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JoAnna G.

My fiancé Roland and I have been together for six years. Our story has a lot of interesting turns. We met online when I was 17. The internet was still very new and I was very young. One day while online, I received an instant message from Roland saying, "Hi!" and talking away about how school was and what he was up to. I quickly told him that I had no idea who he was and he must be mistaken. My screen name at the time was joannag, and he thought he was talking to a girl he had a major crush on in school who's name happened to be Joanna G.

We ended up talking online and emailing each other for four years without ever meeting. I thought everyone would have thought I was crazy for talking to this guy who I accidentally met online. After that summer, school started up again, and for one reason or another I stopped going online for a year and we lost touch. So one day I decided to go online and check my emails after all this time. To my surprise I saw that he was online, so I asked if he remembered me and how he was. He said that he did and that he had just graduated.

I thought "Man, he is just now graduating? He was year ahead of me. What a loser." But when I asked, "From high school?" he said, "No! The Marines! I'm home on leave for a week." I asked if we could meet. He agreed, and from the time we met, we were inseparable. There was just one little problem - he was in United States Marine Corps and stationed in Camp Pendelton, California, and I was only a senior in high school living in Texas. We were young and dumb, so we decided to date anyway.

On a whim, we jokingly waltzed into a jewelry store to see if the retailers would actually show us wedding rings, and to our surprise they did. That was the day I found the most beautiful wedding ring I have ever seen. Six years later, and two years out of the Marine Corps for Roland, I was in college and in a sorority. It is a tradition we have in our sisterhood that whenever you get engaged, you only tell your "big sister" and the president, but keep it a secret from the rest of the girls. After meeting on Monday night, the lights went off, a candle was lit, the girls formed a circle, and the candle worked its way around the circle of sisters one time for friendship, a second time for a promise ring or a third time for an engagement.

When the candle passed three times, all of the girls in this circle were staring me down because they thought Roland had proposed, but we were not engaged. The candle got to me on the third cycle, and I passed it to my sister. She wouldn't take it from me.

I was so confused, and all the girls were looking at me like I was trying to pretend that it wasn't me. I tried to send it back the opposite way, and the president, Carmen, refused to take it as well. I was standing there holding the candle that I knew was NOT mine. I was NOT engaged, so I was not going to blow it out. Then the doors to our living room opened and I saw my dad, my mom and Roland. I automatically knew when I saw my dad and he was holding a beautiful bouquet of pink roses what was going on.

Every one of my sisters gasped and could not believe their eyes. Roland came into the room, and I could feel the circle shift and the room get smaller. Roland had been planning this for months with the help of my real sister Jennifer, the president, Carmen and a couple of my very close sisters. He proposed in front of everyone. It was amazing, and the ring was the ring I had seen six years before and fell in love with. He had it all along, hidden in his dad's safe.

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