I sat at the window wondering if I should have mentioned my idea to him. He never really suggested that he wanted to go that far or even if he had any such intention. Maybe I should have given it some more thought, or done some kind of survey first. When I had asked him I had actually expected him to respond right away, I mean, how often do you have someone ask you such question, let alone a woman?
My mother thought it was crazy to have asked him, my friends thought it was cool, but I was honestly having second thoughts. The fact that he had just stood there looking at me and then walked off, saying he’d be right back just kind of floored me. I mean, does that mean he has no interest in what I have proposed? It’s not as if I’ve asked him to marry me or move in with me, I simply asked if he would be my boyfriend. What’s so strange in that? Why couldn’t he answer right away? We’ve been friends for over a year and I thought by now he would have asked, so as I do in all things I took the initiative and asked him. Now I’m left in a position that I least expected.
I know it’s not the norm for females to approach the males with such a question or proposal but I felt it was time. Jace tends to be a procrastinator and I was tired of waiting on him, tired of questioning our status. I’ve grown weary of people drilling me or skirting around asking me what’s what. Whenever we attended an event together, the questions would come tumbling down, and he never commented. At family events, we are just friends, but that can’t work for me, I need more. I mean if he doesn’t want to be in a real relationship with me then just say so. Why have me waiting for so long just to say no?
The music was loud and everyone was enjoying themselves, it was my parent’s forty-fifth wedding anniversary and here I was sitting by the window, being selfish, feeling sad, wondering how long I will have to wait for feedback from Jace. “Lola, what’s with the long face?” my cousin Sharla asked.
Still focused on the outside I replied, “He still hasn’t returned. Maybe it was a mistake to have asked him.”
Taking me in an embrace Sharla tried to encourage me, “No such thing, he just got a slight case of cold feet.”
Retrieving myself from her embrace, stunned, “He’s what now? Hello, I didn’t ask him to marry me you know.” I rebutted.
Laughing Sharla replied, “True, but it was a lot for him. Try to understand and give him some time, ok? And fix that face.” With that, she walked away. After a while, I had to relocate, I was drawing too much attention to myself and my distress was obvious.
I retreated to my quiet place, that one place where I would not be found by anyone. That one place that only Jace and I knew about, and even though we are now adults, we still spent quality times here. I took off my shoes and set them aside, then crawled on my belly, surely ruining my party dress but there was no other way to get to my spot and I couldn’t care less, I needed to be there. When I reach my destination in the abandoned cellar underneath my house I sat up. Standing up was a no-no now that I’ve grown, as children, we could play, jump and all sorts, that was then, but we still loved this place. I took the plastic covering off the cot that Jace had built for us to sit on, took a snack from our supplies that we kept, just in case and just relaxed. It felt good to just relax and listen to the diurnal animals making their music, as I grapple with insecurity and regret. This has been our spot since childhood, we have been best friend since forever. We lived next door to each other all or lives, our parents are friends, He was the one who asked my parents’ permission to take me on dates, so what’s the challenge to step to the next level? Why not make it official? This is just so infuriating, frustrating and nonsensical. I crunched down on the last of my chips as if I was angry with it. Feeling drowsy, I closed my eyes and allowed the night music to lull me.
I was awakened from my nap by Jace who was calling me from the entrance of the cellar. “I’m here,” I shouted. After much shuffling, he appeared, with his tux unravelled and dirty like my dress. “Why are you here instead of at the party? Everyone is looking for you.” he gutted.
“I would imagine” I mumbled.
“So are you going to answer my question? He asked. I looked at him stunned, is he even doing this right now? I must be dreaming, who is the one waiting for an answer from who? Ok, I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear his question.
“Lo, I’m talking to you,” he said.
“Do you have the right to ask me that? Or any question for that matter, after leaving me frozen like a bride at the altar?” I blurted out.
Flabbergasted with his mouth hung opened he asked, “Is that why you’ve come here? Because you felt rejected?” I folded my hand like a spoiled child and looked away from him, my eyes filled with tears. “How do you expect me to feel? You just walked away, leaving me standing there, like a fish out of water.” I responded.
“Let’s get out of here,” Jace said as he pulled me towards the exit with our heads held low to avoid collision with the beams above our heads. We crawled out, knowing quite well that we will not be able to return to the party because our clothes were unsightly. On exiting our hideaway, Jace just pulled me into a tight embrace. I held him like my life depended on it.
“I fled because you showed up my weakness, I ran away because I was too scared to tell you how I felt and what I wanted,” he said.
“So tell me now then, I’m listening,” I replied. And before I knew it, Jace was on his knees with a ring in his hand, now I wanted to flee I wanted to escape reality. “I don’t want to be your boyfriend Lo, I want to be your fiancé if you’ll have me,” Jace said. Then it started, the torrential rains, yes, I began crying and he began panicking, “You don’t want to? I’m so sorry Lo.” He cried. I took the ring from him and placed it on my ring finger and smiled “It fits perfectly, next time no pussyfooting around, and just get straight to the point. You know I don’t like stress,’ I told him as we embraced each other. I felt relieved that the wait was over and the result is awesome but now we’re going to have to change and return to the party and tell everyone the exciting news. We are not boyfriend and girlfriend, we are fiancés.