Sunday, May 10, 2015

Reflection #22/40

When I was home for Christmas in 1998—I was living in Lexington at the time—I sat my parents down and told them that I was going to propose to Alice Van Brunt. I planned on doing this the old-fashioned way. Instead of having a frank and open conversation with Alice about the pros and cons of marriage, I wanted to surprise her with a ring. My mother immediately sprang into action and offered to help me find an engagement ring.

Alice had said, in earlier conv
ersations, that she didn’t care much about diamonds and had always wanted a pearl engagement ring. The woman working at London Gold insisted that you simply could not have a pearl engagement ring. Still, my mother, sister, and I were undeterred, and we found a beautiful pearl ring. My parents loaned me the money for the down-payment. I was not a rich man.

The ring was not ready right away. It had to be sized, or maybe we only saw the display copy, and they had to order one in? I don’t remember, but I didn’t get the ring until January. Once I had it, I invited Alice out on a date. She later told me that she should have been suspicious when I made reservations at a nice restaurant AND picked her up on time. The venue I chose was Regatta, a seafood place in Lexington Green that has since closed.

All through dinner I had the ring in my pocket, waiting for the right time, but it never felt quite right. For whatever reason, I had imagined myself being outdoors when I proposed. So I suggested we go take a walk in the park, and Alice agreed. As soon as we walked outside I realized that taking a walk in the park in January was fairly ridiculous, considering how cold it was, but I was committed now, and fortunately Alice didn’t complain.

On our drive to the park—it’s a very short drive, Shillito Park is right next to Lexington Green—Alice brought up, out of nowhere, the subject of marriage. She told me that, if I ever felt the need to propose, I didn’t need to worry about getting her a ring.

“Huh,” I said, and drove on to the park.

We got out of the car and walked a short ways. It was obviously too cold to walk for very long. Alice wanted to go back to the car. I told her to wait just a minute, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. She said yes.

Alice has since described me as a man made of regret, but proposing to her is something I have never regretted, and probably the best decision I ever made.

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