November 29, 2000
Today was going to be the day. I had to do it now. I had already waited 4 years, so I couldn’t wait any longer. It was 7:30 in the morning. I brushed my teeth and got into a polo and jeans and ran out of the house and into a taxi. I called my mom and told her about the occasion and she happily agreed, so I asked the taxi to go to the nearest jewelers. I was a bit too pumped and I told myself to calm down. Calm down, Tristan, calm down. If she says no, hopefully you can still return it. I started meditating and when we got there, I stopped and stretched a little bit. Helped a lot, I guess. When I walked into the jewelers, a woman greeted me with a nice smile and a handshake. I asked, “Do you have any engagement rings?”
“Oh, we have a big selection of them. Please follow me, sir,” she said. She led me to a thick glass case with about 250 rings inside, some made out of silver and others diamond and topaz. I stared at practically each of them and then saw one that caught my eye. It was made out of silver, diamonds, and one other gem that I didn’t know about, so I asked the woman, “Can you show me that ring right over there?” I pointed at it and she said, “Oh, good choice! That is a pure silver ring with studded diamonds and a blue diamond on top. Would you like this one?”
“Let me see if there are any other ones she might like,” I responded, looking through them once more. I didn’t find anything more beautiful than the ring I had found. I told her, “I’ll take this one. Can you give me a size seven?”
She nodded and went to the cash register and typed in some numbers. Ok, that will be 50,000 dollars. In my head, I was screaming, “Aaaaaaah!!! Run away! Too expensive!” but I knew that this would only happen once in my life, so I accepted it. “Are we allowed to pay by check?” I asked, getting ready to get my checkbook out.
“Of course! Just write it for DG Jewelers,” she replied, like it was an everyday thing to get a ring for $50,000. Once I wrote the check and gave it to her, I left the building and started running home.
Once I got home, I knocked on the door with my rhythmic pattern as always. I was so out of breath after the thirty minutes of running, I almost collapsed. When Jenna opened the door, she asked, “A run at 8:45? That doesn’t happen often for you. Did something happen?”
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you inside,” I panted. When I got inside, I fell on the couch and almost fell off. I told Jenna how I was proposing to Mahala and that I just spent 50,000 dollars on a ring. Her mouth literally fell open and I chuckled. I got out the ring container and I opened it to her. “Do you like it?” I asked.
“Of course I like it. I hope my fiance gets me a ring like that,” she replied, still surprised at the price as it seemed. It felt like yesterday was my first date with Mahala and today I’m proposing to her. It was overwhelming. I asked Jenna, “Where should I meet her? Central Park? Times Square?” I asked, thinking about all the thoughts and the different outcomes.
” I think you should meet at somewhere very secluded, like Central Park. That would be a good idea. Meet at night. It makes it more romantic,” she said, acting like a romance professional. Compared to me, though, she was. I started pacing in the hallway and thought about how to propose to her. Will you marry me until death do us part? Way too soapy. Will you marry me? I don’t know if the original will work. When will I tell her? An hour in? Two hours? Half an hour? When I got tired of thinking about it, I asked Jenna impatiently, “What should I do?”
“I don’t know too much about proposals, but I think an hour or an hour and a half in? That makes sense to me. Also, I think making it a surprise in a lot better than making it obvious that you’re about to propose. Just keep the ring in your… ugh! Where should you keep the case?” Jenna groaned. She was thinking of where to put the case, so I said, “I don’t really need to bring the case, do I? I can just take the ring out when I’m ready to go.”
“Yeah, but then you risk forgetting it and scratching it.” I wasn’t going to forget it, but the scratching part worried me. I didn’t want the precious, delicate ring to get harmed. Then, I got an idea. “I can put some cloth around it, can’t I? Some soft cloth, like wool or cotton?” She considered the idea and then ran into her room. That bewildered me and I was still somewhat confused, so I skittered into the room after her. I walked in on her ripping something out of her drawer either frantically or ecstatically. I couldn’t tell the difference. She handed me this soft cloth, probably made out of wool, and said, “Use this. It shouldn’t scratch it up. I’m hungry, so I’m gonna grab a bite.” I nodded and thanked her for the help and I walked into my room. I put the ring and it’s case in my least crowded drawer and jumped onto my bed. I instantly noticed how tired I was and almost instantly fell asleep.
