I chickened out.
The fancy restaurant in Sta. Teresa was the perfect place to give George the ring, but instead I slipped it to him in the dark of the overnight bus ride home from Rio to São Paulo. I did not get down on one knee, and I did not put it on his finger. I did not ask permission from his father.
George took me to Rio for Réveillon. I really needed a change of scenery and watching the fireworks from Copacabana, everyone in white … well, there’s nothing quite like it. He picked a bed-and-breakfast just up the mountain from Gloria and not far from Lapa. It was perfect. We flew to Rio after he got off work on the 31st, changed clothes and walked down the mountain into the night. I had planned to give him a ring I bought for him a year before in Ramallah on this short two-day trip. The bus ride home was my last chance.
I’ve been married before. I stopped at the bank in Woodbury where my mom called ahead to give me access to her safety deposit box. I was retrieving her mom’s — the grandmother I never knew — white gold, filagreed engagement ring. She called me frantic once from Baltimore; I was working in Zanzibar on the festival. The diamond was missing. I handled it the way I thought a good husband should … told her not to worry; we’d buy a new diamond somehow and have it reset. She treasured the ring with the recipriocal sentiment I intended by asking for the ‘heirloom’, and later found the loose diamond on her bedspread. My mom’s sister, Sarah Donna now wears it. I’m glad it didn’t return to the safety deposit box precisely because of the sadness I feel when I see it on my aunt’s hand. I do not wish to forget that period of my life.
Lonely in the UK. British TV awards are playing on hotel TV, and a scene of a guy proposing to another man is shown quickly along with other nominated actors/vignettes.
I reached for your hand at Jerome the other night and you were wearing my ring rather than yours — they are similar, set with the same stone — and in a flash I loved you more (if that is possible). That interchangeability … that sweet disregard. This one’s for you, babe. xot.