Sunday, June 18th, 2006

We Are Engaged!

Simple. Strong. Sturdy. Not pretentious. Low maintenance. Everytime I look at the ring on my finger, it reminds me of the man who presented the ring to me. And it brings a smile to my face.I admit, it was not love at first sight. To me, an engagement ring has always been nothing but an anouncement to the world, an exciting one for sure. The anouncement does not have to be expensive, but if I am going to wear the ring everyday for the rest of my life, I have a certain expectation in my mind about what it should look like. For example, it should be made of white gold, small and thin, and has tiny diamonds scattered in the ring — the type that looks fairly simple but still elegant. So, that day when I let him slide the ring onto my finger, everything felt perfect except this ring — there seemed to be a gap between expectation and reality.

Yes, I will marry you, my love. Do you mind if I take this ring back and see what other options are there? Don't get me wrong. I love this ring, but since I need to take it back to get it sized anyway, I might as well check out what else is there. Who knows, there might be one that fits me better. I noticed a trace of disappointment on his face. I felt bad. But if this is not the ring of my dream, will I be happy wearing it everyday for the rest of my life?

Next day, I visited the jewelry shop. A fatherly old man greeted me behind the counter. I told him, "I need to get the ring sized, but before I do that I'd like to check out other rings as well." He smiled, unlocked the glass counter, and took out a healthy collection of rings. When I went through them one by one, he spoke slowly and patiently. "He came to our shop. It was after he had spent most of the day visiting a dozen jewelry stores. He was having a hard time finding the right ring for you. He said you were very active, so he wanted something that is not too fragile — He wanted it to last. He said that you were not a materialistic girl, so he wanted something of a simple design. Most of these rings have a diamond that sticks out. These tend to catch on things or scratch your face or body if you are not careful. The ring you have has a very nice princess-cut diamond in it. He knows how to examine diamonds now. He found this ring for you and thought it would be perfect for you." By that time, I had stopped trying the other rings on the counter. I knew the old man was sincere. He could have tried to sell me some other ring that was definitely more expensive. I picked up my ring again. At that moment, I saw the beauty in it, and it was overwhelming. Erik is right — it is the best ring for me. I looked up smiling and asked the old man, "could you please size this ring for my finger?"

When I first time saw that ring, I wasn't expecting it. Maybe I should have been. In hindsight, he had been acting kind of weird. Many times, I caught him staring at me glazed-eyed with so much love on his face that could drown me even though at that moment I might be wearing an ugly baggy T-shirt and eating water melon with seeds and juice smeared all over my face. It happened on my birthday, a Sunday. It was near the end of the weekend. We stayed at a cozy cottage up on the coast on Saturday night. He also booked us tandem massage service when we arrived at the cottage. The dinner in a riverside restaurant at sunset was romantic. What more could one ask for her birthday? Before we got on his motorcycle to head home, we decided to take a walk on a beach where Russian River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Because the trail down the cliff is very steep, not many people visit that beach. That afternoon, we had the entire beach to ourselves. All we heard was the breaking waves. In a distance, there were a few harbor seals bathing in the sun. It was peaceful.

Then he suddenly knelt down. If there is a cartoon bubble hanging above your head right now in which Erik got on one knee and reached up his hand to me, you might want to burst that bubble. It was not like that. Picture an exhausted trekker walking across a desert couldn't go on any more — he would drop down on both his knees. That's more like what Erik did. I went ahead and sat down on the sand and started working on opening the two walnuts that I found on the beach earlier.

I was having a hard time cracking open those two tough walnuts, and suddenly there was a bright light that almost blinded me. After my vision recovered, I realized that the light came from the ring in front of me. Erik, the man of my love, holding the ring asked me expectantly, "Would you want to marry me?" My jaws dropped. My eyes drifted quickly between his expecting face and the ring in front of me. I heard myself say yes inside, but nothing came out of my mouth. Should I say "yes, baby, I want to marry you," or just "yes", or maybe something more romantic like "yes, I want to be your wife. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."… Lots were going through my mind during that moment of silence. When I noticed that a trace of nervousness had crept into his eyes, my voice suddenly found its way out of my mouth. I think I said every version of "yes", possibly in Chinese too. Even the next day, I was still saying "yes" to him.

Life again proved itself amazing. After so many years, just when I thought I would never find the Right One, he appeared. Now, with him by my side, I just want to say: thank you!

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