A Flurry of Texts
I didn’t know a goddamn thing about engagement rings, so when the time came to purchase one I asked my sister Allison for advice. She pointed me toward several excellent shops on Etsy, and provided feedback on a couple of different rings. I picked one I thought was perfect, and my sister agreed with my choice.
There was just one hitch: where should I have the ring sent to? I couldn’t have it sent to my apartment, because Hannah would be mighty suspicious if a mysterious package from Etsy showed up in our mailbox.
Sending the ring to my parents’ place introduced other complications: namely, I didn’t want to tell them I was going to propose.
I didn’t have any good reason for keeping this secret, it just didn’t feel right. I’d told one person, and that felt like enough.
So I ordered the ring, had it sent to my parents’ place, and told my mom to be on the lookout for a package from Etsy.
“It’s earrings for Hannah,” I said. “I ordered them as a present for her finishing her internship.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” my mom said.
“Just set the package aside and I’ll pick it up the next time I’m in Oshawa,” I said.
A few weeks later I went to Oshawa and the package was there. I took it to my room and opened it; the ring was even better than it had looked online.
Then things got messy.
The following is an exchange of text messages sent between Allison and I later that afternoon.
David: The ring is here. Looks good. But now Mother wants to see the “earrings”. What the hell do I do?
Allison: HAHAHAHA! Hahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahaha. This is what you get for lying.
David: I hate you.
Allison: I’m just saying. I don’t know what you should tell her. Jesus. When are you going to propose?
David: Not sure. Depends on when we’re going to her parents’ place.
David: She finishes work on Fri. The Ex is on Sat. Funeral on Sun. Possibly her parents on Mon.
Allison: You’re proposing at the R.O.M., aren’t you?
David: Possibly not now, due to time pressures. I’ll do it at Philosopher’s Walk next to the R.O.M.
David: We don’t have time. Unless we go to her parents’ place later in the week.
Allison: What’s the rush?
David: She’s barely been home this summer and everyone’s having a birthday.
Allison: No, what’s the rush to ask before you leave?
David: I want to ask in Toronto.
Allison: Are you not coming back?
David: This was always the plan: celebrate with her family after the proposal. That’s why I’m doing this now.
Allison: Ohhhhhh. I see. Ask on the day she finishes work? Skip the Ex?
David: I’ll do it on the morning of the Ex probably.
Allison: But not in the Rotunda?
David: Probably not. But Philosopher’s Walk is very pretty, less crowded, and it’s where I realized I liked her.
Allison: Aww, that’s so sweet!
David: It’ll do quite nicely.
Allison: Super romantic. Did you show Mother the earrings? Next time you lie, you should probably get earrings and a ring so that you still have something to show for it.
David: She’s forgotten. I hope she doesn’t remember. Fuck my life.
Allison: I’m going to remind her.
Allison: I’m the devil. Walk to a store and buy some fucking earrings.
David: No, I’ll just deal with whatever happens.
Allison: Are you going to tell them?
David: After the proposal. By phone. Ideally.
Allison: Why! Speaking of things we don’t want to tell the parents, I’m getting a new tattoo.
David: Hahaha. What of?
Allison: A snitch. Or, more accurately, a snidget. Which is the bird they used before they invented the metal snitch, which nearly went extinct from the sport.
Allison: You want Asperger’s? I’m getting it for finishing my MA “as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance and skill”.
David: An extinct bird?
Allison: Also it’s only ever mentioned in the meta book “Quidditch Through the Ages”, where there is a very cute little sketch of the bird.
David: Damn, son. What’ll you get for your PhD? Thick black letters on your forehead that say AUTISM?
Fortunately, due to my mother’s forgetfulness and my father’s apathy, neither of them remembered to ask about the ring for the duration of my visit to Oshawa. I was able to take it back to Toronto and hide it in a cupboard. And Allison didn’t tell anyone about the ring either, because contrary to what she’d have me believe, she’s actually a nice person.