Thursday, 14 February 2008

The Big Night

T and I met at a wedding in June 1985, and moved in together a few months later. We had our ups and downs, but by February 1991 we had learned to negotiate the choppier waters of coupledom and things were good between us.

When T announced that he had booked a table at our favourite restaurant for Valentine's Day that year, something about the way he told me seemed to hint that there was more than a simple meal for two afoot. "I think he's going to propose!" I told my workmates, causing a flutter of excitement around the office. Much speculation about the hows and whens of the anticipated proposal ensued until The Big Night arrived.

While we were getting ready to go out, T cracked a bottle of champagne, adding to my expectation that this was not a normal evening out. I dressed in my favourite dress, carefully choosing pretty earrings to match and fussing over my hair and makeup. After all, a girl wants to look her best on such an occasion.

At the restaurant, we sipped drinks whilst reading the menu, and after ordering we took our seats at the table. The lights were low and the music was soft, it was the perfect romantic setting.

Our first course arrived, delicious. We chatted, ate and drank, and my sense of anticipation mounted. We finished eating and the plates were cleared away. We held hands across the table and smiled at each other.

The main course arrived, delicious again. T ordered another bottle of wine. I smiled at him across the table wondering if this was it. I didn't want to give the game away that I knew what was ahead, but I was on tenterhooks waiting for the moment to arrive.

We finished our food and again the plates were cleared. Ah, this must be it. He was waiting for a space uncluttered by crockery, cutlery and waiting staff.

Nothing.

We ordered dessert, and by now I decided I must have been mistaken. My tongue - and possibly judgement - loosened by all that champagne and wine, I leaned across the table and said, "You won't believe it, but I thought you were going to propose tonight!"

From the look on T's face I could see immediately that I had been completely wrong. The thought had never crossed his mind. I felt like a fool.

"You said you didn't want to get married," he said after a brief pause. I considered. Yes, when we first got together I had said that very thing. And meant it. But now...

"Well I didn't want to then... but now..." I smiled, trying to keep the mood light. After all, we were happy as we were. We didn't need to get married or anything. I changed the subject, and considered the matter closed.

After a few minutes, T made an excuse and left the table. I still felt a bit daft, but after all, nothing had essentially changed. I mentally put the subject of marriage on the shelf and when T returned we resumed conversation on other topics, and ate our dessert of Crepes Suzette. It was still a lovely evening.

The table cleared of dishes once again, we were waiting for coffee when another bottle of champagne and two glasses appeared at the table. T poured me a glass, and then the lights dimmed, and he completely surprised me by dropping to one knee and...

"Will you marry me?" My jaw dropped open. In the bottom of my champagne glass was a ring - T's signet ring, which until now he'd insisted he couldn't take off, as he couldn't get it past a swollen knuckle joint.

Of course I said yes, and immediately the lights of the restaurant came back up, celebratory music blared and we were surrounded by the restaurant owner (who in cahoots with T had provided the dimmed lights, champagne, glasses - and copious amounts of soap to remove the stubborn signet ring), all the waiting staff, more popping champagne corks, a cake (where did that come from?), and applause from the surrounding tables.

So that was it - how I accidentally got T to propose. We married in June that year, and this year will be our 17th Wedding Anniversary.

And do you know, until then I'd always said T wasn't romantic? How wrong can a girl be. And how lucky.

15 comments:

Mike Farley said...

Aww! How lovely. And to think I proposed to Mrs Henry VIIIth by drunkenly muttering to her that we should get married after a particularly memorable party. No wonder she wants to bugger off to Basildon... Lovely post dear! Was that at the International?

Bohemian Mom said...

A beautiful and heartwarming story for Valentine's day.
And that picture couldn't be any more perfect!
xo

solsticedreamer said...

Thats lovely!

Joanna said...

What a lovely story ...

Thanks for sharing

Joanna

Moonroot said...

Thanks! Yes, Mike, it was at the International. Mr Cevik never got over it and used to insist on telling all the other diners what had happened whenever we went there afterwards.

The Dragon said...

Wonderful post! and a bit different to how DrDragon proposed (and I am not saying how on an open forum!)

conjuring ink said...

Sounds like he had it planned the whole time, just hoping you'd changed your mind, and then you gave him the cue unknowingly that gave him the courage to ask you. Such a lovely story to share. Wonderful how lover's can surprise you.

I really wasn't sure my Mike would ever propose to me. I wanted to get married, but, like you, figured that we could live just as happily without it if that's what it took. He just didn't seem interested in marriage, having come from a split home late in life and being disenchanted by it. Then this New Year's, he took me to the store and put a ring on my finger and asked me to marry him.

kathyann said...

What a lovely post,I just love reading other peoples stories and what a special photo of the two of you 17 years on!love from Kathyann and the girls

The Ginger Darlings said...

That brought a tear to my eye. Between you and me, and the odd blogger who reads this, my ex-husband left me for my best friend the day before valentines day. We had two children together and they were still small and best friends with hers and it was all so much heartbreak and destruction. That was 8 years ago now and I still struggle a bit with valentines day. A good friend died on the day aswell, always a good way to make sure you are remembered!
I never wanted to fall in love again and cursed myself for a fool when I met Robin and fell head over heels over head again in love. I kept waiting for him to hurt me, to let me down, but still he never has and still he continues to surprise me with his tenderness and kindness.
Ah well. Life goes on, and writing this I remember now that I forgot to raise a glass to Peter's memory yesterday, bless him where ever he is he will be singing "Moon River".
I got myself a dog when my ex left, living alone in a cottage on the side of a hill it seemed a sensible thing to do. Always maintained that I got the best deal, my bitch being far better than his ( just to add a note of bitterness into an otherwise sweet day). He has moved on now and has a new partner. Which is good.
I love your romantic story, but then I am a sucker for romance even after all these years.

dragonfly said...

Oh wow....what a wonderful sharing and a delightful photo. 17 years...that is something! Thankyou

Forever Young said...

just found your site...aaaawwww i do so love romantic stories...and happy ever afters!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Just catching up after a hectic week and found your story! Heartwarming and beautifully written as always.

miss*R said...

this is a wonderful love story. Hope you have many, many more years together - full of love, happiness and peace xoxo

Reya Mellicker said...

That is the most beautiful story I've ever heard! How perfect. Wow.

Anne Hill said...

That is adorable! And your nephew is quite the looker, too. Thanks for all your great posts.