Was I worried that she’d say no? Well, I did expect her to say yes, but I was ready for a no, too. Honestly.
I had originally imagined myself on my knee in front of her, holding the most beautiful ring in my hand. The snow would fall on us slowly, and she’d fight off the tears, then tell me to get up, but she’d say it in a romantic comedy sort of way, so she’d say, “get up, you big old… you big, you…” but she wouldn’t be able to finish the sentence because I’d be up, and we’d kiss.
Rings are expensive, though. But I knew that she didn’t care about stuff like that, and that she was more like the Phantom’s Diana, an independent and smart woman, who would, just like Diana, be just as happy to leave the big city and live in a tree house with me. Or, in our case, she’d be happy to live a married life in a suburban Stockholm apartment, even without a big diamond ring.
In the end, I thought that no ring was better than a not-very-good ring. Besides, we had those rings we had bought in Mexico a few years earlier. Also, there was a chance that she’d say no. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she had wanted to just keep things as they were. Why mess up a good thing, I heard her say. You’re right, I heard myself say, and that would just have been that.
My first original plan had actually been to propose to her on my birthday in early December, but the timing was never right so I pushed it back to Xmas. But, Xmas is such a busy time anyway, so I decided to go for it on New Year’s Eve.
In hindsight, proposing to her just as we left 2005 behind us, and inhaled our first seconds of 2006 – one of us more nervously than the other – was perfect.
But no, I didn’t get on my knees, either. It was New Year’s Eve, we had had a nice dinner. Son sleeping inside, we stood there in the darkness of the Finnish countryside outside my mother’s house trying to see fireworks somewhere. There were some, but mostly it was just dark and quiet around us.
It was snowing a little bit.
“Happy new year,” I said.
“Happy new year,” she said.
“You know, what do you say, maybe this is the year that we get married,” I said.
She didn’t say anything at first, and then she smiled.
“Are you proposing to me?” she said.
I told her that I was.
Then she said yes.