“Nayeli! Over here!” My good friend Matteo calls me over. He’s sitting under a tree in the dimming sunlight with snow falling and a beanie on his head. I walk over to him in a somewhat hurried manner. My beanie sits on top of my head covering my unbrushed hair. I’m wearing a deep rouge dress with long sleeves and a pleated skirt. My mittens fall off my hands as I sit down on the bench next to Matteo. He smiles at me and I smile back at him. We have a lot of history. We were best friends from 3rd to 6th grade. Then we fell apart through high school. But then we dated for a short time. Now we’re just good friends. He looks at me and pulls a cube box out of his pocket. It looks expensive. He gets down in front of me on one knee. Is he really going to propose to me? The sun chooses that exact moment to shine through the trees, making Matteo look like an angel from heaven. He opens up the box. A beautiful sapphire ring is situated in the center of the box with little golden flower vines intertwining around the circular part. He opens his mouth and stammering he starts to ask me “Nayeli, w-w-will y-y-y-you m-m-marry m-m-m-me?” I sit there flabbergasted. How long has he been planning this for? I don’t want to say no because then it’ll make everything awkward between us and I could lose his friendship. But I don’t feel that way about him romantically. What can I do? It’s Christmas Eve. Maybe this was always what he was planning. He smiles awkwardly at me. Flashbacks parade through my mind. From when we were seven to now. Everything we’ve done and been through together. When he joined the school in year three. We were partnered up for something and became fast friends. Now this complicates everything. His smile fades. He knows what I’m thinking.
“Why not?” He asks me tears springing to his eyes
“Matteo, I can’t marry you, I don’t love you that way, I love you as a friend,” Tears erupt from his face.
“I’m sorry, really I am,” He sits there with the box slowly drooping closer to the snow covered ground.
“I should be the one whose sorry,” he says between sobs, “I’m the one who fell for you in the first place, back in grade three,” He slams the box shut and slumps away dropping his head. I feel terrible. How can I make it up to him? I walk home pondering what I can do.
I reach my house and shut the door behind me. I grab my ice skates and slip them onto my feet. I reach for my scarf and loop it around my neck. I go to my door and look in the mirror. I just lost one of my best friends. I open the door and slip through. The ice rink is a few blocks down. I walk in the snow, slowly sinking into it, like quick sand. I step onto the ice rink and glide around. Many couples are there, and mistletoe is dotted around the edges, every couple trying to stop. A big tree sits in the middle with golden lights covering it from head to toe.
I turn a jump and land it. Someone starts clapping. I whip my head around, my brown hair clashing into my face. I get it out of my eyes and look to where the clapping came from. Pedro Mandragoria sits at one of the benches with his skates on. He skates over to me, clapping. Why is he clapping? He bullied me for eight solid years until he left school. I look at him awkwardly.
“Look, I know that we didn’t get off on the right foot, but I only bullied you because I thought you would like me, if I bullied you and intimated you.”
What logic is he using? I don’t say that of course because he would be offended. “Okay, but you do know that if I were to bully you for eight years you would also probably hate me,”
“You hate me?” He sounds hurt
“No, not anymore, but it took quite a while to forgive you for all you put me through,”
“But that was so long ago, I’ve changed, really I have, I swear it,” He puts his right hand where his heart is.
“But I can never forget all that you did to me,”
“Like what?” He asks sounding slightly scared of what memories I could render up
“You teased me for having an english accent, you teased me for having blisters on my hands from the monkey bars, you made no one want to be friends with me because they thought my blisters were contagious warts, a rumour spread by you, do I need to go on?” I ask him
He drops his head, “No you don’t it’s ok, I understand,” He starts to walk off.
“But before I leave I need to do something first,” He spins around and drags me under a branch of mistletoe. He kisses me. I pull away. What was he thinking? He drops to one knee. And confidently asks me “Will you marry me?” Seriously? Again? I back away from him. His ring glitters in his right hand. The gold encrusted jewels glittering in the very dim sunlight.
“No,” I say, almost shouting it. He smirks, not even affected by what I just said. I turn my back on hikm and skate off. I need to be alone for sometime. I wipe my mouth from where he kissed me. Urgh.
I reach the ice skating rink gate and stomp through it into the snow. A pickup truck sits on the other side of the gate, it’s engine rearing. A familiar face sits up front. Nico Ramone. We were good friends in primary school and for a short time I did have a crush on him. But now he’s different. He changed. He winks at me and slides across to the other side. He motions for me to get in. I open the door and slowly sit down next to him, I’m not really in the mood for chatter.
“Hey Nayeli, haven’t seen you in a while,”
“Yeaj, well I’ve been busy trying to finish writing my christmas book,”
“Yeah,” We sit there in awkward silence. I catch him looking at me. He quickly looks the other way, are we back in ninth grade or something? He smiles at me in the rearview mirror.
