Versión en espańol
Disclaimer: Fabiola does not necessarily agree with this reconstruction of the facts.
Since several months ago, Fabiola had suggested that she would like to receive a ring some time this decade. I told her that it would be difficult because I didn't know her size, so she took the liberty to measure her finger in a jewelry store and made sure that I knew that her size is 4. She also remembered to mention which kind of ring she would like.
While we were at a jewelry store looking at rings and measuring Fabiola's finger, the saleswoman suggested that I apply for credit ("no strings attached"). We had already tried, unsuccessfully, to apply for credit when we bought the bed. The problem is that to get credit you need a credit history... Anyway, to my surprise, they approved me for credit with a fabulous $600 limit. In addition to this evident signal from above, there was a ring that Fabiola seemed to like. I decided that I would buy it at the first opportunity.
That opportunity didn't happen spontaneously, because we live together and we usually leave home together and go home together. So I decided to take my chances and sneak away quietly on a day when Fabiola had a group meeting at her lab. That was Monday, March 10. The expedition took a couple of hours, as the store is more that half an hour from home. While I was driving, I felt like in a dream. Was I really doing that? I'm still not sure. At any rate, at least I didn't fall asleep on the wheel.
All this was during the first week of Spring Break. Our plan was to go to Vermont the following week, and I thought that would be a good opportunity to give her the ring. It happened that resizing took a couple of weeks; however, I didn't worry about it, because that left me a couple of interesting possibilities: Fabiola's birthday is on March 25 and our anniversary is on April 6. So I bought the ring. The saleswoman was very happy: she shook my hand and said "Good choice!". The way home was also kind of surrealistic. Fabiola didn't notice anything.
That Saturday we had dinner with a couple of Canadian friends. They showed us the pictures from their wedding; Fabiola and Amélie had a long conversation about rings, and I pretended I knew nothing about it.
The next day we went to Vermont, where we spent four days. That's another story and it shall be told another time. For the moment being, suffice it to say that I pretended I knew nothing.
On Monday, the 24th, after Spring Break, I sneaked away again to go and pick up the ring. The story is very similar to when I went to buy it. The main difference was that, to have an alibi, I also bought Fabiola a couple of DVDs for her birthday, in case she asked where had I been. Mwahahaa... [evil laugh]
That same week, Amy, from Fab's lab, got an engagement ring from her boyfriend. Fabiola tried to use that as an example to suggest that I buy her a ring. I already had the ring by then, but I pretended I knew nothing and told her that that kind of thing was still in the very distant future. That Friday we went to the Spring Semiformal party of the Chemistry Department, where Amy and Ryan (her fiancé) showed me the ring and asked when Fabiola would have hers. Obviously, I pretended I knew nothing about it. (By now people would say that I really didn't know anything!)
A week went by and the long-expected day came. April 6th, our sixth anniversary. Fabiola had to go to school to turn off an experiment that she left running since the night before. After that, we went for groceries and I bought her some flowers. We got home, took a shower, had lunch, and started thinking about how to celebrate the day. I had considered some possible evil plans, but I had my mind open to any possibility that might occur to Fabiola. The original plan was to go shopping for gardening supplies, and then go for dinner to Fabiola's favorite pizza place and then go for a walk in one of New Haven's nice parks.
That was the only sunny day in the whole week. The truth is that I ordered it special, but the gods of weather told me that, in return, they would make it snow on the next day. That was what happened, but when Fabiola found out that there would snow, she decided to postpone gardening season (indiscreet meteorologists!). Then, between one crazy idea and the next, Fabiola suggested going to New York. At first, I said "You are crazy!, it's to late" or something like that. But then I thought "Aha! The perfect opportunity!", so I accepted and pushed the plan of going to NY. By then it was already 2 PM, even if we thought it was 1 PM because we had forgotten Daylight Savings Time. That would usually be late for going to NY (it takes over 90 minutes to get there), because most places close at 5 PM on Sundays.
We got to NY at about 4, after getting a little bit lost for missing an exit. That always happens when we try to drive to NY because the road is always under construction and the signs are usually in the most confusing place possible. Finally, we got there and managed to park for free on 60th Street and Park Avenue. Quite a miracle!
We walked a few blocks until we got to Central Park, which happened to be conveniently close. There we saw a bunch of horse-drawn carriages waiting for passengers. Fabiola suggested taking a tour on one of those, and I didn't resist. Maybe in other circumstances I would have complained about the price, or something like that, but this time it was the perfect opportunity. Fabiola was setting up her own trap! Some people would suspect that all of this was her plan, but she swears it was not. Maybe I planned that she planned that I plan... Well, in fact the plan was to give her the ring later, perhaps over dinner, so as not to ruin her shopping spree with distractions. But this was too good an opportunity to pass.
Carriage tours last about 30 minutes, and I won't say how much they cost because that would be impolite. It so happened that we were on the carriage, very happy, looking at the first flowers of the spring, listening to the singing of the birds, and watching happy people roller blade on the trails of Central Park. Fabiola was saying that it was so pretty, and that it was so romantic. We took a picture that we haven't developed yet.
When I estimated that we were on the middle of the tour (following the teachings of Sun Tzu), I started the following dialogue:
[several failed guesses...]
[Iván shows her the ring]
[Fab crying emotionally. The cat is artistic license.]
[Five minutes pass, during which the driver asks Fabiola if she is OK. When he notices what's happening, he smiles...]
[Iván puts the ring on Fabiola's finger.]
Ten minutes pass in silence. The tour ends. We get off the carriage. Fabiola looks dizzy and she doesn't say anything. She doesn't faint. She looks at me with a "look, you just make me cry!" face, but in jest.
We start walking down on Fifth Avenue. We enter the Disney store. We go up; we go down. Fabiola doesn't look at any product. She doesn't try on any clothes. Something weird is happening: she can't focus in the shopping!
We exit the store and continue walking down Fifth Avenue. When we pass in front of Godiva, Fabiola says "I need a chocolate" This is exceptional because she doesn't like chocolate [now Fab says it was only for the sugar, but I think I'm really converting her to the "dark side"].
After eating the chocolate, Fabiola starts her descent to Earth. On the next block, we find The Gap store. We go in. Between the effects of the chocolate, and that this is Fab's favorite store, now she manages to try on stuff and she even buys something. We spent a good amount of time on that store.
We walked for a while down Fifth Avenue. It was already 6 PM: dinner time! We decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe. We walked more than we needed because I though it was on the forty something street, while in fact it's on the 57th, and I was too shy to ask (I'm a guy, anyway).
Fabiola had a strawberry daiquiri and I had a margarita; I had fetuccini with shrimp for dinner and she had some ribs. For dessert, I had a chocolate milkshake and Fabiola had some kind of apple pie, which she didn't finish, even with my help! It was very good, but it was too much food. [Maybe all these details are unnecessary, but some people said they wanted to know everything.]
We walked back to the car. We were happy to see that it was still there and that we didn't have a parking ticket. The way home was exceptionally quick and easy: it took about 70 minutes; something noteworthy, considering that on some other occasion we did three hours. Another small miracle to wrap up the day.
We got home, where we basically made phone calls until we decided that it was too late, which happened some time after midnight.
And we lived happily ever after.