By Marilyn Baron
I finally got THE CALL. No, the call was not from an agent or a publisher. It was from my daughter’s boyfriend telling my husband and me, that, after seven years, he was going to propose to our daughter. Needless to say, we’ve been waiting for this call for a long time.
After watching the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, my maternal imagination had been running wild. For years, I’ve been channeling Beyoncé singing, “If you like it, put a ring on it.” As a romance writer, I tend to get carried away by a good love story. I’ve been writing and updating this blog for years. Finally, I can share it with the world.
Cautionary Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. In other words, this is me talking, not my daughter. It’s what I thought my daughter might have been thinking.
Does this story have a happy ending? Keep reading find out.
We’re standing atop the Eiffel Tower. It’s December, so I can feel the cold all the way down to my toes. My boyfriend and I are looking out on a panoramic, picturesque view of Paris. C’est Romantique! The cars and people below us look like ants. We’re on top of the world. This is where Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes [and look how that turned out]. My boyfriend once told me that when a guy proposes it should be big and it should be a surprise. I don’t care if it’s not a surprise. I’ll act surprised. I was expecting him to pop the question long before this. But he missed all the special occasions. He missed my birthday; our two-year anniversary; and New Year’s Eve on Wenceslas Square in Prague. Traveling together throughout Europe, there were any number of places he could have proposed, but didn’t. He was just leading up to the pièce de résistance.
My boyfriend is a sports fanatic, so in 2008 we went to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. I thought perhaps he had arranged a public proposal at half-time, or at least a public kiss on the Jumbo Tron, but no. The Florida Gators won, and I lost. Then again in 2009, we went to the SEC championship game and this time the Gators and I both lost, big time. This year the Gators didn’t even make it to the SEC championship.
Then he missed another Valentine’s Day, my birthday, again; and our three-year anniversary.
He took me to Key West for a private holiday this past Christmas. We went parasailing. I don’t know what I was expecting, a skywriter maybe? We’re celebrating New Year’s Eve with some other couples in Miami. Maybe he’s waiting until then, until we’re surrounded by all of our friends.
New Year’s Eve 2010 has come and gone. It’s a new year and a new decade. We’ve been out of college for a year now, dating for more than four years, working in two different states. But he recently got a job offer in Atlanta, so at least we’ll be in the same city.
He’s missed the opportunity at Valentine’s Day again. In June, he planned a weeklong vacation for us in Curaçao. Moonlit walks on the beach. Soaking up the sun. Maybe this will be our moment. If not Curaçao, his last opportunity will be my 25th birthday, which coincides with his 25th birthday and our four-year anniversary. Alas, the Curaçao trip has come and gone, and no ring. He has a special weekend planned for our four year anniversary but again, no proposal.
And alas, another Valentine’s Day has passed with no progress. He took me on a romantic vacation this summer in Hawaii–honeymoon land. I imagined a romantic proposal atop Maui’s Haleakala Crater at sunrise. But I’m back in Atlanta without a ring.
Our five-year anniversary is history and so is my 26th birthday. We attended my cousin’s wedding in Sarasota. Still no proposal. I guess he didn’t get caught up in all the excitement. His parents are taking us on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas. Who knows? Now I know and the answer is still No! Perhaps he’ll pop the question on our trip to Las Vegas for New Year’s 2011. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve. We had a wonderful trip and I came in first in a poker tournament, so I won the jackpot, but apparently my relationship luck is running out.
I think I know the problem. The Jewish holidays hold a special significance to my boyfriend. Maybe I should stop focusing on the secular holidays and concentrate on the religious ones. Of those, he could have his pick. Toss a coin on almost any day of the Gregorian calendar and you’re guaranteed it will land on a Jewish Holiday. In 2011, there’s Tu B’Shevat, Jan. 20; Purim, March 19-20; Passover, April 18-26; Shavuot, June 7-9; Tish’a B’Av, August 8-9; Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 28-30; Sukkot, October 12-19; Shemini Atzeret, October19-20; Simchat Torah, October 20-21; and Hanukkah, Dec. 20-December 28; to name a few.
