He settled onto the couch to watch the news like he did every night. I went to the kitchen to make dinner, like I did every night. I put a pot of water on the stove for the rice and started to chop vegetables for the stir-fry.
“Honey?” he called, “Can you bring me a beer?”
I suppose some people would have had an opinion on that – that I should have told him to get it himself – but it was just how we were. I never felt like I had to take some kind of indignant stand; and besides, I enjoyed it. I supposed I’m old fashioned, in my own way.
I made a small tray of sliced meat and cheese and brought it out with his beer to hold him over until dinner was ready. He gave me a kiss and told me to sit with him for a while but I insisted the rice would burn so I slipped from his needy grasp and went back to the stove; the news was his thing, not mine. I usually found it too dull or too filled with bad news to be worthwhile.
The vegetables sent up a billow of steam and sizzles as they hit the wok and I stirred quickly before putting the cover on it and checking on the rice. He had never been much of a rice person before he met me, but I had been raised with it at every meal. Sometimes the stereotypes are true. We got the culinary ones out of the way early on; I cooked on our first date. He teased me about my rice and I said I was fresh out of watermelon. I asked if he would ever try tofu and he said only if they start making it in fried chicken flavor, and before we knew it we were in love.
My friends said he was too old; his friends said I was a gold digger. All our friends said we moved way too fast. I moved into his apartment at four months, and just after a year we found this house. It was a little more than we had expected to pay, but we took it; he because it was close to work, I because of the kitchen. The hardwood floors, two bedrooms, and a view of Puget Sound was just the icing on the cake: it was like a dream. No matter what anyone said, we were happy. That’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
From the living room I heard a clatter of the plate hitting the floor. It didn’t sound like it broke, so I just called out to ask if everything was okay. The answer I got was him rushing into the kitchen and grabbing me around the waist.
He gave me a spin that had me wiggling to get free and protesting his sudden behavior. Then he knelt down and took my hand and I realized what was going on. When said those marvelously beautiful words, I knew what had just happened. “David, will you marry me?”
I confess, I squealed like a six-year-old girl right before I started choking. Not like a little inhale that catches in your throat, but the kind of choking that makes you double over and gasp for air. His eyes went wide and he grabbed a glass of water, holding it for me as I tried to take a few sips to wash out whatever had gotten in my throat.
Then he held me close to his chest and repeated his request, words whispered in my ear and sending shivers up my spine.
“Yes, yes of course!” I said, tears streaking down my face which I wiped at in vain. “Dammit, William! Yes, I’ll marry you!”
“R74 passed,” he said.
I laughed at that. “I would have married you any way.”
“I love you,” he said, and I echoed the words back to him before he caught me in a kiss and pressed me back against the counter. I could tell what was on his mind. I think mine had already jumped ahead to who I wanted to invite and where it should be held.
The San Juan Islands were beautiful, and how can you beat a ferry ride to kick off the honeymoon? I was distracted from impromptu wedding plans by his mouth on my neck and I melted into his touch, letting him carry me off.
Twenty minutes later, the fire alarm went off. I burned the rice. But of course, I didn’t care.
“There’ll be plenty of rice at the wedding,” he said as we threw opened windows and fanned the smoke from the stove.
“Oh no, that’s bad for the birds,” I said, trying to salvage something of the meal. “Bubbles. Let’s have bubbles.”
He came over and closed his hands around mine, drawing them away from the pans. “Come on. Let me take you out to dinner.”
I looked into his eyes and said, “Sweetie? I want kids.”
He laughed and said, “I’m not sure where they serve those. How about Thai instead?”
“Okay. But kids, after.”
“Whatever you want for dessert is fine with me,” he said and grabbed our coats.
Some people don’t get us. But we do, and that’s all that matters.