"Oh, Tory, I would love to marry you, my six year old sons mom," Latrice, said when I asked her the proverbial question. Of course, I wasn’t meaning exactly then, but I knew I wanted her to be in my life forever. Where’s the ring?
We were dining out for Latrice’s and our son General’s fifth birthday, which fell on February 2nd and 3rd respectively. Geno, as we call him, was busy scarfing down the chicken strip plate his mom had ordered for him. Latrice was nibbling on a side house salad (something about a low carb, or high carb or South Beach or something diet) and I a steak and chicken plate.
Eschewing the normal down on one knee approach for something a little less, shall I say, embarrassing, I laid it on thick about being in love and wanting a traditional family for our child to be reared in. The only problem was I didn’t have a job, car or savings to start the family off the right way and that made me reluctant to commit to Latrice. I forged on.
"Listen, baby," I said cunningly, "I know you want a ring. Hell, you need a ring to make this thing official, but work with me for a minute."
"What’s a minute, Tory, Latrice wondered aloud, pushing the side salad away from her proximity. I’m not getting any younger here and I want another baby."
"Baby, I don’t know," I protested, you know I’m going through some tough times right now. There’s nothing more important to me in life than to have you and Geno with my last name. You guys are the air I breath. I love you both. I need to find a job. Until then, baby, just take these words and know you’ll get that ring you’ve always wanted later."
Latrice, a medium height, brown skinned beauty of a woman, wasn’t amused, yet she understood my situation.
"Tory, you know I love you," she explained. "I love you sooooo much. But how in God’s name, do you even attempt to ask me to marry you and you don’t have a ring. I mean, really, Tory. I’ve put up with your football dreams, your rap dreams, your writing dreams all I dream about is a family and having a husband responsible enough to provide for that family. Right now, I’m doing this by myself and it’s extremely hard for me."
Geno, who by that time was working over the banana flavored desert cake the waitress was generous enough to provide on the house, was eavesdropping. The six year old baby genius (the kid attends a elementary school that teaches the entire curriculum in French) added his two cents.
"Mommy," Geno said, "what’s wrong? Why are you crying?"
"Oh, Geno," Latrice replied, "Mommy’s just happy right now."
"Then why are you crying, Mommy?" Geno deadpanned. "People don’t cry when they’re happy, Mommy. Do they Dad?"
"No son, I replied, they’re not supposed to."
"Excuse me," Latrice said, raising up from the brown marble table that held our dinner. "I have to go use the restroom."
Latrice was gone for a short while, but not long enough to cause concern. I knew the chances of her saying yes to marriage without a ring were slim, but I had to try. I love the girl and I want to marry her, it’s just my financial situation is dire and I can’t afford a ring. She has definitely gone beyond the call of duty in supporting my dreams and career goals and I know I must make it right. Again, I forged on.
"Geno," I said, "when your Mom gets back, I want you to kiss her and say that’s from my Dad. See how she responds, ok?"
"OK, Dad," Geno said, "I will."
On cue, Geno delivered the kiss and message, while I looked on. The twinkle in Latrice’s eyes made me feel comfortable that we would somehow make it work.
"Oh, Geno," Latrice gushed, "Tory!!! You are the sweetest. I love you, baby. Let’s go home and talk about this some more. Maybe you can get me a ring when you sign your first book deal." We’ll see!
Proposal Story By:
Toriano L. Porter
St. Louis, MO