She was very knowledgeable about her business. Holding the ring, she pointed out the uniqueness of the setting as she rotated it in her fingers. The stones were exquisite as their brilliance would light up with each motion. “Can you see how the diamonds are held in this circular setting?” she said. It was a gold band with three diamonds in a row. I knew nothing about settings, but she assured me it was both fashionable and stable. I really liked the ring but did not love the ring. She continued by saying, “the diamonds are E H quality”, or some such letters that was supposed to impress. It was lost on me. He stood next to me leaning over the case, focused on the ring and listening intently. It was going to be a major purchase if we decided to go with it.
He asked me to wait outside while he had a private conversation with the shopkeeper. I quietly turned to him and said, “I need to talk to you.” He insisted I wait outside. I repeated myself again, hoping to curtail their conversation. I could see he was set to negotiate. I didn’t want him to work to get the price down on something I wasn’t really sure about. However, I went outside as he asked and waited until he emerged from the store. He told me he had talked her down by several hundred dollars.
“Hey, I wanted to let you know that I don’t love the ring” I said. He was a little bit surprised, as we walked down the street. I said, “Maybe we can go to Boston to look for the right thing.” He agreed, although a bit disappointed. Turning toward the beach we walked onto the soft sand and stared out at the harbor in silence. The beautiful summer day reflected the sun off the water as the boats bobbed on their moorings. His plan was to propose and present me with a ring that night. It was our weekend away to celebrate 25 years together and to start a new chapter in our life.
The town had been all but shut down that day while they worked on the repairs. A sewer breakage had caused all food establishments to close, and half the town was left without plumbing. We decided to go anyway and try to enjoy ourselves. The quaint hotel we stayed at had flushing toilets and was in the center of town near beaches and shops. Port-o-Potties lined the main street, and a scattering of people walked around. Our evening plans were ruined as our favorite restaurant, The Mews, was closed. That was the memorable location he planned to make it official.
As we walked back toward the main drag, I saw another Jewelry shop. I said, “Let’s go in here and take a look.”
I had every intention of just looking. The owner of the shop was animated and friendly. He didn’t have the smug air of the last shop owner. We began leaning over the cases to look at his diamond rings. There were several off the list right away. He held up “our most popular” rings looking for my interest. Nah, no interest. I did find one that was way beyond our means. I kept going back to it, but eventually snapped out of it. We were not looking to spend a ton of cash.
My eyes were a bit off focus because my false eyelashes were starting to flap off my eyelid. I must have looked crazy. Every so often I’d put my finger on the lashes to secure them on the dry glue without success. My soon to be fiancé was staring intently at all the sparkly choices, pointing out possibilities. And then, there it was. A 3-diamond band that was sweet and simple. It resembled the ring we saw at the other shop, but was in white gold, which made it pop. The owner told us that the 3 diamonds represented, “yesterday, today and tomorrow.” That resonated with us since we have been together for so long.
My boyfriend asked the owner if we could take a walk and talk about it. “Of course!” he said. So, we left the store and stood off to the side of the front window. With tears coming down his face, he quickly said, “I know we’re doing this backwards, we’re about to buy a ring, and I haven’t officially asked you to marry me. Will you marry me?” I took his face into my hands, looked directly in his eyes, and slowly said “Yes. Yes, I will marry you” as my tears (and eyelashes) blurred my eyes. We tightly embraced and started kissing in the middle of a busy sidewalk like we were the only ones in the world.