“Woah! What time is it?” I shouted when I woke up. I looked at the clock and I sighed heavily. It was only 1. Jenna apparently heard and ran in and asked, “Nightmare? Or you’re just frantic and restless?”
“A little bit of both,” I replied, taking in deep breaths and exhaling even slower so I wouldn’t start getting super
jumpy and nervous. I walked out of bed and went to the fridge. I got six pieces of bread out and asked Jenna if she wanted a sandwich. “Yeah, of course!” she replied. I got out two more pieces of bread, turkey breasts, and a pack of pepper jack cheese. I ended up finishing the pack of cheese and almost finished all the sliced turkey breasts. I threw a sandwich onto a plate and threw my three sandwiches onto mine. Jenna stared at me and raised her eyebrows. I almost never ate this much unless I was about to study or I didn’t eat a meal. “Stop stressing. You’ll be fine and if she likes you, she’ll probably say yes. It’s been four years, so if she doesn’t, she doesn’t care about the relationship, well, as much as you, at least,” she explained. The last sentence didn’t really help out that much. I started devouring the first sandwich while watching Family Guy. I was worried about if she would say no. I would be able to return the ring, but then I’d know the person I love doesn’t love me as much as I love her. I ended up eating all the sandwiches in two minutes and Jenna stared at me all the way through. Did I look like that much of an idiot? I walked out of the room and flopped right back onto my bed and called Mahala.
“Hey, Tristan!” she said as she picked up.
“Hi! I wanna meet today. Central Park at 7?” I asked as casual as I wanted to be. She paused for a moment and said, “How about 7:30? I’m coming back from work late today, so I’m not gonna be able to make it at 7:00.”
“Okay. See you later! Meet me by the Metropolitan Art Museum” I sighed and laid my head onto my pillow. I fell asleep again and actually had a good (well, better than before) dream! I woke up at 5:30 and showered. I felt refreshed and went outside for a jog. I ran around the block about four times before I thought it was time to get back inside. I was winded, so I sat down and drank a bottle of water. It was 6:30, so I started to get ready. Fancy, but not 20 dollars for an appetizer fancy. I went in to shower and happily did so and when I finished, I looked in the mirror and decided that I should style my hair. I threw my hair sideways and let it stay there for a bit. Then, I sprayed it with my hairspray. I put on a black dress shirt and my pitch-black jeans. I looked back in the mirror and I ended up looking better than I’d thought I’d look. Jenna walked in and whistled. “Cute!” she shouted in my ear. I laughed sheepishly. She almost never complimented me, so it was kind of odd. I went into the drawer and picked up the ring and wrapped it with the woolen cloth Jenna gave me. I put it in my pocket and checked if it bulged too much. It showed in the light, but it wouldn’t show much inside the dark. I got a windbreaker and walked out of the room.
“Jenna! What shoes should I wear?” I asked Jenna somewhat politely. She came over and looked through my sets of shoes. She pointed at my black Adidas trainers and sat on the couch. I put on my black socks and then the shoes and posed in front of Jenna. She nodded and said, “Not bad. Not bad at all.” I nodded and stretched my arms. I exhaled heavily and opened the front door. I was pumped and at the same time, flustered. I tried to calm myself down to look normal and walked out the door.
I hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take me to Central Park. “Okay. But on a Wednesday?” he asked, confused.
“Okay, you want in on the secret?” I asked back. He looked at me and I looked back. The taxi driver started driving and asked, “Okay, what’s the secret?”
