. And if she visits me, Kuya Kwits (Chris) and I will take her to Six Flags and maybe Disneyworld if she’s good. 🙂

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