On Sunday March 5th, 2017, Tom proposed.
If you ask Tom, the day didn’t become nerve wracking until after noon. By then, I’d helped him cut his hair while he stood in the bathtub. I also asked him to vacuum.
“Not just the rugs,” I said, “The whole apartment. Even under the bookshelf and media console.”
“Alright, settle down,” he said.
He vacuumed while I cleaned the bathroom and didn’t get too annoyed when I followed him around telling him where he’d missed a spot.
He made us lunch – a rich, homemade Japanese curry – and did the crossword while I mopped the floors.
If you ask me, it was a lovely afternoon, mostly because we had nothing planned, (which meant I didn’t have to change into pants), and the apartment was clean. We watched an episode of “Mad Men.” Afterward, I wrote emails, including one to Tom’s mom about a possible visit to D.C.
If Tom was shifty throughout, I didn’t notice. I also didn’t notice the tiny box that protruded from the pocket of his basketball shorts.
At 5PM I closed my computer. Time to think about dinner. I looked at Tom, who was looking at me.
“I want a cocktail,” he said.
A little strange, because Tom is mostly a beer guy.
“Really? A cocktail? Wouldn’t you rather have a beer?”
“I’m feeling cabin fever-y,” he said, “And I would like to have a cocktail.”
I didn’t have cabin fever because earlier, I’d gone to buy a sponge at Duane Reade on the first floor of our building. I have low standards when it comes to getting out of the house.
“You should have gone to Duane Reade with me,” I said.
Tom looked at me, “Betty. That doesn’t count.”
“Well,” I said, “If you want a cocktail, I guess I could do oysters. But I don’t want to spend more than a dollar per oyster.”
Tom patted the empty space next to him on the couch, “Come sit over here and let’s think of where to go.”
I groaned that because it was Sunday, getting dollar oyster happy hour deals was probably impossible. I also suggested that we text our group of friends that lived in Hell’s Kitchen.
Tom was hesitant, “I think it’s better to have it be just us.”
“What about Kris?” I said, thinking of our friend one avenue away, “We never see him! Let’s just ask him!”
“Eh…it’s Sunday. I don’t really want to talk to anyone.”
“Okay,” I said, and we thought some more about where to go. At least I did.
“What if we went somewhere nice?” Tom said.
“Really? At a nice place the oysters are probably going to be more than a dollar.”
“That’s fine. What if we went somewhere classy and got a bit dressed up?”
This was also out of character. Tom’s favorite bars in New York are Mr. Dennehy’s and Daddy-O’s in West Village and Valhalla in Hell’s Kitchen. None are trashy, but none would qualify as “classy.” In the annals of Tom, his suggesting we go somewhere classy on a random Sunday night was as likely as his saying, “Let’s talk about our feelings.”
Suddenly the possibility hit me. Is he going to propose? Is this his plan? To get a bit dressed up, go to a random cocktail bar and propose?
No way. Almost jokingly, I said, “I really hope you’re not planning on proposing tonight.”
“Why not?!” Tom almost shouted. From underneath our couch blanket his other hand emerged, holding a little black box.
I stared at the box, then at Tom.
“Really?” I said.
“Yeah!” said Tom.
And for once, he wasn’t kidding.
Q: Did Tom get down on one knee?
A: No. We were sitting on the couch.
Q: Did you guys actually end up getting a cocktail?
A: Yes! Tom had made not so random plans. First, we went to the Blue Bar in the Algonquin Hotel, which Tom chose because as of late, I have been obsessed with Mad Men. Then we had dinner reservations at Quality Italian.
Q: Quality Italian? Is that some kind of fancy Olive Garden?
A: Not at all! Well…kind of. According to their website “Quality Italian is a modern take on the Italian-American steakhouse tradition,” so it’d be like if Olive Garden and Black Angus had a kid to whom they gave the best of everything and sent to Harvard Business School.
Q: And the dollar oysters?
A: We had oysters that were $3.50 each! As Tom said, “Get what you want. You only get one engagement dinner.”
Q: Your ring! Show us your ring!
Thanks for reading everyone. In case you’re wondering what Thom’s Thoughts were leading up to the proposal, read them here.