By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
It was a cool, bright night. The stars were shining up above us and the moon was gloating in bright raiment. We were sitting on a blanket, and had just had dessert: chocolate éclairs, her favourite. She looked at me and I looked back at her as her eyes glistened in the moonlight. I reached over to touch her hand and as our hands touched, electricity that i had felt before but still had not gotten used to, flowed through my body. I squeezed her hand gently and whispered, “I love you so much”. She looked back and she smiled. “I love you too” she said.
This was it. I was finally with the woman of my dreams. My whole life had been a journey and she had been the destination. We had been together for over a year now and I had decided that today would be the day that I finally asked her to be my other half, the half that completed me. I was going to ask her to be my wife. I wanted to wake up next to her every morning, for the rest of my life.
Moments after she said 'I love you too', I slowly reached into my back pocket and pulled out a box with the ring that had been burning a hole through my pocket the whole day and I opened it and said, “Kate, will you marry me?”
Her expression changed from one of love-sickness to one of near disgust. I sat there, holding the ring towards her and she looked at it, looked at me then looked at the ring again. Finally she shook her head. “What do you think you're doing?” she asked.
'Well,' I said, trying to hide my state of utter shock, 'I love you and you love me and so I'm asking you to marry me.' As I finished saying that I thought to myself, 'Gosh Johnnie! Couldn't you have said that a bit better?'
Suddenly she knocked the ring out of my hand and stood up and said, 'What do love and marriage have to do with each other Johnnie? I loved you but you ruined it by asking me to marry you!' She stood up and stormed off.
My head started spinning as I tried to process what had just happened. I had told her that I loved her, and she had told me she loved me too, then I had asked her to marry me but she had said no and she was upset because I had 'ruined everything' by asking her to marry me. I couldn't understand that. All this time I thought that love was a flower bud that eventually bloomed into marriage but clearly our flower bud of love was never meant to bloom.
It became clear to me as I started packing up all the evidence of my place of heartbreak that my love for her and her love for me were two completely different things. My love for her had been true, sincere and real. But her love for me had been a four letter word that deceived the air.
I got into my car, my heart torn to pieces and I went home. I unlocked my door and as I opened it there was a loud scream of about fifty people shouting 'Surprise!!!!' In the room were all of Kate and I's friends and family and hanging from the ceiling was a big sign that said, 'Congratulations Kate and Johnnie!'
It was then that I remembered: in my naivety I had been so sure that Kate was going to say yes to marrying me and so I had organized for our friends and family to meet us at the house after we had gotten engaged for a surprise engagement party. It seems everything had gone according to plan. The house looked amazing and they had executed the surprise perfectly. The only thing though, was that at that moment I was supposed to be standing at the door with Kate and she was supposed to be wearing the $10 000 engagement ring that I had bought her and the surprise party that I had organized was meant to blow her away and serve as further confirmation that she had made the right decision by agreeing to get married to me.
Instead, I was standing at the door alone, holding a picnic basket. If my heart had been broken before, now, it was completely shattered.
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