9th of May 2012. Around 9:15 PM. SM North Parking Lot.
I’ve had the ring in my pocket for weeks…
It was all supposedly part of my grand, elaborate plan. Yep, and like the day she found out I liked her, fate has a weird way of changing schedules. I was supposed to start courting her in June, but my co-workers botched it up one drunken 6th of April in 2010. Then we fell in love. (Yiihii…)
I think the normal path is friendship, courtship, love, proposal, marriage and kids. I think. But that doesn’t mean I’m right. Fate has a way of proving me wrong.
Dadi fell in love with Mami, and vice versa. The Bakulaw fell in love with Bulilit, and vice versa. Heck, it’s like Hello Kitty falling in love with King Kong (go figure). So anyway, after some months, proposing was already in the back of my mind. Then we started talking and planning about family life and marriage. Whoa! Waitaminitkapengmainit! I haven’t bought a ring, yet!
Slowly our wedding plans started to fall into place. So our skewed path was turning into friendship, courtship, love, marriage and kids. Actually she thought “we” would be foregoing the engagement ring thingie. Well, I’m proud to say she was wrong.
During the early preps for the wedding, I think my mom asked me “How did you propose?” Errrrrr…. She followed that up with “Have you given her an engagement ring already?” Errrrr…. I imagine my mom facepalming in her thoughts. “Well, as long as you’ve already talked about it.” I told her I had plans.
During the early preps for the wedding, I think Maid-of-Honor Jefel asked me “How did you propose?” Errrrrr…. She followed that up with “Have you given her an engagement ring already?” Errrrr…. I imagine her facepalming in her thoughts. “Well, as long as you’ve already talked about it.” I told her I had plans. (What? it’s the same paragraph only with different people? Go figure.) Actually it didn’t happen that way (hehehe). I thought Mami had already talked with Jefel about us getting married. Seems I got to Jefel first. So her questions were actually “How will you propose? Need any help? Let’s plan it.” (Thanks Faye / Jefel, I can take it from here, hehehe.) “Have you bought her an engagement ring already?” I said “No.” Mami had mentioned once that Jefel was the only one who knew how the engagement ring that she liked looked. Jefel showed me a photo. I started looking for a ring. And Jefel had to lie through her teeth and pretend she didn’t know about our wedding plans when Mami told her we were getting married (Famas-level performance). XD
After days of looking in mall stores on weekends (the only time Mami and I aren’t together), I decided that I would have to extricate myself and go to Greenhills for the ring. I didn’t get the chance. One night my Mom knocked on my door and asked about the ring. I said I’ll be going to Greenhills one of the following days. She asked about the budget, I said I was ready for it. She asked me to come to the sala, my sister was there too. Mom asked if I would consider giving Mami one of her rings instead? Mom related how my Grandma gave my Dad a ring to give to her. Now she’s returning the favor and giving me a ring to give Mami. I nearly cried.
So back to the first sentence I wrote. I’ve had the ring in my pocket for weeks…
Jefel’s offer of setting up the proposal was tempting. But I thought against it. I wanted to plan it. But… Damn Youtube. Judging by the popularity of mobbed, movie, zombie, musical, and TV proposals, everything’s a tough act to follow. I decided to go the opposite direction. No audience. No music. No Gregorian chants. No do-whopping barbershop quartet or acapella group. No dancing bears. Just the two of us. Maybe some coffee but no dancing bears. (It really was tempting to take a knee after the Avengers movie but that would be so unromantic. Imagine proposing with the gigantic face of Thanos in the background. Not for me.) I decided to play it by ear, no planned dates. Just wait for the right time. One plan was to eat dinner at Trigo, one of our favorite places, and propose there. I asked her if she wanted to eat there one time but she said she wanted something different. Nyarrrr…
After Mark and Van’s wedding I got the chance to talk to Jefel. We had made our way to Mami’s house where Jefel left her car before heading off to the wedding. In plain sight, with Mami around, we were passing around the ring (palmed) for Jefel to check the size. I knew Mami is size 6, I’m size 11. Jefel said it was too small and I’d have to have it re-sized, she said this as she passed me the ring. Did I mention we were in our separate cars, windows rolled down, on our way home, with Mami looking at us through the gate? If someone saw us they’d have thought it was a drug transaction. XD
I love my Mom. It was mom to the rescue. With one of my contacts not getting back to me re: the ring re-sizing, Mom got it for a couple of days and had it re-sized to the just right size of 5.75 (as I asked, 6 might be too big, 5 too small, 5.5 too right). it came back with a basic plastic casing courtesy of the jeweler (thank you, kind sir). Mom instructed me to get the ring a better case. I never had the chance.
I’ve had the ring in my pocket for weeks… Oh, wait. you already knew that.
Remember fate? It wouldn’t allow me to keep the ring longer. One day I decided to ask Mami to help me scour SM North Edsa’s barong stores for ideas. That day was May 9, 2012. Fate had us passing by one jewelry store while exiting the parking lot. We looked at wedding rings. Fate had us passing by another jewelry store, and another, and another, and another. We went on for hours. We had our fill of wedding ring ideas. By the second store I already entertained the idea of giving her the ring. But it was in my bag, in the car, in the parking lot, and not in my pocket (of all days…). I think my excitement made me nervous during dinner, I finished my food early. In my mind Mami was babbling endlessly about wedding preps while thought bubbles with the words “Come on… Come on…” (with correct kerning, leading and air… Sorry, I was a comic book letterer in my colorful past) written all over them kept popping up beside my noggin. I texted Jefel my plan. She said I should record a video of the proposal. Yeah right, like I could propose, hold a camfone and put the ring on her finger all at the same time. I don’t think so. XD After dinner we made our way to the parking lot amid closed SM stores.
My ears were ringing as I opened the old Pajero door for Mami. She closed it. I opened the driver’s door, folded the seat and got my bag and fished out the ring in the hideously simple plastic case. I turned on the engine and the aircon, closed the door and made my way to the passenger side of the Paj. I opened the door and knelt on the car flooring. Mami had a surprised look on her face. I showed her the ring and she squealed. I said, “Tutal, kanina pa tayo tingin ng tingin ng singsing. Dapat may mai-uwi ka ngayong gabi.” Unromantic, I know, XD, but we cried nonetheless. I narrated to her everything above: my Mom’s story, the Jefel transactions, the jeweler’s little plastic box, the botched Trigo attempt, etc. She said she thought there wouldn’t be a ring anymore. She called my mom and texted Jefel. When we got to her home she told her sister Janine and they were squealing all around. And now we find ourselves here, at this time and place.
So here we are.
The ring is no longer in my pocket. (Maybe it should have been re-sized to 5.625… hmmm…)
Fate, in a weird way, is still on my side.
The path is now straight and true.
And Dadi is marrying Mami.
And I don’t think even the Mayan calendar can stop us.