The Art of Surprise

Next Sunday is our 6th wedding anniversary (by the way, it’s the ‘sugar’ anniversary…I’m seriously hoping for some chocolate!) and it’s got me thinking about the day my husband proposed – Valentine’s Day 2009.

Summer's kiss

Picture the scene. We’ve been together six years by this point, living together for four years and everyone in our life is waiting to see if he will EVER propose! A week earlier, the ring I normally wear on my ring finger went missing for three days, sparking rumours at work that this V-day could be P-day, so I wake up all jittery with nerves and excitement. What is he planning? We have breakfast and he hands me an envelope in which I’ll find my romantic Valentine’s plans…which turn out to be tickets to three films at the cinema. I scan the tickets, trying to work out how he’ll work in a proposal. There’s a chick flick, another chick flick and…a historical action flick. Which finishes at 11pm. I check the times and realise there isn’t enough time even for a romantic dinner in between the second and third film.

My heart sinks to ankle level and I feign excitement at what is, obviously, a very thoughtful gift. I don’t mean to be ungrateful but…I really thought that proposal was coming.

Later in the day, we’re watching the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. For anyone who hasn’t seen it (and you should see it, it’s hilarious), in one storyline Jennifer Aniston is in a relationship with Ben Affleck. She wants to get married but he doesn’t. At some point, a heart-wrenching discussion takes place where Jen realises that hey, if a woman has been with a man for seven years and hasn’t married her, he’s never going to marry her. Well, that was enough for me. The floodgates were open, overflowing and spilling everywhere. I sobbed pretty much right up til the point he realised he was being a tool and asked her to marry him. Alas, for me, the damage was done. We were only a little under a year shy of the seven year marker…and no ring. Of course, I found out afterwards that my poor husband felt rather uncomfortable and immediately regretted his movie choice.

By the time we got home from the historical action film (Valkyrie. It was excellent), I felt hollow. I’d really believed he was going to propose. As we undressed for bed, I couldn’t hide my disappointment and at last, he asked me what was wrong. I burst into tears. I sat on the bed, in my underwear, feeling like an idiot who only just realised what an idiot she is, and finally confessed to my husband what was wrong. I told him that my ring had gone missing and people at work had convinced me he was going to propose. He was sympathetic but said nothing.

At last, while I blew my nose, he disappeared from the room, returned with a small blue box and got down on one knee. At the side of the bed. In his boxers. While my eyes were still puffy from crying. And I was so shocked that instead of answering him, I blurted out ‘Are you sure?! But…are you sure?!’ Several times before I said yes.

It turns out he’d wanted to propose the night before but lost his nerve. He’d then wanted to propose that day but I was so upset after watching ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ that he panicked and couldn’t do it. In the end, I truly think he popped the question just to stop me crying!

Having finally reached a point where I thought all hope was gone, I got the only thing I really wanted and every year, we celebrate the wedding we had just over one year later with a meal out or a fancy homemade meal in. We eat, we drink and we remember with a chuckle the night he (finally!) proposed, at ten to midnight, in his boxers, after a disastrous series of failed attempts.

This year, the only thing I’m hoping for is that there’s some fancy chocolate dessert to go with that chuckle!

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The Art of Surprise

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