I was 42, never married and had just purchased my first home. It was November, 1999 when a friend I had known for twenty five years invited me to spend the passing of the millennium with him at his party on a boat on the Thames in London. I told him that after the escrow, I could not afford the trip; so he bought me a ticket and mailed it to me.
Meanwhile, he invited his Norwegian friend who he had met while attending a law class in Oxford, England. She did not want to go alone to this party, so she invited her own friend, Gry, which means Dawn in Norwegian. Gry did not want to go either, but her friend convinced her.
And so Gry and I met, on a boat, on the Thames, in London, December 31, 1999 as the fireworks were celebrating the end of an old millennium and the beginning of a new one.
We corresponded by e-mail for several months, and then in May Gry came to visit me in San Diego for two weeks. It was wonderful. She returned to Norway, sold her belongings and came back in August, 2000 for an extended visit.
I decided to design the ring, myself. The diamond is always important, but I knew what I wanted for the ring. And it was easy with so many computer packages today. In the ring I designed, the diamond, like a precious egg, stands set in the center. A golden tail spirals up in a helix around it. At the top of the spiral, sits an emerald (my birth stone), like the head of a sperm trying to kiss its egg.
Then, on the day I would propose, I purchased one of every flower in the floral shop. That night, I asked Gry if she wanted to go for a late evening walkalone. And while she was gone, I placed the flowers all over the bedroomtheir fragrance filling the air. I also placed small votive candles all around the bedroom.
I lit one candle for each of each year that I had been alive, and one for each year Gry had been alive. Seventy three candles set the bedroom ablaze in a mystical and dazzling light. In the midst of the fire and the flowers was one tall, shimmering crystal candle holder, with its candle unlit.
When Gry returned, I invited her into the bedroom. I told her what the candles represented and showed her the one unlit crystal candle. As we extinguished each candlewe would take our timewe spoke about the many years of our lives: memories of joy and sadness, pain and beauty, all leading to that night. Eventually, there was one last candle. Before extinguishing it, we used its flame to light the candle in the crystal candle stick.
Then, in the light of a solitary candle, I gave her the ring. A diamond in sunlight is simply beautiful; in candlelight it is sublime. In sunlight, a diamond casts a rainbow that illuminates our imagination; in candlelight, a diamonds rainbows swirl in the shadows of our memories.
I whispered to Gry that one day soon, the room would be ablaze with candles again, but that it would take timemany years.
Every year, on our anniversary, I buy her a new candle holder. This year there will be seven candles lighting the room. And the smiles of two children.
Proposal Story By:
San Diego, CA