2007 was drawing to a close. There I was sitting in my lounge listening to my teenage daughter and her friends partying in the next room. I’m sat on my own watching a Take That concert on the TV – for there should be some sort of music on New Year’s Eve, right?
But before you start getting out your saddo labels this hadn’t been the plan. A few hours earlier I had been at the bedside of my partner Tom, whom I had been going out with for nearly two years. He was in the critical care unit at my local hospital, recovering from a heart attack that had happened a few days earlier. We had planned to be sitting there together, me drinking fizz in red plastic illuminated cocktail glasses while he filled up on water…there are some rules that aren’t worth breaking…(and besides, I don’t like to share my fizz.) But, fair enough the ward sister had turfed me out and I was back home. It was a depressing start to 2008.
Leap year folklore
But it got me thinking. There are worse things than listening to a Take That concert while your partner lies in a hospital bed. Listening to a Take That concert while your partner could be lying six foot under for starters. And it struck me how awful life would be without him. And how I could have lost him. That’s when I decided to propose. 2008 was a leap year after all…that was one rule about a leap year I had remembered – even if I have trouble keeping count of how many days in February.
So after Tom came out of hospital and began his recuperation – at ours, since the Doctors wouldn’t let him drive – I put my plan into action. I didn’t work Fridays which worked out perfectly. The 29th was a Friday. I decided to plan a picnic and foolishly relied on the British weather. I did have a plan B since my proposal was not going to be based on whether the sun was shining or not. Plan B it was.
Laying my card(s) on the table
We arrived at the country pub and took a table in the bar area. I had decided to write my proposal in a card and letter for Tom, explaining my wish and reasons behind it…and I wanted to assure him I wasn’t wanting to march him up the aisle anytime soon. (The guys an analyst, he’d want to know detail!) I was pretty nervous; let’s face it, this could have gone one of two ways. Tom also had had a look into his future; after a major shock such as a heart attack he could have decided anything. Having ordered our food and drinks we chatted about the surroundings. He kept getting up to look at the different photos on the wall and I kept reaching into my bag to surprise him with the card…but he was never away long enough. As soon as I’d got the card, he’d turn and talk to me about something in the picture. Thankfully nature called and he disappeared off to the loo! I put the card in its red envelope and left it on his mat ready for his return.
“Shall I open this now?” he asked with a quizzical look. I nodded, picked up my drink and waited.
Afterwards, having taken time to read the letter, he looked across, smiled, took my hand and said, “Yes”, followed by, “We’d better order a glass of fizz.”
Happy, relieved and lucky were probably my feelings for that day. And I’m glad to say they haven’t changed. Have we tied the knot yet? No. I’m happy as things are. Besides, I’ve done my bit!