My girlfriend Staci and I knew we were right for each other from the start. Within one month of dating we had professed our love for each other, and after 8 months we started talking about marriage and looking at places to have our wedding. I took her to a lot of jewelry stores to see what made her eyes light up, figured out which ring I was going to get her and had her finger sized. I had saved up enough money to buy the setting for the ring – a beautiful platinum band with a round diamond on either side of the center and baguettes on the outside of those, and was shopping around for the perfect diamond to put in the center.
One Sunday night soon after this we got into a huge fight (my fault of course), and it got pretty heated. We were lying in bed and not really talking to each other (actually she wasn’t talking to me – I was trying to apologize), and she turned to me in the heat of anger and said, "I don"t even think I want to get engaged to you!? Realizing what she had just said and how sad the thought of not being with each other made us feel, tears started streaming down both of our faces. After a few minutes of crying I looked at her, and with tears in my eyes said, "I know you just said that you didn’t want to get engaged to me, but I have to ask you anyway. I love you with all of my heart and I want to spend my life with you. Will you marry me?" To my surprise and sheer joy she said yes, and our tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy. We cried for a few more minutes while hugging and kissing each other, and then proceeded to call everyone we knew to tell them the wonderful news.
My original plan was not to propose for another 4 months or so (remember, I was saving up money for that center diamond), and I had wanted to do it at a nice restaurant with a beautiful ring, and I was determined to not let my plans go to waste.I made reservations at one of the most romantic restaurants in Manhattan for that Friday night, the next time I would see her, and told her to wear something nice because we would be going out to celebrate our engagement. I spoke to the owner of the restaurant and after telling him that I planned to propose to my girlfriend, he reserved the table near the fireplace and told me he would take care of anything I needed, as he knew this would be a special night for us. During the week I went to several jewelers to find just the right diamond for the center of the beautiful setting I had bought, and finally found the right one. It took just about all my savings to buy it, not to mention most of the paycheck I got that Friday, but it was worth it. The ring looked fabulous!
My girlfriend arrived at my apartment on Friday night looking absolutely as beautiful as ever, and we headed downtown towards the restaurant. I couldn?t resist walking her into a bar next door to the restaurant and telling her this was the place, and she didn?t even bat an eyelash, thinking we were going there for nostalgic reasons (we had played pool there a few times early in our dating), but I told her I was only joking, and walked her next door to the restaurant. It is a big beautiful restaurant with chandeliers and a grand piano with a piano player, and her eyes lit up as soon as we entered. We were led to our table and ordered some wine and our appetizers, and I guess I looked a little nervous because Staci kept asking me what was wrong and telling me I looked a bit distracted. I told her I had a big secret but I couldn?t tell her what it was until later in the night. She pouted and tried to get me to tell her, and I jokingly told her that if she was nice I might tell her by the end of dinner. I excused myself and went to the front of the restaurant to talk to the owner, who was expecting me, and arranged for the piano player to play our song about 5 minutes after we ordered dessert. I returned to the table to find the waiter had brought our wine and appetizers as well as some appetizers on the house. I made a toast to our love and our future together and we proceeded to have dinner while talking excitedly about our wedding plans and what our future might hold. She continued to ask me what the secret was, but I held my ground and kept telling her she would know soon enough. We ordered dessert, and I asked her if she wanted to dance. There is no dance floor in the restaurant so she looked somewhat confused, but being the good sport that she is agreed to dance with me and we walked over to be closer to the piano. As if on cue as soon as we started dancing the piano player began playing our song and Staci and I smiled at each other as we slow danced to it in the middle of the restaurant. After a few minutes of dancing and singing the words in her ear I asked her if she wanted to know what the secret was. She looked at me with excitement in her eyes and said that she did. I got down on one knee, held her left hand in my right hand and the opened ring box with the diamond ring in my left hand, and said, "Staci, I love you with all of my heart. Will you marry me?" She pulled me up off my knee, hugged me, started crying, and said, "Yes, of course I will marry you. I love you." We continued to dance as my shirt soaked up her tears, stopping to hug and kiss each other throughout the next song. The piano player gave me a nod and the bartender offered to bring us drinks to celebrate while we danced, but we were too excited to even have a drink. We just kept dancing for the next ten minutes or so and then returned to our table, where our dessert was waiting for us, as well as two glasses of champaign, compliments of the owner. We made another toast to our love and to many years of happiness together and drank our champaign, but were too excited to eat our dessert and decided to go out and walk around and enjoy the beautiful night. Before we left though, I couldn?t resist announcing aloud to the restaurant as we stood up, "Everyone, this is my new fiancée, Staci." We got a huge round of applause and one woman even said, "That’s so romantic -I think I am going to cry." We left the restaurant and walked around for a while before going home, stopping to look at the ring together and th
inking of the promise it held for us to have a wonderful life together. I certainly surprised her that night, and even though I spent almost my entire paycheck and my savings on the ring, and barely had enough money to buy food for the week, it was well worth it. When I tell the story to my friends, many of them tell me that food is overrated anyway, and I know that when it comes to my love for Staci, nothing comes close to being as valuable. Staci, I will love you forever.
New York, NY