One October day, my best friend Yllena went to a party in Queens, NY for her niece’s christening. At the end of the night, she had called me, but I was out. She called again and insisted that I e-mail an old friend of her brother’s, Anthony. She went on to give me details about him, put her daughters on the phone to tell me how "cute" he was, and even asked her mother-in-law what she thought of him. I figured I’d give it a try. After two weeks of email and talking on the phone, we met on October 30, 2005. We went to a club, then a diner, and before leaving he gave me a glittered pink rose.
From then on, Anthony and I dated. He met my Italian family at my sister’s wedding, and I met his Italian family on Christmas Eve. We never spoke about getting engaged/married, but I did tell him that if I was to ever get engaged, I would want to be completely surprised.
A few months later, Anthony went to work. He sold his Suzuki motorcycle and told me it was because he hardly had time to ride it. During the summer, we always had busy weekends, and he was working overtime during the week. What he was really doing was preparing my surprise proposal. After work (not overtime like I thought he was), he would go home, lay/tape a bedsheet on the kitchen floor, and paint in a stencil he ordered online. He also filled in a border around the bedsheet using a black ballpoint pen because he couldn’t use paint.
Our birthdays are in May and June, and we wanted to plan something outdoors. Anthony asked me if I wanted to go to Central Park one day. I hadn’t been there since I was a young girl, so of course I wanted to go to ride the merry-go-round. He also mentioned that there was a gondola ride in Central Park and asked if I wanted to go. Not knowing how to swim and remembering all the news stories about the park, I was a bit hesitant. So we made a deal that if he came on the merry-go-round, I’d go on the gondola ride.
Well, with the busy summer, we never made it. By the end of August, Anthony said he might have one Saturday in September off and asked if I still wanted to go to Central Park. I felt bad because (I thought) he was working so much over time so I said okay. A few days before going to CP, I went to his apartment to have dinner with him. He called me a told me he had to bring his mom to the store and was running late. What he actually did was left his apartment before I got there, drove to my house, presented the news to my parents that he wanted to marry me, and drove back.
We had been watching the weather all week because we didn’t want it to be too hot or rainy. Up until the day before, the weatherman suddenly announced rain in the forecast. Poor Anthony couldn’t sleep! I knew I would be walking alot and it was going to be warm so I didn’t dress up. By Saturday, September 17, 2005, Anthony had everything set up. He made arrangements for the gondola ride, mapped out exactly where everything was in C Park, and made plans with his best friend Tommy.
We walked around Central Park, took pictures, rode the merry-go-round and made it to the Angel Fountain. Anthony said he had made a wish to the angel and it came true-that he met me. He felt he owed the angel so he returned with me, and I had to make a wish. When I looked in the fountain, there wasn’t any change so I didn’t know if I could throw it in. He said it was ok, and I did. At 2 oclock, we went to the gondola ride section. We got on the gondola and were off. The gondolier and Anthony knew what was going to happen. As the gondolier serenaded us, we sat and enjoyed the ride. Anthony was being romantic and telling me how happy he was that he met me. As the gondola turned to go back, Anthony mentioned the Angel Fountain. He said there’s one more wish, pointed ahead, and said look. I saw two ducks floating by and said "what?"
He laughed and pointed again, and Tommy unleashed the bedsheet banner gleaming with the sun from the bridge/overpass that said "Nicolina, I love you with all my heart!, Will you marry me?" I froze, said yes, looked down, and saw my ring. I grabbed Anthony and cried, the ugly cry. What I hadn’t noticed in all this time was the crowd of people on the bridge cheering and screaming. I do remember someone screaming "what did she say?" I didn’t even know Tommy and his family were on the bridge until I got off the ride. My hands were numb and I was in complete shock.
My family knew and had prepared a giant feast of food. We went to my house with his mom, ate, had cake and champagne.
What a ride!
Proposal Story By:
North Massapequa, NY