How They Met: Late-Blooming Love
Meant to Be?
Four days later, I hadn't heard a peep. I felt almost sick. Had the only person who'd made me feel giddy in a long time given me the infamous "I'll call you" brush-off?
When the phone rang that night, I was thrilled, but oh-so-casual. We picked up where we'd left off, and by the third date, we were a couple. (He waited to call, he later confessed, because he was "still playing the stupid New York game.") Every time we saw each other -- which was constantly -- we marveled at how perfectly our lives meshed. For example, John's mother used to say he'd never get married because no woman could stand a man with neater drawers than hers. Hello? My clothes are not so much put away as filed, by category and color. It was obvious that he was my bashert.The Turning Point
There was only one problem: I wasn't sure he realized it. He'd said "I love you" after a couple of months, but he hadn't stayed a bachelor for 52 years by asking just anyone to marry him. I decided I could be truthful, so I told him I felt rather silly being a girlfriend at fiftysomething and that I hoped eventually to be more than that. He wasn't at all defensive, but he said he wasn't ready to make that decision.
Okay, at least I'd spoken my mind. Nothing came of it -- or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, a visit from John's oldest friend, Kevin, was a turning point. One night, John and Kevin had a long talk over a bottle of wine. Actually, as John confided later, he did most of the talking, explaining to Kevin that he loved me but was unsure about making a permanent commitment. Kevin just nodded, and let John rattle on. By the end of his monologue, John told me, he'd figured out what to do.
We celebrated the anniversary of our meeting with a lovely dinner at a waterfront restaurant. The M-word had not been uttered since the day I'd broached it, so I assumed the topic was tabled, at least for now. After dinner, we went back to John's condo, where he handed me a small box containing my favorite perfume. I was thinking, How sweet, when he handed me an even smaller box. I opened it tentatively, unable to focus on the fact that it could contain only one thing.
The ring, which had been his mother's, was a series of diamonds set in the shape of a flower. John placed it on my finger and asked me to marry him. I was so floored I couldn't even muster a gracious reply. "Do you realize what you're saying?" I gasped.
"Yes," he said softly. "I do."