‘You know Nayeli, we could’ve been quite the talk of the town,”
“Yeah well we weren’t,”
“Geesh, feisty? Aren’t we?” He smirks and looks away. I make to get out of his truck, but he grabs my hand. I know exactly what he’s going to do. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a golden ring. I sigh. This is really tiring. I’ll be known as the girl who refused three guys’ proposals in one night. What a reputation to have.
“Will you marry me?” He says in his raspy yet smooth voice. I slowly shake my head at him and form the words no with my mouth. I pull out of his grip and rush out of the car. He throws the ring at me through the open car window. It lands on the ground, the gold and emerald glistening in the snow. I keep running tears streaming down my face. Why me? Why do I have to go through all this? I run all the way home. I reach my house and slam my door. The bell next to the door falls down and crashes to the ground shattering into a million pieces. What is it today? A bad luck day for Nayeli or something? I bend down and start to pick up the pieces. They’re gold, just like all the rings. The rings were so pretty but some of the people were not.
My doorbell. I get up and dust myself off, please don’t be another marriage proposal, I think to myself. I open the door. Another familiar face. Ramiro Jogden. We were somewhat high school sweethearts. But we grew apart. I haven’t spoken to him in years. His hair is still the unkempt bad boy curly black hair. He still has his charming grin. The one that lured me in in the first place. He was a typical bad boy, and I was a typical good girl, always studying and doing the right thing. People were crazy about our relationship. But to be honest we never really had any time alone, we were always in company with either my friends or his friends. He smiles his charming grin at me. My knees start to wobble. Seriously? Am I still a tiny bit intimidated by how perfect he appears? He leans his arm across my doorframe.
That was his old nickname for me, “Hey Ramiro,” I don’t want to start calling him the old nicknames we used to call each other. He could get the wrong idea.
“So I haven’t seen you ‘round in a while, what d’you say we go for an evening stroll?” He asks me, shining his teeth at me and winking his echnating green eyes at me.
“Sorry, but no, it’s Christmas Eve and I have to,” Quick I need an excuse, “I have to um, skype my family,” He draws back
“But don’t they live down the road?” Drat
“Yeah they do but Pa got really sick and they don’t want him going anywhere so I have to skype them,” I hope he falls for it. He sighs.
“Alright then, I won’t keep you, I just wanted to say hi,” Thank goodness, for a second I thought he too was going to propose to me.
“However,” uh-oh, “There is one thing I want to ask you,” He pauses, “Did you ever love me?” What? Of course I loved him, we dated for four years, you don’t just forget someone like that quickly, he notices my hesitation, oh no.
“So you did love me.” He nods and looks into the distance. “Will you do me the honour of being my bride then?” He doesn’t even get down on one knee. He just casually asks it as if people do it all the time to old high school sweethearts. He holds out a ring to me. This one has a garnet my birthstone covered with diamonds around it and all encased in a gold flowery circle.
“Sorry no,” I run back inside and shut my door, pulling the blinds down over the front window. I hear him walk down my patio and out into the street. Phew.
I sit down with my back to the door. Someone slides a letter under the door. As if on queue the phone rings. I get up and reluctantly answer it.
“Hey Nayeli, you should’ve just gotten a letter from me, open it up,”
It’s my old colleague from work. Gaston Hillderberry. We were quite good friends and at one point we could’ve been something more. A gold ring is perched inside the envelope. It has a topaz jewel in the middle of a wreath of flowers. It’s beautiful.
“Will you marry me Nayeli?” Gaston asks me, I can hear how nervous he is by the sound of his voice. I shove the ring back into it’s envelope and slam the phone down onto it’s receiver. I throw the ring into my room and lie on my bed. Why does everyone want to marry me today? Don’t any of them know that I have a boyfriend? His name is Simon. We’ve been dating for about two years now. Does no one recall us going out together?
The doorbell rings again. I get up from my bed and answer it. Simon stands there with a bouquet of lilies in his hand. I kiss him and we walk inside. I shut the door behind him and we go into the parlour.
“How’s your christmas Eve going?” He asks me
“Not that great, five people have proposed to me just today!” His eyebrows go up at this, “I turned them all down though, you know the only person I love is you,” He lets out a breath of relief I didn’t know he was holding.
“Well sorry to be a bother Nayeli, and this’ll probably add to your stress, but will you marry me?” He’s down on one knee, holding a box up to my hands. The ring is silver this time and surrounding it is my favourite jewel, amethyst. A vine twists around the circle of the ring dotted with rubies and lapis lazuli’s. It is so beautiful.
I squeal, and nod frantically.
“Yes, yes, yes!” I go down to his level and hug him tight. I feel him hug back.
We pull away and he smiles as he puts the ring on my finger. Finally I can relax now. We sit there in each other’s quiet happiness. I stick on A Christmas Prince. A nice romantic Christmas movie. We sit there with our arms around each other reminiscing about all the happy times and looking forward to the future.