Life was perfect. Our home had become exactly the kind of haven of peace and tranquility in the world of stress and chaos we had wished for. Agnes was going to take a sabbatical from work, she wanted to go back to school and study something. IT, I think. And I loved my job, to be honest. In other words, everything was so great that I started to worry about the future. Something was going to happen.
This just couldn’t last, that much was obvious. And if things couldn’t get better, they’d have to get worse.
Nothing ever stays the same.
Agnes and I had been going out for two years. In fact, our second anniversary was going to be on Saturday. We hadn’t talked about it much, and I wasn’t quite sure what she thought about celebrating such things, but I had the perfect plan for a perfect day.
Step 1: Breakfast in bed.
Step 2: Our neighbour drives us to the Djurgården park in his Saint’s Volvo where
Step 3: We rent a paddle boat before
Step 4: We go for a picnic and
Step 5: Eat strawberries and drink champagne.
All this, so that I can – Step 6 – give her the ring.
More on that later.
My plan worked beautifully all the way through Step 1. I got up early and managed to get into the kitchen without waking her up, and then surprised her with the perfect breakfast sandwich: a half a loaf of bread with everything on it.
She’s a big eater.
Ten minutes later she got up, and said she wanted to take a shower. And that’s where the change of plans occurred. Change of my plans, not hers.
When Agnes got out of the shower, she told me that we needed a new shower curtain, and that we should go to Ikea because she had seen a photo of a beautiful shower curtain in the paper recently. Now, when I brought her breakfast, I had also told her that since it was our two-year anniversary, it’d be Her Day. We’d do whatever she wanted to do.
But, to Ikea? Really? Where was the romance in that? I sent a message to our neighbour and told him that we wouldn’t need that Volvo ride to the park, at least not yet. It was still early in the day, and I was determined to make room for some romance.
I was still in a great mood when we got to Ikea, and since there was practically no traffic, we almost ran in. I put my hands in my pockets to make sure the ring was still there. It was. Good.
We got to the escalator, and I made Agnes laugh by doing my famous Michael Jackson imitation, in which I stand right at the edge of the escalator and do a moonwalk. That always worked. Agnes giggled and pulled me to another direction. We walked around the round building, laughing. I looked down and saw a couple sitting on a sofa in the ground floor, and I pointed at them:
“Remember when…?” I said, but Agnes just walked faster.
We walked through the lighting department. I started to sweat. Not only was Agnes almost running now, but with all those lamps on, it got hot in there. It was like a sauna. I turned off as many lamps as I could while trying to keep up with Agnes.
She made a sharp right turn through the baby department that was filled with stuffed animals, and small tables and chairs, balls, and small beds. I felt like a giant.
Agnes stopped suddenly, next to a crib. She was standing behind it, leaning on it a little bit. I was on the other side of the bed, laughing hard. I was out of breath. Agnes wasn’t laughing anymore. She was smiling as she tilted her head the way only she knew how.
“What do you think of this one?” she asked me.
“Pretty good, but I don’t think it’s big enough for the both of us,” I said, and laughed.
“That’s fine. As long as it’s big enough for the baby.”
My lungs forgot what they were supposed to be doing. My heart skipped a beat and my head felt very light. I coughed.
“Yes. I’m pregnant,” Agnes said, and quickly skipped around the crib to give me a hug.
I squeezed her as hard as I could, still unable to speak.
“Ouch!” she screamed.
“Sorry! Sorry, baby, I didn’t mean to squeeze you so hard?”
“No, there’s something sharp in your pocket!”
I pulled it out of my pocket and took her hand in mine, and silently slipped the ring on her finger. We just stood there, looking at the crib until Agnes nodded to let me know it was time to move on. There were no Ikea fights that time. We walked downstairs, joking and laughing, then bought a pack of napkins, and drove back home.
Later that day, our neighbour did drive us to the park, and Agnes and I had strawberries and ice tea on a picnic blanket, while going through baby names.
Our favorite right now is Engan. Yes, like the name of that stylish chest with two drawers and two doors.