June: It was the evening of my 30th Birthday. I had just had THE BEST night EVER; having thrown myself a party at Max’s on Broadway. I had several friends from out of town visiting (I was living in Jacksonville, FL at the time). My friends were dying for Stuggy’s, so as they waited in line for their “gourmet” late-night hot dogs, I waited patiently with the remainder of our crew. I'll let Garrick take it from here...
Garrick: It was 2:15am, my friends figured they’d take a stab at convincing a bouncer to let them into a just-closed bar for an ‘after hours’ drink. I was watching their predictable failure, when this cute chick in a flowery dress caught my eye. She was smiling graciously and patiently, at a guy twice her age who’d crawled out of a whiskey bottle to give her his best chat while decked out in Targets Summer of 2013 denim collection and squeaky white dad-from-the-90’s style sneakers.
Meanwhile, this diminutive beta of a guy, who was clearly part of this girls ‘crew’, was doing nothing to help her. Luckily, I had some liquid courage on board, and felt valiant. Apparently my approach conveyed some right, because the guy broke off his slurred monologue and backed away from her slowly.
Her name was June, and for my services I felt her digits were adequate compensation. We started a dialogue. I’m certain my game was golden, but from the next morning, to this day, the specifics remain hazy. I learned she lived in Florida, and rightly felt my efforts rather wasted, but she convinced me to keep her number with the use of logical and reasoned argument with her, and I quote “amazing ass”, at its center.
Ever the prodigious sandbagger, at the beginning of December, Garrick threw me off the scent, telling me there wouldn’t be a proposal in 2017, but to know it was coming soon. Done.
We’ll enjoy the holidays in Spain with his family. After spending 4 relaxing days and 5 wonderful nights with the clan, it was time to head into Barcelona for the remainder of our trip. Garrick's aunt had arranged 8:45pm dinner reservations for us; a welcome date night in the city at a quiet restaurant after days of family vacation.
Garrick suggests leaving early to walk around and grab a glass of wine before dinner. Excited to explore the city and have some alone time with my honey, we head off. We walk by an Arch de Triumf. Not the French one. There’s graffiti on the wall. [I later find out the Arch was the original proposal plan but the graffiti translated to something along the lines of “F*&^ the tourist! Go Home!”] We continue walking and find a cute café ‘Trole’ with tables out front, looking onto the square and Arch. No one is sitting outside.
The temperatures seem frigid to the Spaniards, but to us it was a beautiful, cool evening. Garrick orders two glasses of red wine. We sit, reflecting on the
fun we’ve had so far. Speaking sweetly to each other, as lovers do. He excuses himself to the restroom and to pay the bill [apparently, this was also the perfect opportunity to get the ring out of his pocket]. He returns. We continue to be lovey. Then, he says something along the lines of how amazing he thinks I am, how much he loves me and appreciates how understanding and patient I’ve been and wanting to make it up to me. [At this point he has pulled the ring from his pocket and is presenting it to me.]
I’m not going to lie, I don’t remember the specifics, I kind of blacked out. I could not believe this was happening. He was proposing! It was happening!
Right then! It had been the furthest thing from my brain, not on my radar at all. YES! I said of course! YES! He slides the ring onto my finger, muttering "this bloody thing better fit." It did! We are running late for dinner. We hail a taxi.
At this point, I still think dinner is just the 2 of us. On the way to dinner, Garrick apologizes for being selfish and proposing while we are traveling with his family and not being able to celebrate with mine. I say there will be plenty of time to celebrate when we’re back in the states. Upon arrival, the hostess begins taking us towards the back of the restaurant – ‘oh wonderful, we’ll have a quiet table in the back.’ The hostess continues walking towards a private dining room and I see Garrick’s parents and brother – ‘of course we would celebrate with the Andersons. What fun!’ As I enter the dining room, to the right, I see my mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law, standing, grinning ear-to-ear. Beaming.
I had been bamboozled. I was in a complete and utter state of shock and surprise. My jaw was on the floor and I was speechless. I just kept looking from my family to Garrick and back again. I could not believe my eyes. What my brain knew to be true was not what I was seeing. My parents were supposed to be in Indiana, spending Christmas with my mom’s brother and sister. My sister was supposed to be skiing at Whistler and enjoying a private holiday. Both my mother and sister sent well-crafted text messages keeping up the charade, even making sure to send on east coast time – 6 hours behind Barcelona.
Needless to say, the evening was full of lots of love, laughter, delicious food, lovely wine and a splash of cava.
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