His eyes shine. She is prettier than ever. Embarrassed at how he intends to proceed, he admires his initiative, but her surprised look dampens his confidence. His smile turns nervous as the surrounding chatter reminds him he is in public. Shocked by what she anticipates, she clasps hand to mouth. Nevertheless, having pushed back his plate and with small box in hand, he slides off his seat onto one knee.
Stupefied by his well-planned but uncomfortable slide to his knees, he begins to stutter. “I have s-s-s-something for you” as he fumbles with the box. She senses what comes next. He carries the box on dates, but he could never muster the courage to carry out his plan. Conditions were never perfect, so his confidence waned. Frustrated at previous malfunctions of good intention, courage abounds tonight and he moves. Then he notices patrons nearby as their chatter fades, and they turn to observe. His determination soars out of fear he may weaken.
Holding forth the open box with ring standing upright, he shows it to her. As she begins to happily weep, he stammers rapidly.
“Sweetheart, I want you to be mine. We are too unsettled together, and those other guys think they can outdo me. They don’t deserve you, but I do. You deserve me more than any of them. Why? Because I can’t live without you and want us to be together for life. I got your father to say it’s okay to ask you to marry me.”
Waiting for an answer to a question never asked, he pauses.
His having not previously been demonstrative with affectionate words, her surprise at his wordy proposal matches that of his bold presentation. Is he opening up emotionally? Will it continue? Who is this new man she now faces? Fascinated by his unique presentation, she forgets to give a yes or no.
Hand to his shoulder as if knighting him, she radiates pleasure and one could almost see the ‘finally’ in her face. She leans over, kisses him gently, and embraces him still on his knees. Restaurant onlookers cheer.
Smiling energetically, she keeps nodding her head up and down. Waiting to hear a confirming word, he forgets the ring. He stands and re-seats himself. Their hands meet at table-edge as ring passes with a ceremonial flourish from box to finger.
With neither direct question nor direct answer, they seal their intent to join hands with matrimonial adhesion full of her hope and his determination for his new life. Two become one, both become us. Hidden within his proposal, she missed his self-pledge about personal responsibility. What she doesn’t know will change the nature of their life together, provided she does not cause him to abort his intentions.
Over dessert, they make some plans. He turns the preparations and ceremonial affairs over to her and her mother. After weeks of plans and arrangements, he vows to appear dressed as specified at the appointed time and altar. Feeling responsible and in charge of what their life will be after the honeymoon, it strikes him proud. Energized by thoughts of her presence, he had already upgraded plans for his future with her alongside.
To be continued….
marital success, he proposes, he’s on one knee,