She said “yes!” Well, that’s not exactly true. What she actually said when I proposed was “okay.” But you see that may be one of the details that I don’t repeat when telling the story from now on.
Everyone wants to hear our engagement story. It’s the first thing people ask when we tell them our big news. Which is more than fine with me. I am incredibly proud of it, and since I am a storyteller by profession, I find myself wanting to include every possible detail – and perhaps even enhance a few. Faye however – feels that parts of our story should belong to us and only us. And I love Faye. So although I can tell the story however I want (freedom of speech, yo!) I am going to attempt to tell the story without the parts we would like to keep to ourselves … aka “redacted.”
We were out in Los Angeles visiting my family. The plan was to take Faye to an ocean town called REDACTED Point for a romantic overnight stay in an oceanfront resort. I told her before we left to be prepared for a surprise while we were there. That she might want to bring a swimsuit and a nice-ish outfit. Her first guess was that I was taking her to Señor Fish (a good, but decidedly un-resort-like taco shack in Pasadena). You might say she was slightly off the scent.
The resort I had booked was called REDACTED. I arranged with their “events coordinator” to have champagne chilling, flowers (red REDACTEDs) and REDACTED-covered REDACTEDs out on the balcony. I also got us into a “hot ticket” group datenight cooking class at the REDACTED Culinary REDACTED later that evening (Side note – if you ever have trouble getting in at an overbooked event, just tell the organizers that you are planning on proposing that very night.)
I had written out all the reasons why I wanted Faye to marry me – not to actually read to her but just so I would have my thoughts organized at such a crazy moment – and as we drove further and further south, I found myself desperate to look it all over again. To make sure I said it all just right. There was this small part of me that was absolutely unsure whether Faye would say yes. I kept thinking “this is a whole other person here. Anything could, in theory, be going on inside her wonderful head. Even, ‘get me the hell out of here!’”
REDACTED PORTION INVOLVING AN EMBARASSING PRETEND GAS STATION BREAK TO PULL MYSELF TOGETHER.
From here on everything felt like it was happening in fast-motion. We pulled up in front of the hotel lobby and I ran in without Faye (leaving her in the running car) – panicked that everything I had arranged for in our room wasn’t ready. The lady at the front desk assured me it was.
I was melting down. I had to propose ASAP – I was losing my mind. The Bellguy came and grabbed our bags and told us that he was bringing them up to our room. I let him, which would turn out to be a fateful error. Then he politely let us take the elevator up alone. Which meant that he would be right behind us, and that I wouldn’t be able to propose the moment we walked into the room – unless I wanted to have the moment ruined by a rap on the door.
To stall for time, I let Faye open the door with the key card. She is the REDACTED key card operator in history – so this actually bought us a few extra minutes. But still no sign of the Belldude. Having no other choice, we walked in the room.
As Faye looked around the suite at the REDACTEDs burning, and the beautiful red REDACTEDs, I knew I had to say something to throw her off the track.
“Man – this joint sure outdid themselves. I can’t believe that they do this for all of their guests!” I said, as I shoved her out onto the balcony.
“Wow what an ocean view! Oh man REDACTED-covered REDACTEDS? This is crazy!” I shouted. There was a knock on the door.
“Me come back!” I think I said as I ran into the room – leaving her on the balcony – which was now out of my sightline.
The Bellguy came in and began talking at me like some old-time bellhop from a three stooges movie.
“Gee willikers sir, it sure is great to have ya. Ifya need anything at all, why just call the number on the phone and ask for Jimmy. I’ll be back here faster than you can say a shoeshine would be fine!” I threw piles of money at him and nudged him out the door.
And then it was just me and (as an androgynous, milky-white pop star once said) the man in the mirror.
What I saw surprised me.
I was ready.
“Faye!” I called.
But there was no answer.
“Faye,” I called again – my voice cracking.
Still nothing. It was clear that she had figured out what was going on and scaled the wall of the hotel using a sheet rope, and was now swimming out to sea to escape me.
Then she walked in the room.
I began to babble – truly babble – about hopes and dreams and love and family.
Eventually, so as to let me take a breath, she said “okay!”
It was the best moment of my life.
The rest of the story really is redacted – mainly because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.
I am a mere storyteller, after all. For the rest of the story, I’ll leave you with one word…
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