... beside the fire, as long as it's with you.*
On this very day in 1986, in the vicinity of 6 PM, a handsome man in a suit and tie appeared quite unexpectedly at my door, mere moments after I had arrived home from work -- had not even had time to kick off my pumps nor remove my pearls -- and, once allowed inside, immediately proceeded to ramble with alarming energy about things I could not decipher as being connected to anything pertinent to the moment nor relevant to my well-being.
A rising wave of nervousness came over me as I began to wonder, judging from his strange and uncharacteristically agitated demeanor, if he had come to relate some tragic news. I tried to listen more carefully, but his words seemed out of kilter, like a tangling discourse from a tea party in Wonderland.
For pete's sake, he's a litigator -- he knows perfectly well how to speak sensibly, even to big bad federal judges, and under intense pressure! So why is he babbling like this, at ME, here in my living room?
I felt wobbly. I loathe feeling wobbly. I felt put out with myself for feeling wobbly. I felt faintly put out with him for making me feel wobbly. With growing concern I tried, but failed, to reckon the incongruousness of the moment. I had thought, after seven months of close acquaintance, that I knew this man quite well... but here he was, popping into my apartment, pacing around my coffee table and talking like a man deranged... and what was to be made of that intermittent flash of maniacal grin ? This was surely a side of him that I had not seen heretofore, and it was... unsettling. Confusing.
Why is he quoting that thing I said about climbing rocks in Greece? And what could that possibly have to do with my apple pie being incomparable? And why did he come here straight from work? And without calling first? It's just Tuesday; we did NOT have a date tonight, did we? Oh, heavens... surely he's not... drunk? Not him... no... so... what?
After several minutes of this, the level of confusion mounting in my poor addled brain became utterly intolerable, whereupon I burst out with:
"WHAT on EARTH are you talking about?"
And he fell silent for a moment,
suddenly got very still and composed,
"Well, all that to say... will you marry me?"
My exact reply, once I managed to move my jaw, was... well, the reply of an understandably confused young lady, and perhaps another story for another day (it was a tad unorthodox, I suppose), but for today I will just say that it amounted to yes -- or rather YES!
About this, at least, I was not confused... the foregoing spectacle notwithstanding.
[Turns out, Great Scot awoke that morning with no more anticipation of proposing to me on that day than I had of being proposed to. Hadn't bought a ring. But, as he tells it, it hit him like a tidal wave somewhere in the afternoon traffic of the northbound tollway that he wanted to marry me, wanted to propose NOW, simply didn't want to wait any longer. So he grabbed a penny from his console and tossed it... heads, I propose today... tails, at Christmas. Heads -- yesss! So he turned right at the exit ramp light instead of the usual left, and sped straight to my apartment. A man of action, no?]
I walked down the aisle five months later with that penny in my shoe. Still have it in my jewelry box.
And I've been happily confused with him ever since.
[Was going to embellish this post with our engagement photo, but the scanner is pouting today. Will do so later, when the scanner is over its little snit.]
*from the wonderful song Why Should the Fire Die? by Nickel Creek.