One from Anthony:
I asked Jo to marry me at a petrol station.
7 months prior to asking her to marry me I didn’t even know who she was. We were complete strangers. Jo had moved to Sydney with her family from Adelaide about two weeks before I returned to the Harbour City from my two year church missionary service. Now, I don’t believe in destiny. At all. Love at first sight? Pass. I don’t believe that two people are fated to be together. Our courses are not mapped out where all we have to do is follow the destiny assigned to us. It may not be all that romantic but I believe in choice. I believe that we are free to make our own choices and live with the consequences, both good and bad.
When I first met Jo- I didn’t fall in love with her on the spot or have a sensation inside me letting me know that she would be the girl that I marry- all I knew back then was that I liked being with her. She made me happy like nobody else ever had before nor has since. From the very first time that we went ‘out’ on a date, we were never far from each other. I’ll spare the hyperbole in fear of becoming sappy or cheesy if just to say that there are few experiences in life that compare with getting to know the person that you will spend eternity with. Damn it, still cheesy.
I was 21 years old and had never had a serious girlfriend. I had never been in love before so I didn’t have a real good measuring stick to gauge my emotions. I remember speaking with my Dad about it and he asked me, “What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of before you go to bed at night?” I knew what the answer was. Actually I knew who the answer was.
I told my brother Drew that I was going to ask Jo to marry me; I think he shrugged and maybe said “Sweet”, I can’t recall. Not long after, Drew and I went for a drive up to the Central Coast to find a romantic spot where I could ask the big question. Yup, that’s right. I asked Drew to give me some romantic advice. If you know me and my lack of romantic sense, then that’s quite funny. If you know Drew, then it’s hilarious. We found a few spots that we thought would be suitable, grabbed something to eat and shot off back home.
After asking permission of Jo’s Dad, Paul, I set out a sort of plan on how things were going to unfold. It was a Saturday morning, Jo and I went to our Church temple (the same place that we would later be married) to begin our day. I had the ring in my pocket and was feeling quite calm and relaxed after a spiritual beginning to the day. So far, so good. We headed for the F3 in my Holden Nova. I had a few of the spots that Drew and I scouted in my mind but there was no set plan, we would just hang out like we often did and when the moment presented itself, boom-shaka-laka.
We were past the Mooney Mooney bridge and the car started making weird noises. I know nothing about cars and comforted Jo’s uneasiness by saying “We should be sweet”. The noises stated to get louder and louder. We weren’t sweet. The car broke down and I had to Fred Flintstone it off the Ourimbah freeway through two roundabouts. There is a Shell Petrol Station just off the freeway that I managed to roll the car into off its momentum. It sucked.
I called the NRMA for some help. I figured some mechanic dude would come out bang a few things and we’d be back on the road to some remote beach shore where on bended knee I would ask Jo to marry me. Three hours later we were still waiting at the petrol station. While we patiently waited I ‘treated’ Jo to some microwave nachos from the Shell station. When the NRMA guy arrived he took one look under the hood and said “Mate, your (something or other car part) is gone. I’ll sort you out a tow”. My heart sank. Jo was a little more upbeat than me but she wasn’t the one with an engagement ring in her pocket.
The tow truck driver took over an hour to get to us. Waiting for the tow truck to arrive Jo and I were sitting in the broken down car when I caught a glimpse of what ‘our forever’ would be like. I had such high hopes for the day. My girlfriend was going to become my fiancé (a bit presumptuous I know). More than 4 hours hanging at a petrol station sucks on any day. It especially sucks on the day that you were planning on proposing to your girlfriend. Words can’t describe how disappointed I was. But Jo wouldn’t let me wallow. She made me forget everything and made me happy. At that thought when she turned my disappointment to nothingness and made me smile I thought to myself, “This is who I want to spend forever with”. In that moment it felt right to ask her to marry me… in a petrol station.
Things rarely go to plan. We have had almost 7 years of life not going quite to plan but through it all Jo has made me happy.