Whoever said not all that glitters is gold was probably hinting at diamond.
Kelvin had to set it down on the table, the stone’s refulgence hurting his eyes under the light he had held it up to.
“Exquisite, innit?” said the jeweler whose generous smile above an overgenerous neckline left him a little confused as to which she would have him pay attention to- bosom or business. Unsure of which would not give off how distracted he was, Kelvin gave her both a grunt and a plastic smile.
“That’d set you back by twelve thousand bucks.”
Kelvin grimaced. He budgeted only eight. He slid it back to her.
“Pricey, but best in town,” said some customer two feet away. Sporting heavy sunshades, his attention was fully on the ring he was checking out. “Plus,” he added, still not looking Kelvin’s way, “if you think she’s worth it, she probably is.”
Feeling intruded upon, Kelvin wanted to call the fellow’s bluff. An immature reaction that’d be, he chided himself. After all, the dude only made an honest, harmless remark. It could not have been any more rightly said. Four years running, and countless dates but he had been jittery about popping the question.
“True that bro. True.”
“Thought so too,” the guy smiled.
“I’m Kelvin, by the way.”
“Hi, Chris. Here for a proposal ring too?”
“Yep. Gotta give her this thirty-five grand rock soonest.”
“Sounds like she must be very special.”
“You have no idea.”
“I once lost my chance with her, but now that that her boyfriend doesn’t seem to be thinking of marriage, her lights are beginning to turn green to me. This is my shot.”
“Oh, quite a story.”
“Roger that, man. Thanks.”
Kelvin exhaled for the umpteenth time in four minutes. She’d be out of the graduation hall in a bit. He convinced himself again this wasn’t just the thing to do, but also how best to do it. From a hot air balloon high up while the sun was retiring for the day, to hunkering down on one knee at a traffic light till she said yes—okay, now if that’s not risky in at least two ways: being crushed by some amber-gambler, what if she was too frightened by the setting to give a sensible response?—he had dreamed up a few, well, dreamy ideas of making this special, for them both. He settled for this occasion though, hoping to heighten the excitement for her by making the day all about her.
He flicked a fly off his lapel, straightened his sleeves that were already perfect. He felt for it in his suit’s inner pocket. It lay there quietly, the jewel, although his heart’s throbbing kept hitting it like it would kick it out any moment.
The din of the graduands and their families emerging from the hall did not aid his anxiety. He waited. He would spot her soon.
And then man up.
And walk up to her.
And say, “Linda, will you marry me?”
Uh, that’s artless, he thought. He’d have to infuse some panache, say… “Linda Beautiful, from the first time I…“ He saw her emerge. Flustered, he turned his back. But where was all the confidence he had mustered? No, Kelvin, you can do this. He decided he will.
Then he heard screaming, ‘Yes, yes. I will. Yes!” That was her voice! Everybody’s attention was turning to something behind him.
Turning around slowly, his knees wobbled beneath him, his gaze freezing at the sight. The crowd had created a ring around his Linda, whose left hand was outstretched toward a fellow on a bent knee!
And is that the Chris guy?
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