By: Heather Somaini
We arrived in New York. It was cold with lots of snow – pretty miserable. I had been in touch with Jill to let her know all the plans were off, that we were going to the hotel and would relax before going to dinner. Jill, as any good New Yorker would, refused to accept that answer, told me to get off my butt and meet her at Rockefeller Center to grab a coffee and look at the Christmas tree (one of the items on Tere’s life to-do list). We went and it was great – we even have goofy pictures of all three of us from that night. Afterwards, we rushed back to the hotel to shower, change and head off for dinner.
I had the gift bag with me so Tere knew a present was coming and she really couldn’t wait any longer. We ordered and I gave her the gift bag. I’ve never seen someone so disappointed in my life! She told me later that when you’re expecting a small square box and a long skinny one is there instead, it’s just not right. She gamely tried to put on a happy face but I could tell she was crushed and as we talked I was worried she was going to meltdown. I could hear the tears coming and I realized my “game” of this proposal had gone a little too far. But I couldn’t give it away – I could see the finish line and I wouldn’t give up on it. There was no way I was going to give in to her “almost” tears.
We had a big discussion during dinner about commitments and what that meant to both of us (but let’s be honest, I agreed with whatever Tere wanted). I told her that I was absolutely making a commitment to her and we should talk about moving in together.
I know what you’re saying right now – “you guys WEREN’T living together?” No, we weren’t. It was one of our “rules”. I could write a whole blog on the rules – but we’ll leave that for another time.
We finished dinner, had the waitress take pictures of us, and started back for the hotel. The ring was in the safe so I just need a couple of minutes to get it out and place it in an inconspicuous spot. To be delicate, Tere was a frequent bathroom visitor, so I knew for a fact that as soon as we arrived in that room, she would go to the restroom. We got to the room and my nerves were getting the best of me. I was sweating bullets, convinced I had forgotten the code to the safe and wouldn’t get the ring out in time. Tere started looking at the breakfast menu, wondering if we should pre-order before we went to bed. She didn’t go to the restroom – what was I going to do?! How could this be, that after all of this disaster that not even THIS part was going to go right? I stood around looking suspicious and Tere wanted to know what was wrong with me. I tried to act nonchalant. She finally went to the restroom. I retrieved the ring, placed it out of the way on the bedside table and put the rolled poem with ribbon on the bed.
Tere came out, saw the poem and immediately sat down on the bed to read it. She was so engrossed in it, that she never noticed that I placed the ring box right under the paper she was holding. I watched her reading and kept looking down at the ring. I was now convinced this was the dumbest idea in the entire world. All I wanted to do was run away. But I stayed. She finished the poem and it took her awhile to realize what was there. She was ecstatic; thought the ring I picked out was perfect. It was an amazing and lovely moment.
Although my plan was squashed like a little bug, I still think it was by far my BEST plan. It would take Tere another full year to take something very simple, at the most unexpected time, to surprise me like I surprised her that night. But I’m getting ahead of myself – that’s a story for another day.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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