Faye: “Marry me. Spend the rest of your life with me. Make me the happiest man in the world and be my wife, Elizabeth Faye Salires.”
I somehow got stuck to the part that Gabe and I were at the center of Times Square, walking after a scrumptious dinner at Virgil’s, when he knelt down and brought out the trinket he was keeping in his coat. The 14-karat solitaire diamond ring glistened under the moonlight and building lights. The night breeze picked up my hair and played with it while I stared at the kneeling Gabe, utterly astounded, my voice stuck somewhere in my throat.
“Uh,” was all I managed to say, and I could feel a crowd behind me watching me and Gabe. A crowd was forming behind Gabe as well, and the cars, even if the lights had turned green, were also waiting for my reply.
I closed my eyes for three seconds, breathing deeply, and then looking down on him. “Of course, Gabe. Yes, I will marry you and be your wife,” I said happily, and Gabe slid the ring into my finger and hugged me, twirling me around in circles.
The crowd watching us applauded, wishing us congratulations, and the cars honked at us—either to get a move on or to celebrate with us. Gabe kissed me full on the lips before taking my hand. We started to walk again, and when the shock and amusement wore off, two blocks after, I turned to him.
“Are you sure?”
Gabe threw back his head and laughed. “Faye, I have never been more sure in my entire life. Why shouldn’t I be sure of you and what I want?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe because we’re just five months along this path and—” I cut myself off and tried not to mention Angela. He and Angela had been together for a good six-month period before he proposed to her, and look where he had ended: a twenty-two year hiatus from reality.
Gabe exhaled, a cloud of vapor forming around his mouth when he did. He cupped my face in his hands and looked deeply into my eyes. “I am sure of you and me, Faye. We won’t go down that road, okay?” he said intensely, and I merely nodded. “I love you,” he whispered, and I grinned. “I love you, too,” I answered.
“Did you plan this?” I asked after another block.
“Proposing to me at Times Square.”
Gabe glanced at me sideways as we walked past the nth hotdog stand. “I planned to propose to you at a restaurant, changed my mind the last minute. I was thinking of proposing atop the Empire State Building, but I knew you hated heights and would probably end up not answering me, so I didn’t make that option at the top of my list,” he explained. “I just felt a rush when we were walking at Times Square. As if it was the right place to ask you to marry me. We were at that crossroads in this relationship, Faye. And I want to ask you if you’d go the same direction with me.”
I rolled my eyes at his word choices and then pulled him close to me. “I am going that road with you, Gabe.”
He kissed me on the forehead and whispered, “Good,” and then locked hands with me again, as we walked aimlessly in the streets of New York.
It was late in the morning when I woke up, and there was no Gabe on his side of the bed. Instead, there was a note, one that said: “Need to be at office. Will be back after lunch. In the meantime, I left you a couple of dollars. Try to explore NYC on your own. Got a list of places you might want to visit. Enjoy, love. –Gabe.”
The couple of dollars turned out to be a couple of hundred dollars, and at the back of the paper were the places he wanted me to go to: Madame Tussaud’s, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Statue of Liberty, American Museum of National History, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am so not sure how he wanted me to go about the list (which is composed mostly of museums, thank you, Gabe) or if he wanted me to finish the list by the time he gets back, but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t finish going through all of the places in this list in six hours.
I stood up and stretched, and found myself in the living room, staring at the OTH picture that I took down yesterday (was it just yesterday?). The picture gave me an idea. I logged into Gabe’s computer, got the file that I wanted, thanked heavens I was bringing my trusty flash drive with me, and freshened up myself.
I am the one who will be surprising him this time.