The Proposal

By Linda Silverman McMullen

He asked her to marry him, because he’d crossed the first threshold at work, after scrapping and grasping and fifteen hour days. Now his career demanded an iron fist from eight to eight, and velvet gloves beyond.  Place settings and wine pairings and an understanding of Art-with-a-capital-A (beyond its investment value).  He knew her to possess great respect for forms.

He asked her to marry him because he’d cycled through the Kimberlys and their credit card debt, and the Shannons and their law-school debt, and the Amandas and their narrowly-avoided shoplifting charges.  His mother had all but begged him to marry Jocelyn, but her luminous contract threatened to eclipse his partnership.  He had escaped Tabitha and her “forgotten” birth control – not without some inconvenience.  

He asked her to marry him, because he felt no particular interest in diapers or running noses or parent-teacher conferences, but recognized the necessity of maintaining his name.

He rattled through his reasons, and added that he probably owed it to her: two years of paying her dues.  He remembered not to say that he had hoped for someone a bit more glamorous.  And thinner.

He said, “I’m happy to leave the details of the wedding to you – it’s your day.”

She found a place in the conversation for her voice, and said, gently: “I haven’t yet given my answer…”


Twitter: @LindaCMcMullen