For the past year, I had been involved with the perfect man. He was everything I had ever dreamt about in 10th grade, and everything I had wished my college boyfriend could have been. Our relationship was perfect, except for one thing. Carl had explained to me, on our first night together, that he “wasn’t interested in an exclusive relationship”. I’d hated it, but I’d accepted it. We’d been seeing each other for about three months when, I’d realized I had made the mistake of falling in love with him. Of course I’d never told him. I had my pride. When he was with me, I was the happiest woman in the world. When we were apart, I was a wreck, constantly imagining the leggy blonde he was taking to dinner, or the sultry brunette he was dancing with.
Six days before our anniversary, I broke up with him. I told him that I was in love with him, and I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t respect me enough to be only with me. It had taken so much willpower to get through that speech, that as soon as I had finished, I got up and left him sitting there, gaping.
On our anniversary, I was sitting at home and sulking. Just because I never want to see Carl again doesn’t mean I’m happy with him not wanting to see me. And what other reason could there be for him not calling me? Not visiting me, not emailing me, nothing. The phone rang across the room. I lunged from the couch, nearly dropping the phone in my haste to answer it.
“Hey, Ruth, it’s Nancy from the office. I hate to bother you on a Saturday, but we’re having real trouble with the computers. I wonder if you could…
“I’ll be right over.” Nancy was an aging secretary at the office. She knew everything there was to know at the office, from case files to the gossip, but the new computer system that had been installed last month was beyond her capabilities.Half an hour later I shouldered my way through the front door of my office.
“Hi Nancy! What seems to be the –” I stopped dead. The room, usually crammed with desks and file cabinets, was empty except for hundreds and hundreds of balloons. There was a rustling, and all the balloons began bobbing madly against each other as Carl emerged from the center of the room. A smile broke out on my face, but disappeared as soon as I remembered that I hate him. He looked incredible, in one of his typically well-cut suits. He looked so good that I almost didn’t notice his face. He looked nervous, and edgy. The shadows under his eyes looked like bruises. He stepped towards me, lifting his hands and dropping them back to his sides.
“What is all this? Why is my office filled with balloons?” I spat at him.
“I – I didn’t know what else to do.” He looked up at me, making eye contact for the first time.
“Ruth. I love you.” I opened my mouth. I sank wordlessly to the ground. That was the last thing I was expecting. Carl kneeled down beside me. “I want you to marry me.” No, that was the last thing I was expecting. He took my hand. “I want to be with you. I love you. I don’t care about any other woman.” I shot him a look.
“Yes!” I gasped, “Yes!” He pulled me towards him, and kissed me until the room spun. I looked up at him, slyly.
“You know, you better get me a ring.”
“I did,” he smiled at me. “Actually, I got you 365 rings.”
“What? What are you talking about?” Carl simply grinned ever wider and gestured to the balloons.
“There are 365 balloons. There’s a ring in each of them.” He seemed quite pleased with himself.
“Why 365?” I questioned.
“One ring for each day that I’ve been in love with you.”
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