“It’s almost 7 p.m. I may soon be leaving for home. Hope it will be convenient for you to drive me home,” she said.
“Don’t be ridiculous!” I censured, grimacing. “Of course I can drive you home. You need not even ask. Anything for my baby girl,” I added, wondering whether I sounded inane or trite.
By then we had both finished our meals, but we were still downing champagne from our wineglasses. I began to think about whether to thereupon get down on one knee or not. I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to propose. But I soon decided that the time had come—my moment of truth.
“There’s something I’ve been willing to do for some time, and I think now is the right time,” I started, in the same old not-so-ingenious way.
She gave me a puzzled stare. Then she said, before I could continue, “You’ve been acting strange since we got here. If you’re going to break up with me, let it not be tonight. I really don’t think I can handle it.”
“Why would you even think that?” I immediately refuted, surprised by what I was hearing. “I’m not breaking up with you. I am doing the opposite, as a matter of fact.”
I stood up, paced to her side of the oval table, and then got down on one knee. She gave me an even more puzzled stare.
“I don’t know how to begin this,” I then said. “Like you said, we’ve been together for three years now. I’m convinced that you’re the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. All you have to say now is yes.” I brought out the black box containing a diamond-studded ring from my pocket. I wasn’t sure if I should have brought out the box first, before getting on one knee. Yet I didn’t care. All I needed to hear was a yes from her.
She stared blankly at me, impassively, without uttering any word. Perhaps the people around, in the restaurant, were watching the melodrama that was going on. This was a day to not be shy though. I remained on my knee, though it began to hurt slightly. My kneecap, that is.
Her blank stare at me then broke. She looked the other way for a while, looked back at me and said, “I must confess, I’m somewhat surprised. I didn’t expect this at all.” Her stare was no longer blank now. It was the kind that is wrought with rejection or so I believed. I despaired a bit, wondering if I had made a fool of myself, if I were deluded to think she’d agree to my proposal.
I wasn’t good at hearing no for an answer. To say the least, I wasn’t ready to hear no on this very day—the day I have decided to make the most important decision of my life.
While I despaired in thought, still on one knee, a smile began to form on her face. Her look softened. Then she whispered yes. She slipped the ring into her finger, thereafter, in slow motion or so it seemed.
“Of course I’ll marry you!” she then exclaimed excitedly. “You have no idea how much I have actually been waiting for this day. I only hesitated to see your reaction and to punish you a little for catching me off-guard.”
I was ecstatic. Spasms of emotion ran from my head down to my toes. Perhaps my face must have been more flushed than how it was when she told me how much she enjoys being around me. I victoriously stood up, easing my left aching, bended knee.
“Since when have you been planning this?” she then asked me. She always wanted the details. Even though unnecessary, however, I was willing to explicate.
“For about a month or so,” I said, in reply to her question. “I realized how much I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And I know you wouldn’t give me the kiss I wanted so desperately, until we get married. I’m really glad you said yes though. I don’t know what I would have done had you declined. Maybe I would have jumped off a cliff.”
She laughed heartily to my contrived humorous statement.
Then she said, “you can’t have that kiss you talked about, but a hug will suffice.”
Being the man I was, I immediately took a plunge, holding her against me tightly, in an embrace. “I never said smother me,” she then said jokingly, slipping out of my embrace.
“Frankly speaking, I’m very happy about this, maybe more happy than you are,” she then said, rather truthfully. “At some point I was wondering if you were serious about our relationship. I’m not really the kind of person that accords well with long courtships. Moreover, a couple of friends had warned me to stay away from you, saying you were only interested in my body, and you’d be gone if I made the mistake of giving you what you, so to speak, desire. You’ve proven otherwise. And I’m glad you did so.”
“I’m also glad you didn’t listen to them, that you trusted me enough to still be with me,” I added.
It really didn’t matter what anybody thought about me. What mattered was that the love of my life had agreed to be my bride. Soon we would begin to make arrangements for a formal introduction to her parents and my single parent. Then we would be set to tie the nuptial knots in an honourable way. And of course, I would get my kiss, with tongue if possible.
“Let’s leave now,” I suggested. I beckoned at the waiter who brought the champagne we had drunk. I tipped him, and then headed out with my bride-to-be. That I was overjoyed was an understatement.
Her yes to my dinner proposal was the beginning of the next phase of my life; a phase that had eluded me for a long time; a phase I was glad to proceed into with the right one. Her yes also greased my masculine ego somewhat. Like the archetypal male, I had hunted and caught game. Not that I regarded her as game, but game in a figurative sense.
We walked outside the restaurant rather majestically, or so I thought. I had finally succeeded in checking a task off my to-do list for the day. I had had a very bad day, before that dinner. A very important deal I had expected to seal had fallen through. But somehow, I believed she would say yes to the proposal I had for her. And that would inevitably make my day. Perhaps I was overly assuming. But many thanks that events played out positively.
The automated doors opened as we stepped on the sensor, which was actually a rectangular mat close to it. The atmosphere, outside, was cold and dark. It had rained. Smog engulfed the streets and headlamps of passing vehicles shone brightly.
“It’s quite cold,” she said.
To that effect, I put my suit’s jacket over her. “Hope you’re warmer now,” I said, smiling.
“You didn’t have to.”
“Of course I do. You’re to be the mother of my children. Your discomfort is now my responsibility,” I responded affectedly.
She laughed out loud after I said this; at how so dramatic I had become all of a sudden. We walked to my red CRV, parked outside the restaurant, hopped into it, and made our way into the smoggy, dark road.