The Proposal

“Will you marry me?”

Those four words had seemed so elusive and magical only moments ago. A proposal was romantic and defining, the subject of many women’s dreams. The beautiful setting, the down-on-one-knee, the confession of love, and finally, the diamond ring. All of these culminated to form one of the most classic scenes of love, and I can’t say that I didn’t have similar hopes.

Yet, my current exasperation reflected none of these sentiments.

Let’s rewind together.

Only hours before, I had just returned home. Exhausted from another day of yelling at incompetence, I wasted no time as I threw my purse on the ground and flung myself onto the bed, starfish style. I sighed with content. This was bliss.

In that moment, my plans for the night were already made. Netflix, food, and my favorite panda onesie. Though I rarely allowed myself the luxury of such relaxation, today dictated a break, and a break I will have. Hopefully Liam, my boyfriend, doesn’t mind.

My hopes were dashed.

Kate, I’m gonna be home a little late, but make sure you’re ready. Dress nicely. We’re going somewhere special tonight 🙂

“Nooooooo.” I groaned unhappily, debating the pros and cons. On one hand, my mood would most likely improve with the night, but in that moment, I didn’t want to endure the tedious process of making myself look presentable. Today was a slob day, not a glam day, and I was ready for popcorn and Sour Patch watermelons, not the fancy dinner that Liam had most likely planned.

I’m really tired though… Can we just stay home tonight? <3

C’mon Kate, you’re gonna love it. I promise. I’ll be home in an hour, and then we can go have fun. Love you!

I hung my head in disappointment for a moment before boosting myself up. Liam humored my whims even in his reticent times, and I should do the same – give and take is a common theme of our relationship, of any good relationship.

So I took a shower, put on some makeup, and threw together an outfit. Liam picked me up exactly one hour later, and we were off to dinner in no time. He took us back to the location of our first-date, House, a hidden vintage gem in the middle of our urban city. Decorated to resemble a French cafe, the dimmed lighting and warm hues transformed the lighthearted restaurant into a romantic, almost mystical destination at night.

We arrived and ordered our usual wine. Liam insisted on steak and onion rings while I stuck to a Waldorf salad, and as we waited, I wondered if this was it. Though I appreciated his sentiments, I had a difficult time believing this was Liam’s version of “special.” There must be something more. And there was.

Taking a sip of his wine and wringing his hands nervously, Liam took my hands and stared into my eyes.

Was this what I thought it was?

“Kate, we’ve been dating for three and a half years now. These past years have been the best of my life. You came into it like a shooting star, and I thought you would disappear once you saw how disappointing I was. But you didn’t. You stayed, and I love you for that. I love your intelligence, your humor, your poise, and your childish tendencies. I love your smile, your dimple, and the way your nose scrunches up when you laugh without restraint. I love your carefree acknowledgement of sadness, and the lengths you go to to alleviate others’ suffering.” Liam said solemnly, his eyes glimmering with happiness.

I smiled, my eyes wet with unshed tears.

“I love you so much.” I said, my voice cracking at his heartfelt confession.

Liam rubbed his eyes vigorously before squeezing my hands tight. “So with that said, Kate Delacroix, I have something to ask you.”

Oh. My. God.

It’s happening.

My hands started shaking and I felt my cheeks burn with anticipation.

He’s proposing.

Wait, no, Kate, don’t get your hopes up.

But what else can he be asking?


However, instead of getting down on one knee, opening up the ring container, and me covering my mouth in shock like the scenes of so many rom-coms, he motioned to someone behind me. A waiter brought two plates with our meal. One had the steak, another had one onion ring. He set the two plates down in front of me with a wry smile. “Congratulations in advance.”

Will you marry me?

The steak was carved with those words and the onion ring was adorned with a dollop of sour cream as the gem.

I felt my smile drop instinctively before I forced myself to laugh.

“Wow… this is… uh… clever. Thank you.” I said awkwardly, giving him a giggle. Liam saw my evident disappointment and his face saddened.

“Do you not like it?” He said, his puppy brown eyes searching for validation.

I hastened to comfort him. “No, no, no, I like it. It’s just… unexpected.”

Liam sighed in relief. “I wanted to make it special for you. So… your answer?” He inquired anxiously.

I didn’t want to say yes to such a childish proposal, simply for the fact that it didn’t fit the whimsical and unrealistic expectations of my imagination. I wanted a fairytale ending to our courtship, and a fairytale beginning to our marriage. I wanted the diamond ring and the down-on-one-knee. But at the same time, I realize that Liam has given me so much more than the promises of chick flicks. He’s given me unconditional love, unlike the drama of movies and books. He’s given me endless laughter, instead of endless tears in those enviably grand relationships. I can want everything, but I know that what I have is enough. And that’s love. Sometimes the picture-perfect moments aren’t perfect at all, and that’s okay. We’ll have the rest of our lives to make perfect memories.

So I smiled again. Genuine this time.