I had fully planned on taking and posting pictures of my engagement ring to go along with the following story. In fact, in the stylee of cutesy wedding photographers, I was even going to photograph the ring on the finger of Botany's toy Girl Mouse, thus tying in two recent themes together.
Then I discovered that the recent child visitor appears to have stolen Girl Mouse or possibly it is just lost. At the same time, the mice finally finally finally started to partake of the poison bait liberally strewn around my flat (and disappearing). That's a good thing but makes the whole topic slightly less amusing, especially as I wonder whether they have perhaps died somewhere behind the washing machine. Lastly- the batteries for the camera that I know I bought for a friend's graduation less than a month ago? Missing. Gone. Nowhere to be found. I decided to take the hint and just write about the ring, for now. As it is, it has taken me over A WEEK to get a draft post together.
Knox made it clear around Valentine's Day that he was minded to propose, but being traditionally inclined, he wanted to have a ring on him when he popped the question. However, he's also savvy enough to know that I might be sort of, um, particular about the type of ring I would want. Unsurprisingly, it is actually something that I had given a bit of thought to over the years. As soon as was seemly (approximately five minutes after he left that weekend) I found myself sprinting to the computer to embark on a feast of internet trawling for likely ring candidates.
There was then a rather delicate interval where I wondered how to indicate to him my very particular preferences without being too demanding or grasping. I was unsure of the budget and decided "within reason" would probably suffice. Finally, he said, look, just send me some examples of things you like.
As it happened, that night, I had been looking around a certain popular auction site and found a very fetching item. I loved it immediately. It was a slightly unusual but quite simple platinum ring, with an art deco-style setting for four emerald cut diamonds. It reminded me a little of the Empire State building for some reason. It was not too expensive. And the auction ended in about 11 hours.
"I like that one," I told him via instant messaging. "A lot."
It was, however, I felt, probably quite premature to be rushing into buying the first ring I had seen that I liked, and one should never be too hasty with online auctions either. We talked about it for a short time and then I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, I checked and saw the auction had finished. The ring was gone. I experienced a pang of regret and then figured I would find another one that I would love just as much.
I looked and looked and looked and looked. And kept returning the auction page, staring at the ring I had missed out on. There was nothing like it to be found on the internet, certainly not remotely in the same price range. I flirted with a couple of other possibilities, but without all that much enthusiasm. I worried Knox would get tired of hearing about the whole issue, especially when I began wondering how hard it would be to find the person who had won the auction.
"Listen," I said to him, "some other bitch is out there and she is wearing my ring!"
What I can say, diamonds make a girl slightly insane.
Finally, I gave up and we agreed we could go look around when we were over the States on our March visit. Of course, we spent virtually the whole trip chasing after Botany. Beach! Museum! Aquarium! Wheeling the doll buggy around and around the house! There was no time to do any shopping of any kind for ourselves other than a mad dash to Old Dark Blue for some emergency summery Florida attire. I half heartedly pinned my hopes that we would have an opportunity to at least stick our heads in a jewelry shop when we went off for a couple of nights on our own toward the end of our stay.
The first night at our B&B, Knox seemed quite preoccupied with finding a nice place to watch the sunset. We hadn't really been able to see a single Florida sunset the entire visit so I thought nothing of it. As we sat having early evening cocktails with the guest house owners, we quizzed them about the best spot for sunset viewing and they directed us to a bench just across the road, looking out over the marina. We gulped down the rest of our quite potent drinks and hotfooted it over there.
Ooh, lovely sun. Look, pretty colours. Knox put his arm around me. How romantic is this, I thought. And then he whispered in my ear, "Will you marry me?"
I pulled back. Hey! What a chancer! First sign of a sunset and he goes all mushy and... "wait a minute," I said, "where's the fucking ring?"
My exact words. Charming, no? The epitome of class. Whereupon, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a box, putting it into my hand.
I sat there blankly for a second. There was such a strange mix of thoughts in my head. I confess I had no idea what was in the box- I halfway expected it was going to be a ring pull tab from a Coke can, since we had had something of a joke about this and I could not believe he had actually gone ahead and bought something without my having seen it first. I opened it.
In fact, it was the Empire State building ring. He'd stayed up until 5am the night of the auction researching diamonds and grades and carats- and then he bought it for me. It's one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and I cried a bit more and said yes, of course of course. And we took cheesy pictures in which I am grinning ear to ear in a slightly manic fashion. With the camera that now needs batteries.