He said

A few years back, I posted the beginnings of our engagement story, wherein I basically proposed marriage to myself.  Today I ran across a folder of old papers and saw that it included G's version of the engagement story, written shortly after we were married. (We took a writing class together at the end of university and decided to each write our own side of our engagement saga for one of the assignments. It seemed like a good idea at the time.) 

So, with G's permission (and in honor of our anniversary this week + for posterity's sake), here's a peek into his side of the story:


"Um, excuse me ma'am," I stammer. "I would like to look at engagement rings." There, I said it.  But now comes the difficult part. Which one? After looking at what must have been 35 different rings I find the perfect one.  The saleswoman asks "Cash or charge?"  I hesitate as I ponder the possibility of Annie refusing my offer of marriage.  "Cash."

After placing the ring in the security of my car's glovebox, I contemplate what I have done.  I am taking Fate by the hand and guiding her toward my future, risking not just my bank balance but my own heart. 

At work the next day I am besieged by friends questioning my ability to remain single. I lie. I assure them that engagement is in the distant future. Even as I speak the ring patiently waits in my car for its moment of glory.

Finally the work day is over and the time comes to trek the couple of hours to where my fiance-to-be is attending school. After a year of commuting between schools, the drive should have become easier, and it has...until now. Throughout the two-hour drive, I run through every scenario: What if she says no. What if she says yes?

The whole evening has been planned out. I will take her to a fountain in the center of town and offer a dessert, complete with champagne glasses, candles, and linen. After that I will kneel down and propose.

My thoughts drift to last year when I cast a quarter over my shoulder into that same fountain, wishing to marry Annie. This plan brings it full circle. My knees start shaking right there in the car. "Okay," I tell myself. "Take control. How will you ever ask her if you get this nervous sitting in the privacy of your own car?" 

I arrive and my heart beats faster. "In two hours," I tell myself, "you will be an engaged man." That thought haunts me until I see Annie. She greets me at her apartment with no idea of the hell I am experiencing. Her placid composure only emphasizes my internal anxiety. If she only knew.

Annie suggests we eat at the Underground, a restaurant that happens to be right across from the fountain. "Perfect," I think. "After dinner we'll walk over to the fountain."

Dinner passes in nervous anticipation. I make lame small talk about work and ask about her classes. Between the salad and the main course my stomach begins to ache. I think I'll tough it out but the pains increase. I can't finish my meal.  Even after Annie goes and buys some Pepto Bismol for me, my stomach is still very upset. Nerves? I have to call it a night and head to my friend's apartment for the night without asking Annie to marry me.  I'm in such rough shape that she drops me off and takes my car with her back to her apartment.  As she pulls away, I remember the ring and picnic supplies are in the back of the car so I wave her down. She rolls down the window. "Don't forget to lock the car," I say. 

"Okay, got it," she smiles.

(to be continued...)

To catch up on my side of the story, read A Modest Proposal and A Modest Proposal ii 
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To read the next installment, go here.