A funny thing happened last Friday.
I’m on a train heading for Toronto, when my phone rings. It’s Ingrid, calling to say hello. She’s on lunch break, ambling about The Bay in Montreal to kill some time.
Then, she gets to the jewelry counter.
I’ll stop at this point and fill in a few of the gaps. We’ve been together for three years and a bit now, a good chunk of which we’ve lived together with our large dog. We’ve talked about getting engaged and finally getting all that paperwork sorted out. We’ve also gone looking for rings. And we’ve—well, she, but you knew that—even settled on one, a white gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
We are, in short, madly in love.
Anyhow, back to the jewelry counter.
“I’m looking at the ring now,” she says.
My heart leaps into my chest a little bit. I am no longer in need of a coffee, for I have a secret I am just dying to spill the beans about.
“Oh yeah? Why don’t you send me a picture of it?”
My secret, you see, is that I have a white gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds sitting at home. I bought it a week previous. And I cannot wait to give it to her, make our whole thing official, with the jewelry and everything. So I can finally stop feeling weird about mentioning my “girlfriend” because that title doesn’t really seem to work. (“Partner” is sterile and weird.)
What I’m looking for, is an opportunity to blurt out that I have a ring and we should get married and spend our lives together and finally be, in the eyes of the law, the true and honest dog parents we know ourselves to be.
Be careful what you wish for.
She sends a picture of a few rings and tells me “it’s the middle one.”
I don’t recognize the middle one. The middle one is a white gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds not at all the same as the white gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds I have at home.
It’s kind of hard to describe what went through my head at this point, because there wasn’t much. I just started cackling and sputtering and making a bunch of weird noises.
(Lord knows what the teens in front of me thought of this bizarre tall person was doing, on what I can only presume was their first train ride. “Whoa, it’s just like an airplane,” one of them had said when they first got on.)
After what feels like an ungodly amount of time, but was probably only 20 or 30 seconds, I finally manage to blurt out, “I have a funny story for you.”
I tell her that I already have a ring. In fact, I say, I have a white gold ring with an emerald-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds, it's just one that looks nothing like the one in the picture.
I don’t manage to tell her how much I love her or even ask whether she wants to marry me, I just tell her I have the ring. She figures out the rest, which is when she starts to cry, in the middle of The Bay. "I'm not going to be a spinster!" She's crying because she knows why I have the ring. She's crying, she assures me, because she's happy.
That afternoon she hopped on a train, and when I picked her up I tossed her the ring.
It’s perfect, it turns out. And it fits.
After I filled the windshield washer fluid back up and started driving home from the train station, I asked if she wanted to get married.
Of course, she said, like there was ever any doubt.