"I don't know why you're getting so upset," I said, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to say. Even though I knew the right thing would've been to drop to my knees and ask her the question I'd already asked her in my daydreams one hundred times.
I could feel the ring box weighing down my front pocket. I'd been carrying it around with me since the day that I bought it, almost a year earlier. I wasn't waiting, because I thought it would be a mistake to marry her or because I wanted to put off the ceremony for as long as possible. I just wanted the moment to be perfect. I needed to give her the memorable experience she deserved.
I'd tried taking her on a hot air balloon ride, but the worker that had come up with us wouldn't stop blabbing the whole time, so I'd put it off. Then I brought her out east for our anniversary, but didn't pop the question, because we didn't get reception in the cabin, and I knew she'd want to call her parents as soon as she got the news. At least ten times, I had tried to do it, but backed down.
I could do it now, I wanted to do it now, but I didn't want her to have some humdrum proposal. I wanted it to be epic. I wanted it to be as special as she was. I wanted it to be-- "I love you, Rory," she said, interrupting my thoughts. By the shine of her inner eyes, I could tell she was on the brink of tears. "I just want to know that you're serious about us, because we've been together for five years and most couples have children after that amount of time. And I don't want to compare us to anyone else, but I just... You know I want a life with you. A permanent one."
She looked so upset that the rational part of my brain stopped functioning. All of my previous thoughts left my head. Completely vanished. I dropped down to one knee. I stuck my hand in my pocket.
"What are you doing?" she asked. "You don't have to do that, just because I--"
She stopped when I pulled out the box. When she realized I wasn't just proposing to shut her up. That I actually had a ring prepared for her, because I'd been preparing for a life with her.
"I love you Lila," I said, grabbing her hand. "It's hard to say something new, because I tell you how much you mean to me everyday. You know you're the most gorgeous woman I've ever laid eyes on. That my entire life changed for the better when I met you. That I wouldn't have a future, not one worth living for, without you. I love you. And I'd love to call you my wife."
The tears zigzagged down her face, pushing away her makeup. She didn't speak, just nodded again and again and again as she waited for me to slip the silver band onto her hand.
"Oh, this is perfect," she said once it was sparkling on her finger.
"What is? The ring?"
"Everything. All of it."
And it was. Because we were together. And because she said yes.