Sunday, October 08, 2006

From Dream to Reality: the Lucas Story Part 2

After Kelly Lucas and I had our romantic Sunday together, in 1985, we started seeing each other full blown. I urged her to move out of the apartment she was sharing with the guy she had been involved with. She wanted to, but she was scared of facing him and finally telling him it was over. She stalled. I didn't complain about the stalling and I understood how difficult a situation she now found herself in. Eventually, I started reminding her that the situation needed resolution. She finally worked herself up to do it and moved back home to her parent's apartment.
We spent all of our free time together. I used to pick her up after work and we went out to dinners, movies, all sorts of things. I introduced her to my good friends, Tim and Barbara, a married couple. I think most of my friends and family were in shock, as I had gone on and on about this woman for years, but I guess they assumed that she didn't fancy me and that I would never have a relationship with her. This especially applied to Kelley Bohland, a gal I had dated and lived with, in the years when Lucas wasn't having anything to do with me. Now, after all those years, here we were, boyfriend and girlfriend. Barbara's father was a jeweler. In the new year, 1986, I decided to propose. Barbara said she would take me to a diamond wholesaler her father used and help me get a ring at a discount.
Barbara and I went to lower Manhattan together. She had her first child, Cassie, in a stroller. People assumed Barbara and I were a couple, with child. Inside this storefront in lower Manhattan, Barbara started doing the talking, as she had her father's contact details. The wholesaler was run by Hasidic Jews, who are big in the diamond trade. They asked for my budget. I wanted a 1 carat diamond, but that was out of my price range. Lucas and I had been in a jewelry store, once, when she said she would like a pear shaped diamond, if she ever got engaged. The diamond merchant came up with a pear shaped, just over half a carat. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I decided to go for it. They offered to include the setting for the same price.
So, now I had a ring. I planned to propose on Valentine's Day. I was so excited. I had never proposed to anyone before. I took the ring to work and showed everyone in the office. It felt like it was burning a hole in my pocket. Finally, I couldn't contain myself any longer. I decided to not wait but propose right away, as I just couldn't take the waiting anymore. I called Lucas at her office. She worked for a large advertising agency, on Madison Avenue, as an art director. I told her I was picking her up after work and taking her out to dinner. I made reservations for Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center.
I picked her up on Madison Avenue, then headed toward lower Manhattan. After parking in the garage, we headed up to the top. As we got out of the elevator and started walking toward the restaurant entrance, Lucas started breathing hard. When we got to the maitre'd, she was practically hyperventilating. She asked for a table as far from the windows as possible. She was afraid of heights! So here we were, at an expensive restaurant, on top of the tallest building in New York, and the second tallest in the world, at that time, which I selected for the view, and she is afraid of heights. Lucas placed her back against the wall farthest from the windows and inched along, hanging on for dear life. We ended up sitting in the center of the restaurant and couldn't see any of the view. Oh well, at least she had stopped hyperventilating.
We ordered and I started thinking about when I was going to do it. The ring was in its box, in my pocket. There were so many people around. I stalled. I was feeling very nervous. This could be embarrassing. Just when I started to work my courage up, the waiter was back with the first course. I kept waiting and waiting...all through dinner. Then dessert came. We were almost ready to leave. It was now or never. I got up, fumbling around in my down on one knee and asked her, "will you marry me?" Out came the ring.
When a guy, or even a woman, says those words, the moment that follows is one of the longest moments in one's life. What would she say? You are hanging it all out there and doing it in public just makes it more potentially embarrassing. I had been in love with this girl for over seven years. No one had been able to surpass her in my esteem, in all that time. Now, I had put all my cards on the table, gambled everything, risked all. How long can I stall revealing what happened? Of course, she said yes.
So, now I was engaged and to the woman I had loved for most of my adult life. My school sweetheart, from university. The dream was coming true. I was so in love. We tentatively planned on getting married a year and a half in the future. But can the reality ever live up to the dream?


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