In high school I took a drama class where I had to memorize the most measly part of Sartre's "No Exit." (A play where the underlying argument is "Hell is other people.") I wasn't prepared, and this became abundantly clear to my drama teacher when I had to run off stage to grab my copy of the script in order to finish the scene. And so ended my career as an actress.
I never felt comfortable on stage; in fact, I don't particularly enjoy being the center of attention. So when I walked into our apartment last Friday--after deciding to get my nails painted blue and being slightly miffed at Jay for wanting to continue napping instead of just meeting me at the neighborhood restaurant we had agreed on for dinner--and found all these candles and rose petals strewn about, I felt as if I was somewhere I wasn't supposed to be--as if I had accidentally walked on stage in the middle of a play.
But there he was, on bended knee, asking me to marry him. I don't think I actually said yes; I shouted, "Of course!"
Then came an onslaught of "oh my goodnesses," a Pollyanna phrase I evidently have a fondness for in moments of genuine surprise, as well as all the joy of realizing that the person you've been wanting to spend the rest of your life with really truly madly deeply wants to spend the rest of their life with you, too. And then the rest of the night--nay, weekend--more or less revolved around me. And I loved every minute of it.
After the proposal, a car picked us up to take us to Lupa, the site of our first date close to three years ago now. (I was too amped up to eat, but knew I should if the celebratory champagne was going to keep flowing.) His parents surprised us by magically picking up the tab from Indiana, and then we walked up to Washington Square Park, a place he and I used to go to "hide out" from co-workers who didn't yet know that we were dating. From there we hopped in a cab to get to the Waldorf=Astoria (get it?), where we were placed in suite 21R (our apartment number is 1R; though Jay had no hand in this), which provided the most amazing view of the Chrysler Building to complement some chocolate-covered strawberries and my favorite bottle of $10 cava on ice. (My true tastes always shine through.)
Each event was a bigger surprise than the last, and the entire time I could not stop thinking how lucky I am to have someone so incredibly thoughtful in my life. I have always felt this way throughout our relationship, but that night it was amplified by the amazing lengths Jay went to make sure the night was filled with reminders of significant moments in our relationship.
There was a time when I greatly identified with Sartre's idea that "Hell is other people." (See: Dater's Dish, The and, if I were to let you, numerous angst-ridden teenage and early adult journal entries.) But for the last three years, and especially this past weekend, I've known better than that.
Clearly, Sartre was never lucky enough to date Jay Boehmer.
So finally, after settling into pizza and watching the very bad Zack & Miri Make a Porno on Saturday, I thought the surprises were over. Little did I know Jay had planned a party on Sunday with all of my family and friends in attendance. Thinking I was simply spending an afternoon casually celebrating with some friends, I instead walked into shouts of "Surprise!" Again, I hid, and again I had that same feeling of "Oh my goodness he did it again." He's lucky I have a strong heart.
And, oh yeah--the ring! In continuance with the entire proposal, it's perfect and is everything I hoped for: a sapphire surrounded by a circle of diamonds, with a set of circularly shaped diamonds on either side. I never thought I'd be one to be enamored by sparkly things, but I continually find myself staring at it. It already feels like an integral part of me; when it's not on, I definitely feel it.
Oh, and? A skeptical person might be inclined to think otherwise, but I swear to goodness I had no idea what was happening when I choose my manicure color earlier in the evening.
Some pictures here.