But, I remind myself, he’s not a traditional kind of guy. He likes to be different. It looks like I’ll be waiting for Lag B’Omer. In modern Israel, Jews celebrate Lag B’Omer with campfires. Maybe I need to light a fire under this guy and tell him to get with the program or I’m going to be past my prime before he proposes. Although a recent article in USA Today documents a trend for young adults to delay marriage. Maybe my guy is just a trendsetter.
My great aunt used to ask me if she should buy her dress for the wedding. First I told her no. Then I told her to put it on Layaway. Now she’s stopped asking questions. Because I don’t have any answers. My grandmother says the next Hanukkah present I get him should be a gift certificate–to a jewelry store. Maybe then he’d get the hint.
My best friends are getting married all around me. My cousin is getting married at the end of October. I remind myself it took Kate almost a decade to land her Prince Charming. By my next birthday in 2013, we’ll both be 28 and will have been together for seven years!
Did I mention my boyfriend is a sports nut? He bought two sets of Miami Heat basketball season’s tickets, in hopes that LeBron James would make South Beach his new home. Money he could have spent on an engagement ring. When it comes to a choice between me and LeBron, I guess it’s no contest. It’s a slam dunk.
Of course, we are making progress. He recently moved to Atlanta and got a new job to be near me. He bought a condo and we’ve moved in together. He apparently needs more time to think about relationships. I’m still waiting for the perfect holiday, the perfect time, the perfect place for the perfect proposal.
Fast forward, to December 2013, and after seven years playing the dating game, still no sign of a ring. Our birthdays have passed. Hanukkah has passed. Even Christmas has passed.
Here’s where I take over the story.
My daughter’s boyfriend asked my husband and me to dinner and in what could only be considered a deadpan voice (if an e-mail could talk), said he needed to talk to us about Amanda. Needed? Was she sick, were they moving to another town? What could it possibly be? My husband said it might be a proposal, but that was the last thing on my mind, after so many years, so he told me not to get my hopes up. I emailed back. Is Amanda okay? Should we be concerned?
“No need to be concerned about Amanda,” he wrote back.
We got to the restaurant, and huzzah, he announced his intentions to propose. Shades of The Graduate. The conversation went something like this.
Ben (The Boyfriend): “I’m going to propose to Elaine (Amanda).”
Me: “That’s wonderful. We need to celebrate this joyous occasion.”
Ben (The boyfriend): “Oh, Elaine (Amanda) doesn’t know about it.”
My husband: That sounds like a half-baked idea.”
Ben (The boyfriend): “Oh, no. It’s fully baked.”
And it was. He was going to surprise her on a trip to Miami. They were going to walk along the beach and he was going to propose and then head back to Barton G’s, a fancy restaurant on Miami Beach, where her family and his family would be waiting. They’re both consultants with the same public accounting firm and he had prepared an actual business proposal for lifetime services, with a romantic twist, filled with pictures of their life together.
That was the most difficult secret I’ve ever had to keep, and I’m lousy at keeping secrets. But when she walked into the restaurant on December 26 at 5:30 p.m. and saw her sister and her father and me standing there with the rest of the family, she broke out in tears. It was a beautiful proposal and well worth the wait.
And now, on to wedding plans.
So this story has a happy ending and the moral is: Good things do come to those who wait.
Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and the recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. Marilyn writes humorous women’s fiction, romantic thrillers, historicals, romantic suspense and paranormal short stories. She has won writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. Visit her Web site at www.marilynbaron.com to find out more about her other books and stories and upcoming releases and visit her blog at www.petitfoursandhottamales.com. Marilyn and her sister, Florida artist, Sharon Goldman just released a new musical “playbook,” called Memory Lane, at http://amzn.com/B00GBJWFIO. To listen to a medley of the songs, visit her Web site at http://www.marilynbaron.com/anthologies-and-more/ or view it on YouTube at http://youtu.be/Hgi_mIdt5MA.