Sometime during my sweaty shuttling between the flower place, the jeweller and the cake place, I took a moment to run my fingers over the contents of my pockets: ring on one side, keys on the other. Proposing to one’s girlfriend on the same day you get possession of your new townhouse is guaranteed to make your life all kinds of interesting at once, and while the tangibility of the keys and the ring came close to being the thrill I’d been anticipating, the reality was not being able to enjoy it properly. A couple of hours remained before the Big Question was to be popped, and preparations wouldn’t make themselves.
Every week from now until I get hitched in (probably) late June, I’ll share my thoughts on the metamorphosis presently transforming me from boyfriend to fiancé to husband. Let’s get you up to speed first.
I first met my fiancée through friends, precisely four years before the late June day when I proposed to her. We started dating that fall, fell in love sometime thereafter, and experienced a couple of years of the expected ups and downs. During a sans-girlfriend three-week trip to Australia to serve as a groomsman in a friend’s wedding last January, I discovered I could not stop thinking and talking about the beautiful, funny, driven and sometimes difficult woman I’d been getting to know for the previous 3½ years. (My yammering must have bored some frankly intriguing Aussie women on the bride’s side.) Anyway, I realized my girlfriend had been destined all along to become my wife.
We were condo hunting at the time, a sign I was already serious. I decided, despite the financial high-wire act that would be necessary, to propose once we’d become homeowners. By that time, this would be the only way to surprise her.
The final plan was to ambush her at the house with an unexpected housewarming celebration of Champagne and some treats. I hid the ring in a box meant for a cartoony Japanese key chain. I’d opened the package, removed the smiling watermelon trinket, and replaced it with the ring. I sealed the box back up with Krazy Glue.
Rewarding myself for my cleverness, I opened a can of Pilsner Urquell to take the edge off. I sat on the steps of our new patio, still empty of furniture, and waited for my life to change.
Image of the scene by Adam McDowell.