With so much to celebrate, a new house, taking in my brother, and starting a new chapter in our lives, Alain and I had been planning to celebrate by going out for dinner.
A week before, Alain finally chose a day for our special date. He took me to Mr. B’s, a quiet little Italian restaurant where Alain took me on our first date, six years ago.
Alain met me in the Rideau Center where I was getting ready in an elegant washroom stall. It had been forever since I got all dressed up, so I had gone all out that night. Alain saw me and told me I looked beautiful, then insisted on buying me a red rose. The only problem is that he couldn’t find a vendor.
As we walked towards the car, Alain spotted a vendor closing up shop. While I was standing next to him, he asked the vendor if she was still willing to sell a rose. She agreed for the low price of $5. How romantic, the girl gets to know how expensive her rose is. Alain, trying to salvage what was left of this unromantic moment, told me to wait for him at the car. As I leaned against the car, waiting for his big romantic move, he “surprises” me with a red rose. Well, he saved the moment, just a little.
The entire dinner was perfect, from the food to conversation to atmosphere to service and back. The night couldn’t get any more perfect… or could it? Throughout dinner Alain expressed his love for me, how lucky he was to be with me, and how excited he was for our future. We even reminisced of the time Alain bought me 18 roses for my 18th birthday, all red except one white to represent my uniqueness amongst the bunch.
With the cheque paid, we headed home and to, what I thought, was the end of our romantic evening. As we got out of the car, Alain asked if I wanted to go for a walk to help the big pasta dinner digest. For those of you who know me, a runner never says no to a walk.
The chilly air forced us close together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. We walked along a path that twisted through a field around big beautiful trees.
Suddenly I saw a light, which quickly disappeared. I whispered to Alain: “there is something by the tree, must have been a firefly.” But he was quiet, he just nodded and we kept walking towards the tree. As my eyes adjusted to the dark night I noticed something leaning against the tree… a rose, a white rose.
As he picked it up, my heart started beating just a little faster, but I was still unsure as to what was coming next. Alain took my hand and led to me another tree. Beside, a basket filled with a blanket, a bottle of champagne, two glasses and a box of chocolate. In shock, I looked over at Alain who handed me the rose and asked me to smell it. As I looked at the rose, I saw the moon reflect off a diamond, it was all clear to me now. This is when I started to cry.
He took the ring, got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes and dragged him back up to his feet to kiss me.
While heading home from a party, Kristine and I were talking about the future and of getting old. Kristine asked me if I would still love her full of wrinkles. I took a moment to try and picture it, and realized, no matter what she will always be beautiful to me. That is when I knew I needed to marry this girl.
In February 2011, I began my search for the perfect ring. After three months of searching, learning about diamond cuts and ring sizes and memorizing the names of the jewelers at Ben Moss, I had found it.
Before planning could begin, I had to ask an important question to an important man, her father. The night before the proposal I met up with Kristine’s father to ask permission to marry her. Luckily after two beers, he said yes.
I now had the ring, permission, but no plan.
The planning for the perfect proposal began at 4 p.m. the day of the proposal. I knew beforehand that I wanted to hide the ring in a white rose. I also knew that I wanted to take her to the restaurant where it all began for us. But how to put these two “subplans” together? Should I hide the rose in the car? In my jacket? Should I give her the rose right away and propose at the Rideau Center?
The plans began to unfold after my wing man and woman, James and Kay, volunteered to make this special moment a night she would never forget. We decided they would set the scene as I started the walk with Kristine after dinner.
On my way to get Kristine, I thought of getting her a red rose. The red rose would be used to emphasize the white rose, and would bring back memories of the time I got her 18 roses for her 18th birthday, all red except for one white rose to represent her uniqueness. I had stopped at several shops but could not find any red roses, and I was pressed for time. After finding out that the Rideau Center does not carry any roses at all, I gave up and met up with Kristine.
As we walked to the car, a small vendor was closing up shop. I knew this would be my only chance of getting a red rose, so I bought one, in front of her. I know, not very romantic. But the night was just beginning, and the special rose was yet to come.
To ensure Kristine wouldn’t suspect anything, James and I worked out coded messages to communicate during the date. For example, when I was about to leave the restaurant, I gave James a quick call in the bathroom. He then responded with a text message asking if I had received our boss’ email, which was a code for “the scene is set up!” I responded saying that we would talk about it later at work which was code for “we are starting to walk towards you.”
James wanted to help preserve this moment by taking a few pictures. As we came around the corner, James was still taking pictures of the rose. However, neither Kristine nor I saw him sneak back in to his car. In fact, Kristine thought the camera flash was a firefly.
At this point, my heart was racing. The big moment was here. I picked up the rose and led Kristine to what I thought was a small bottle of champagne with two cups (Kay and James went all out).
I handed her the rose. After a few seconds of her not noticing the ring since it was very dark, I asked her to smell the rose. This is when she started to cry. It’s amazing how emotions get to you in a moment like this. For the record, I didn’t cry… much.
I then got on one knee and asked her the most important question of my life. Phew, it was a yes!