The Proposal

Photo by Beth on Flickr.

Some things in this life I’ve learned from personal experience. Others from Truffaut and Scorsese films. Pretty much everything else I’ve learned from my significant other over many, many credit hours of meticulous imitation.

It was a no-brainer.

When I saw a chain reaction of positivity affect my life, I knew I would come to the obvious conclusion that I had to “wife that woman”.

Late last year, I came up with a commendably impressive idea for my marriage proposal. What I didn’t take into account at the time was that my girlfriend’s family would throw a last-minute wrench into my plans.

And that, folks, is where my story begins.

A few months prior to mentally committing to the proposal and assembling the parts required, my girlfriend (let’s call her GG) had started a new job. GG had been recruited as an administrator for a growing animation and VFX company and was absolutely loving it there. I’d visit her at work and she would take every opportunity to show me around and introduce me to her colleagues.

Her boss, the co-owner of the studio, and I hit it off almost immediately, sharing a love for vintage video games and bad 70’s sci-fi films. It was becoming clear to me that this was a place at which she genuinely enjoyed working.

I knew I somehow wanted to incorporate her workplace into my proposal.

A big gripe over which GG and I connect is our shared aversion toward traditional relationship cliches as it pertains to pet names, displays of affection, and other acts of kindness.

The jumbotron marriage proposal was most certainly not for us.

Earlier in our relationship, I would hand-craft strings of different colored yarn into miniature sculptures, visual tokens of memories from when she was young.

I replicated Genie’s lamp from Aladdin.

Next was a particular Pokemon that had become a sort of inside joke between us.

I even made a little yarn version of a children’s book character. A character from a book that GG read endlessly as a kid and to whom she very much related because of how odd the character was. As someone who constantly felt out of place growing up, GG finds characters like that comforting.

I set the bar fairly high for myself in terms of what I was going to utilize in my proposal.

Us both being fans of tech, I had an idea that would marry (yes, pun absolutely intended) our mutual adoration of games and our unconventional sense of affection.

It took a few weeks of trial, error and massive self-doubt but I had worked up a demo version of a simple video game that basically mimicked navigating the menus of an old Windows 95 desktop.

With that much in the bag, I then needed to narrow down where I could present this to GG to play.

Her studio.

But how exactly could I stage it there without disrupting workflow and embarrassing GG?

She had made it clear that she’d never want people around, especially family, when I eventually proposed because she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the moment just with the two of us.

Although a challenge, I didn’t fret- I had a man inside.

I got in contact with her boss about possibly gaining access to the building the morning of my proposal to set up the game. I wanted to utilize their projector and display my game on a massive screen they used in the center of their studio when they did demos or whatever.

Boss man wished me luck and slipped me a keycard.

The proposal was to be on a Saturday when her colleagues would be out of the office and I could have the time and space to set up appropriately. I made it a point to leave my house keys in her office on Friday when I picked her up so we’d have an excuse to stop by the studio on a weekend without it raising suspicion.

I took a fake phone call early in the morning alerting me I needed to go into work to help one of my new employees with an urgent issue. This afforded me a solid hour of prep time to set up the projector, run the program a few times, and rehearse my lines.

Jumping back a few weeks in the timeline…

When I originally floated the idea by both of our parents (and to ask for their blessing), I thankfully received thumbs up all around. They weren’t totally sold on what I was doing but could sense my eagerness to create something personal and singular.

A few days before the proposal, I called GG’s family to reconfirm my plans for them. It was then that her mother asked how I was preserving the memory.

— “How are you recording the proposal?” she asked.

I didn’t respond.

— “You have to record her reaction. You’re going to want something to show your kids.”

I tried explaining to no avail that we would have the memory of the event ourselves and The Game would more than suffice to convince our children of how special it was.

With precious few days remaining before the proposal, I had to now figure out a way to record our event from inside the studio.

I cooked up an idea.

An idea that, if done incorrectly, could potentially ruin my relationship with both my in-laws and my and GG’s memory of our moment.

I asked them if they’d be able to make it to the studio with their own camera and record the moment of the proposal themselves. They agreed and I instructed them to be there no later than 4:45pm as I would be arriving with GG at 5pm.

In a sense, I was painting myself into a corner because I knew GG wasn’t going to let me live down her wish that I was disregarding.

Back to the morning of.

I finished prepping the studio and headed back to pick up GG so we could go get breakfast at place we had gone to earlier when we dated. I reminded her my keys were still in her office and maybe we could stop by there after we finished our meal.

At about 9:45 we arrived at her studio.

As we walked in, nothing seemed particularly out of place to her. We slid into her office, found the keys exactly where I had “forgotten” them the day before and strode back out and through the studio where a giant Windows 95 desktop seemed to be displayed on a screen.

She froze for a second as she tried to put together what, how and why any of this was.

I grabbed her right hand and guided it a few feet to her right where a computer was running the program and rested her hand on a mouse. She wasn’t quite comprehending what exactly we were doing but she giggled and complied.

Windows error message dialogue boxes had filled most of the screen and she had to close them by answering Yes and No prompts which were memories we had shared over the past couple of years.

Finally the last dialogue box appeared. The heading of the box read:

“Major Life Decision”

GG was only able to select Yes.

I removed a small ring box from my pocket and got down on one knee.

GG’s mouth was left agape for a few seconds and then she burst out into laughter which she often did when she was excited or happy. She kept laughing as she dropped to her knees as well and hugged me tight.

It was a great moment, I must admit, however GG’s mind operates in a such a way that she was now bombarding me with questions.

  • How did I get into her office?
  • How did I put the game together?
  • How exactly I was able to get it on the projector?
  • Did I really have to go into work early in the morning?

As I explained how I had accomplished everything and the high was wearing off, I sat her down and told her I had a favor to request of her.

I revealed to GG that her family was going to be coming to her studio in approximately 7 hours to record my proposal and that we were going to have to recreate it for them as if it were for the first time.

As ridiculous as this request was, it would allow us to have the proposal I wanted for her with just us two and also allow for her parents to be present and enjoy it as well.

I had prepared a trip to the park where we would later have a nice picnic, enjoy the view of sailboats gliding across a lake and take a nice long midday, post-proposal nap before heading back to the studio to reenact the whole thing.

Sparing the details, “take two” went off without a hitch and no one was or has since been the wiser. The adorable footage now sits in wait of our children to show one day. Her family was overjoyed to have been witness to the moment and we got to enjoy the specialness of the moment on our own terms.

Author’s note: this piece has been an entire work of fiction. Unless you were one of the schemers who helped me put together the fiction. In which case, high five!

Written by Nizar of Comatose.

Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.

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