A Scandalous Story of Love: Filled with What?!



I didn’t know Duff was a holiday scrooge until our first December in North Carolina arrived.

I broached the subject of procuring a small pine tree.

You know…to decorate with handmade ornaments and cover in festive lights.

He seemed at best uninterested.

The word ‘hassle’ may have been tossed around.  Perhaps he questioned the whole tradition and wondered if it was a ‘waste of time’.

I was pretty presuasive back then though. Still am. ;)

He dutifully came along and managed to help me shove a meager evergreen specimen, generously spilling forth needles, into the back of our Civic.

We carried it up the flight of stairs into our cozy apartment, and after much effort, managed to erect our first Christmas tree in a newly purchased stand.

Wasn’t this suppose to be one of those warm and fuzzy moments in a couple’s journey?

I had imagined playfully decorating the tree together with moments of undying affection sprinkled in the mix…

Christmas carols playing in the background, warm firelight crackling nearby, and two large mugs of hot chocolate.

This wasn’t playing out exactly the way I’d expected.

Where was his warmth and enthusiasm?

He seemed to be merely tolerating this ‘decking of the halls’.  I was a bit concerned.

I mean after all, my expectations were flying high this year.

I had it in my head that this would be the Christmas.

The Christmas when he got down on one knee and made me an honest woman.


As the day grew closer, my nerves were rattled.

I hadn’t noticed any suspicious behavior what-so-ever.

I hadn’t happened upon any evidence or clues that might suggest he planned to pop the question.

He hadn’t consulted me about ring style or casually brought me by a jewelry store to peruse the selection.

What if he was up to absolutely nothing?

I’d made it pretty clear he needed to be forthright about his intentions.

Why did he seem hesistant to move forward with marriage?

Was it conformity to an understood norm that bothered him or was he unsure about me?

What if Christmas morning arrived and I just received the standard gift gesture from my boyfriend of three years?

What would that mean?

I pushed the idea out of my head and tried to prepare myself for anything and everything.


Christmas morning 1995 was a quiet affair.  It was just the two of us and our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

I was jittery though and my stomach was busy doing flip flops.

This was probably the result of a very large cup of creamy java and my preoccupation with whether my life was about to take a dramatic turn.

I studied him.

He seemed so calm.  Collected.

I tried to read him…


He was so composed he almost came across as bored, just going through the motions for my benefit.


He had nothing.  Nothing.

I just knew it.


What had I carefully selected, wrapped, and placed under the tree for him that year, you ask?

I have no earthly clue.  Not the slightest smidge of a memory.  I’ve blocked it out.

This Christmas was apparently all about me.

My eyes were fixed upon the medium-sized package that had magically appeared overnight for moi.

I tried my hardest to figure out what could possibly be inside.

He was playing it so cool, it was unnerving.

I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, before I began to ceremoniously unwrap the gift.

I needed to prepare myself, guard myself from possible disappointment.  I needed to be thankful for whatever this box might contain.

I pulled back the tissue paper, revealing a brown and blue Esprit bag, which I had spotted at the mall several months back and really liked.

Does Esprit still exist or did it phase out in the 90′s?  Never mind.

Now see..that was really thoughful of him I told myself.  He knew and remembered what I had liked and went back and got it for me.  Sweetness.

I don’t recall whether I was instructed to open the bag or simply looked out of curiosity, but I found a Golden Retriever stuffed animal tucked inside.

I loved Golden Retrievers.

I also discovered a pair of Santa socks, small enough for an infant.

Huh?  It was as though he was trying to tell me he was pregnant or something.

Wait…it gets stranger still.


He prompted me to move forward with the process by pointing to the tag attached to the puppy’s hind quarters.

The tag read:


followed by the tagline

“Filled with Love”,

which he had strategically underlined.

I found his eyes and made it clear that I was puzzled.

I flipped the dog around in my hands and found no further clues.

He pointed toward the nether regions of the animal and I discovered a small slit, cut into the seam, just beneath the puppy’s tail.

Okay…this is a bit odd.

Why in tarnation would he burry something in this location?

I believe he considered proximity to the “Filled with Love” clue on the tag of the utmost importance.  There is no other explanation.

I probed my index finger into the hole. Weird, right?

And pulled out a round diamond solitaire engagement ring.

This was the most lucrative rectal exam I had ever performed.

I was stunned.

I had wanted this so badly that my first reaction was relief instead of joy.

How had he managed to surprise me like this?

Boy. He was much better at the covert than I had ever given him credit for. (Mental note: Keep your eye on that man.)

He explained how much he loved me…

How he wanted to have babies with me (holding up the Santa socks)…

How he planned to spend the rest of his life with me…

He asked me to marry him…

and of course,

I said,  ”Yes!”



  1. I just read this AGAIN. :) <3

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