July 4, 2008     Monica & Alex  
   
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The Proposal

"We’ll always have Venice...."

"I loved you yesterday, I love you today, I will love you tomorrow.  But most importantly, I want to love you forever.  Will you marry me?" 

With those words, down on one knee, atop a gondola in the city of water, I asked Monica to be my wife. 

She said yes. 

Twice.

***************************************************************************************

Two days prior, on Thursday, without warning, I had told her to pack up.  We were leaving to a destination that was to remain unknown to her until the very last minute when the airline made the boarding call.  We packed all night as I was giving her random useless clues to throw her off.  

Then on Friday, I put the engagement ring I had bought two weeks ago from Mervis, in my pocket worried that she was going to find it in the baggage. I was also worried about having any problems taking it past airport security.  But you guessed it, we were "randomly" chosen for a security check.  We were patted down and I thought that the security officials were going to take the ring out and I was going to be forced to propose at the airport if Monica saw it.  I whispered to the man patting me down that I had an engagement ring and he took it away without Monica noticing. 

We sat at the airport.  And all Monica knew was that we were going to transfer in Philly.  Destination still unknown.  I kept giving her useless clues and waving the tickets in front on her without telling her where we were going.  Teasing her.

Once in Philly, I told her we were going to Venice, Italy.  We traveled all day and night and into Saturday. 

When we got to Italy, we took a boat into the heart of Venice.  We settled in our hotel and walked around a bit until I found a gondola service that was going to take us to meet our destiny.  We got on the gondola and held hands, admiring the city, its canals, its people, but above all this romantic moment.  I was nervous.  I was sure that Monica could sense it.  I could hear my breathing.  I could sense my pulse deep in my throat.  My senses were awakened.  And I kept repeating in my head, the speech that was to come.  Mixed and matched words.  But didn't sound like the original I had planned back home.  It was as if my words had fled from me and left only the deep sense on anticipation, of unbelief of what was to come and what was happening.  It had been four years since we met; 2 years, 10 months, 17 days since we started our courtship and we had traveled approximately 4,575 miles to get here.  It was time.  I stood up.  Took Monica by the hand and asked her to stand up.  I could see in her eyes the fire that had brought me to this day.

"Amor, I love you. I loved you yesterday, I love you today ---"

And then Marco, our Gondolier yelled something in Italian and urged us to sit down because we were en course to hit a wall as he tried to make a turn into another canal.

So we sat.  I couldn't believe it!  Here I was, about to spill my soul.  Unleash those words that would change our lives.  And I was stopped in the middle of it.

"I love you too baby" Monica replied.

I didn't know how to proceed.  I didn't have a plan B.  Should I think of another strategy so it won't be too obvious?  Continue where I left off?  Or just start all over?  I chose the latter.  I was too nervous by this point.  In fact, my hands where shaky as I grabbed Monica's yet again. 

"I loved you Yesterday, I love you today, I will love you tomorrow.  But most importantly, I want to love you forever.  Will you marry me?" 

With those words, down on one knee, atop a gondola in the city of water, I asked Monica to be my wife. 

She said yes. 

Twice.

I could hear my heart beat louder than the tourists, the sea gulls, the Adriatic wind.  We embraced each other as we rode the rest of the Gondola as future Mr. and Mrs. Downs thinking "We'll always have Venice..."