“Okay, let me just get something out of my pocket,” I went through my back pocket and got the wool covering out and asked, “Do you promise you won’t rob me?” He nodded and I opened the wool. He saw the ring and stopped at the side of the road. He looked at the ring and asked, “Okay, I’ve never seen a ring like that. Can I just hold it? I swear to God I won’t rob you.” I considered the request and gave it to him. He peered at it from every angle and gave the ring back. “So who’s the lucky miss?” he asked. I told him a bit about Mahala and he nodded and started back up the car. He drove all the way and we talked all the way. It was 7:20 when I got to the Museum of Art and I paid the driver extra. He thanked me and he drove away. I sat at a bench and waited at the bench. I remembered that I still had the ring in my hand, so I put the wool around it and put it in my front pocket. It was really dark outside, but the lights illuminated the night and I looked up to the black sky. I couldn’t see the stars, which was pretty normal in Manhattan, but it was also very cloudy. Not the most normal thing in the world in November. It was really cold, probably around 24 degrees and windy, so the windbreaker helped, but I was still pretty cold.
About ten minutes after, I saw Mahala crossing the street in her thick jacket and leggings. I waved at her and she waved back. She skittered over to me and we started walking on the trails next to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and started talking about the usual things. How’s life, is your job doing good, did you have a good day, all that jazz. I asked if she was hungry and she said, “I am so hungry right now, actually. Can we go to this really nice Middle Eastern place? It’s called Ali Baba’s of West Side. It’s walking distance from here.” I was somewhat hungry, too, so I nodded and told her to lead the way. She started to jog ahead of me and I followed slowly, my legs still a bit cramped up from the run. I caught up to her and we ended up racing each other in the end. She was getting really fast and I ended up losing because of my cramp. We jogged into the snug place and when we got into our chairs, we started laughing. I think she was laughing about the run, but I was laughing about that and about how she couldn’t notice I was going to propose today. We were winded, but we were still able to laugh. Makes sense right?
The waiter gave us each a menu and walked away to the next customers. I chose the shawarma and a kofta kebab, while Mahala got some baba ganoush with a lot of lafah bread. When the waiter came over and saw my somewhat noticeable look, he got our order very nicely and said, “Ok, I will get you lovely couple your food as soon as possible.”
“How did he know we were a couple?” Mahala whispered to me. I shrugged and pretend to not know about it. We waited for the food and drank a lot of the water that was given to us. We were able to see how they made the food and it smelled so good. When we got the food, Mahala started devouring the food. Not messily, though, which was practically impossible for me (hehe not my fault! totally…). I started eating my meaty shawarma and gasped. It was so good! I’ve had shawarma before, but goat shawarma was a first for me and it was so amazing! I ended up eating it super quickly because I was hungrier than I thought I was. Mahala saw and took a picture with her camera. I shoved her playfully and I continued to gorge food into my mouth, just a little bit slower this time, though. I was starting to look like Jenna because I had finished the whole shawarma in two and a half minutes, and that thing was huge! I started for the kofta and tried a little bit of it. Oh my God, it was so different! The flavors weren’t like the other ones I’ve ever tried. It was more, well, Middle Eastern tasting, but it was also as if the meat was different. Not the meat itself, but how it was made. It was shaped differently, like a shish kebab but it tasted dry on the outside but super juicy on the inside. The sauce helped that and I was into the differences. I savored the kebab and it’s sauce and finished much earlier than Mahala, so I waited.
I started getting agitated again, but I controlled it to myself and, hopefully, didn’t show it. I was thinking so many thoughts, I was overwhelmed. I took deep breaths in and out and calmed myself down. When Mahala finished, it was already 8:35 so I had to do it quick or I would miss my opportunity. After paying the bill, which was pretty cheap, I asked Mahala if she wanted to go into Central Park again and she agreed, since her house was on the other side of Central Park. We walked back to Central Park and we went back to the trails near the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. We got into a more secluded area and I decided to do it there and then. I asked, “I’m kind of tired. Let’s go sit down for a few minutes before we go home.” She was tired looking herself and she agreed, so we sat down. This place was perfect. It was near the water and it was lit up enough to see your reflection in the water. There was also a skyline that was like no other, showing off the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and all the big buildings.
I got the wool out of my pocket and I got the ring out without Mahala noticing. I put the wool back in my pocket and I stood up. I kneeled on the ground in front of her with my hand behind my back. She looked somewhat bewildered, but I still took the chance. I took the ring out from behind me and put my hand on my knee. “Will you marry me?” I put the ring on her hand and ran away as fast as my legs could carry me.