I fail at this proposing thing. You know when you can't even find the store you're looking for, you fail. Let alone the whole chickening out thing.
And the fact it's taken me two days to even convince myself it's not too soon. I mean, I'm not planning to propose for a while longer yet. Maybe his birthday? Or even maybe after he's forgotten about it. I don't know, I haven't got a clue.
In these two days on my own in that hotel room, I've managed to convince myself that proposing is a terrible idea and that I should go back home, told myself it's not a bad idea, so long as I do it at the right time, and then consequently wondered when the fuck the right time is gonna be?
Because y'see, I've already decided I wanna spend the rest of my life with him, so long as he'll have me. But then, I thought that about Alex, too. And it took me seven years to find out that we weren't gonna be together that long. So how do I know that if I propose now, that a similar thing isn't gonna happen?
‘Cause surely being married is only gonna make it more painful if something does happen. I know that's amazingly pessimistic, but that's what I do to myself when I'm alone - I just over think things and drive myself insane trying to figure out what to do.
Why else d'you think it took me til I was eighteen to come out as gay to my parents?
Right now, I'm sitting at an outside table in front of Costa Coffee, with a double espresso and a cigarette. Don't blame me, blame the stress... yeah. The stress I've brought upon myself.
I don't really want to be inside. I'm paranoid that at any minute my dad's gonna see me, ‘cause this jewellery shop I'm looking for is in Islington. My dad works close enough to Islington that it's not an unreasonable worry.
Well. It's probably not as reasonable as it could be.
I should stop rambling to myself and go find that fucking shop, or I'll end up going back to the hotel with nothing again.
Downing my coffee, I stub my cigarette out in the ashtray and persuade myself to get my ass up and into that shop. I already know what one I want. I just couldn't order it online.
Which isn't true. Strictly speaking, I could have ordered it online, but how can you tell from a picture on the computer that it's really the one you want?
I set off down the street in the general direction that I think the shop is in, and pray to whoever might listen that I don't just walk in and walk straight back out again.
By the time I've found this place - with much procrastinating and smoking - I think I've convinced myself enough that it's not a bad idea and that I should just man up and get the ring already so I can go home. I walk in, trying to do my best to be confident and sure of myself, but the clerk picks up on my inward panicking in about two seconds as I stare dumbly at the array of rings under the glass.
"Can I help you, sir?" she asks. I look up, surprised at the break in the relative quiet.
"Uh, yeah. I'm- I'm looking for an engagement ring for my boyfriend," I mumble, fixing my gaze back on the rings. She seems kind of amused by my reaction and wanders over so we're opposite each other with the glass cabinet between us like a desk of some sort.
"Did you have anything in particular in mind, or are you happy to browse?"
"Um, there was one I saw on your site... the... uh," I pull up the sleeve of my shirt to look at the names of the rings I wanted to look at. I read out the first inky scrawl to her and she pulls out a small tray with the ring collection sitting proud on individual little cushion things. She picks one up, showing it to me properly.
"This one?" she asks, turning the ring around so that the concave surface of the red gold catches the light and I can judge the width of the ring. I nod, smiling slightly.
"Yeah, that's the one. Just need to make up my mind if that's the one I really want or not," I laugh a little. It comes out almost nervously and the woman gives me this sympathetic smile.
Eventually, I come out with that first ring I looked at, though I managed to spend about two hours in there with the woman, debating whether a wooden inlay would work or not, or if I should get one with a gem in it, or what I might engrave it with.
I figured simple things usually work better than over the top things. So it's a plain, fourteen carat red gold ring, with an engraving on the inside of the band. Now that I'm sitting on the hotel bed with the little box in my hand, staring at the ring inside of it, I feel... strangely calmer than I expected I would be.
One thing I will never tell Hadley about all this, is how much it cost.