The Proposal

I was sitting on the north side of Union Square Park, happily killing time with a book before dinner. The main character was about to learn something important when…

“Hello?” an Asian American, NYU-looking student ducked into my line of vision. We made eye contact as I peered hesitantly over the book.

You think I would know, by now, that eye contact is a death sentence to remaining obscure.

I was required to speak. “Hi,” I said with an overtly awkward face.
“So… I love you.”
I laughed, again, awkwardly.
“No, I love you.”
I look around for a camera, or even a group of laughing friends. None could be spotted.
“Er… ah, did someone dare you to do this?”
“No. I knew when I saw you. I saw your red hair, 
and I knew I loved you.”

I eyed my frizzy curls. When was the last time I’d showered?

“So yeah, I love you.”
He seemed to speak as though he were joking; yet he was relentless in his quest for attention. I couldn’t seem to shake him with any number of coy remarks.

“I’m a man on a mission,” he stated firmly.
Yeah… and I’m a girl with a knife.

Then he smiled lightheartedly and got down on one knee.

“Will you marry me?”
“Oh. Oh dear.” Now the surrounding 15 or so people were watching as I calmly closed my book. The main character’s surprising discovery would have to wait until I’d disposed of Improbable Future Husband.

I glanced at the man to my left for moral support. The older Italian gentleman had tan skin and the kind of designer glasses you know cost more than my apartment.
“He-he-he,” he giggled at me.

“Unfortunately, I’m taken,” I say. Two can play at this.
“Oh,” he seemed genuinely surprised. “I see.”
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that.”
“Well how long have you been dating?”

Persistent sonofa…

“Two years since May,” I shoot back, not batting at eye.
“Are you going to marry him?”
“You really think so?”
“Oh, I don’t know!” I say quickly. This conversation had become a long detour from my supposed afternoon plans. The neighboring Italian man begins to flat out laugh. “I am loe-king for da cam-aira,” he chuckles.

“Me too,” I say glancing around, half assuming the lovelorn bachelor’s antics will somehow end up on YouTube.

“Well, you might marry someone else. But I DO love you.”
“Well… I’m sorry I didn’t meet you first?”
“Can I give you my number?”
“Sure thing.”
“Oh! What’s your name?”
“Uh… Brit.” I couldn’t think on the spot. Obviously my name is Nicole and I’m from Nebraska!
“Is that a fake name?” he asked with a smile.
“Yes. What’s your number?”

He gives me his digits, which have a 718 area code – meaning he probably lives somewhere in the boroughs. Then he makes me label him in my contacts list as “Person I’m Supposed To Marry,” and he’s not content till the name is just so.
“Ok, now call me,” he says.

Blast! I should have known better.
I could probably take this guy (right?), and I could 
definitely block his number.

“So if you ever breakup with your boyfriend… call me?”
“Of course,” I say with a smile. He sauntered off, and I resumed my reading. A few minutes later the Italian stood up to leave. “Watch out fer those hopeless roman-tics,” he wisely suggested as he nodded his farewell.

The next morning, I received a short text message.
“I love you brit,” it said from Improbable Future Husband.

Well… there are worse ways to start your day. 

[Editor's Note: I realize I didn't spell "person" correctly in the above picture, but as I was slightly frazzled, I thought I would leave my grammatical error for effect.]