The emails from Etsy kept coming faster than I could stop them.
They were letting her know the ring was ready. That the ring had been shipped. That the ring had arrived. I felt like Julius Caesar in reverse. “I came. I saw. I ruined the surprise.”
I was continuing my attempts at gaslighting. I was determined to keep the lie going no matter what. I felt just like Kellyanne Conway.
“Someone must have hacked your account,” I said.
“Oh really? They hacked my account to let me know that they were shipping me an engagement ring?”
“Fake news. Obvious and total fake news.”
The ring arrived on a Saturday. The office signed for it and I picked it up on Monday morning. It was here. It was time. All I had to do was figure out when and where to do it.
I didn’t want to do it right away. I needed to wait long enough to plant the smallest seed of doubt. To throw her off ever so slightly. But I also couldn’t wait too long, because as I mentioned before, Jaimie and this ring had a mystical connection. She knew it was here. At some point she was going to tear the house apart looking for it.
I decided to do it Sunday morning. She loves when I make her pancakes, so between the time the pancakes hit the coffee table and we douse them in syrup, I could pop the question. I would say something sweet like, “This is my favorite time of the week, and I want it to be my favorite time of the week forever. Will you marry me?” Or, “If you ever eat someone else’s pancakes, I’ll kill them. Will you marry me?
But Jaimie isn’t really a morning person. To foist a question like that upon her before she’s had her caffeine seemed problematic. You don’t want the answer to be, “Yes! Now pass me my tea.”
Also I didn’t really want to do it at our apartment. We rent. One day hope to own. If she wanted to show someone where I proposed to her I didn’t want her to have to drive by Ardmore Howell road at 40 miles per hour. It had to be in public. Preferably somewhere downtown. There was this little courtyard near the Warehouse Theatre, near where she does Shakespeare in the Park, that I thought would be perfect. I thought it would be nice to have it be somewhere she passed all the time. Somewhere she would think of me often.
Wednesday afternoon I told Jaimie I wanted to take her to dinner on Friday night. “Let’s go to Tako Sushi.” Tako Sushi is a restaurant downtown that is a combination of Mexican food and Sushi. It sounds like a train wreck, but trust me, it is delicious.
There was also a strategic accept to Tako Sushi. While it is an undeniably delicious restaurant despite the questionable combination, it’s definitely not the place one goes to celebrate an engagement. So instead I got us a reservation at the Lazy Goat. The Lazy Goat, a restaurant that screams WE JUST GOT ENGAGED!
I made the reservation for 8:30. “Are you celebrating any special occasions,” the hostess asked.
“We are,” I replied. “We will be celebrating our engagement.”
“Mighty confident of you.” That’s what I wished the hostess had said. That would have been incredible. Instead she squealed a little and said, “Oh my God that’s so sweet!”
Friday rolls around. Jaimie gets home from work at around 5pm, and she is exhausted. She teaches Pre-K, which means she gets yelled at by eighteen four year olds from 7:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. By the time she gets home from work on Friday she looks like she’s drunk and hung over at the same time. Monday- Thursdays after work she takes a nap on the couch. On Fridays she gets naked and goes right to bed. I wouldn’t call it a nap so much as I would call it a cry for the reform of our educational system.
I was so mad at myself. What was I thinking! Why did I decide to propose on a Friday! What a rookie move. But it was my only choice. Saturday was out because we were visiting a friend. Sunday was out for reasons I mentioned before. I couldn’t wait another week because she was eventually going to find it. This was it. This was my only chance!
Right before she passed out I reminded her that I wanted to take her out for dinner. “Yeah…dinner…” she said, as sleep enveloped her body.
5 turned to 6. 6 turned to 7. I took a shower and started to get dressed. 7 turned into 7:30. Jaimie was still naked. Still under the covers. Still fast a fucking sleep.
“Um…baby…” I said as softly as I could. “Remember I wanted to take you out to dinner tonight.”
“I made us a reservation. It’s for 8:30. It’s at Tako Sushi.”
“Why would you make a reservation at Tako Sushi?”
“I don’t really have an answer for that. Do you think you might want to consider about possibly getting up maybe?”
“Ugh I’m so sleeeeeppppyyy.”
“I know, but remember on Wednesday I said I wanted to take you out tonight?”
“Fine, but I’m not getting cute.” That’s what she said as she finally opened her eyes. She took a long, suspicious look at me. “Why is your hair combed?”
“Oh is it combed? I couldn’t tell-“
“And why are you wearing a button up shirt?”
“Because…um… Tako Sushi?”
Jaimie squinted her eyes at me. I squinted my eyes back at her.
“Ok,” she said as she threw the covers off. “Looks like I’ll be getting ready.” She walked to the closet. Grabbed a red sun dress. Headed to the bathroom, and shut the door behind her.
Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of The Engagement.