It was a sunny Thursday in the city. John Mayer played through her iPhone while she flipped through the latest issue of Real Simple on her couch. She had what she referred to as a “slow, intentional” morning of drinking bulletproof coffee, listening to podcasts, and catching up on some reading before doing a yoga class in the park with the Groupon she had purchased. After grabbing a salad with and catching up with Caroline over her lunch break, she headed back home in her workout clothes to nap her afternoon away before going for drinks with Todd and two of his work friends.
In between articles, she would pick up her phone and flip between her app staples – Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Between lingering on the discover tab and pinning apartment and wedding inspiration photos, she took sips of her lemon water and ate small handfuls of cashews and dried fruits that she’d recently made with her recently purchased dehydrator.
Unsure of how she was going to spend her weekend, she had the full intention of not “going out” after she’d overspent on her budget in Napa the weekend before with Todd, Katie, and Finn. She had researched some cooking classes at Sur La Table for Saturday afternoon but had yet to get clearance from Todd to book them with another couple.
With Sperry pawing at the door, she soon realized it was time for a walk. After changing out of one workout outfit into another, she grabbed Sperry’s leash and headed for the elevator when her phone began to ring.
“Why is John calling me?” she wondered. “Whatever, I don’t have much service here anyway. I’ll just call him when I get home.”
While walking around the block, Sperry left two droppings next to the stoop of a townhouse she had previously looked at. Purposefully forgetting to bring plastic bags to clean it up, she pretended to look for them in case someone was looking through the window at her negligence. She gave a half-hearted shrug and pulled Sperry from sniffing in their myrtle.
Upon returning to her apartment, she noticed that John had left a voicemail for her. “Who leaves voicemails these days?” she muttered to herself. “What’s he going to do next? Fax me?” She laughed to herself about how funny and random she was while undoing the leash from Sperry’s collar.
After typing in her passcode, she put the phone on speaker and set it on her coffee table.
“Hey, it’s John. I’d text you but I didn’t want to leave a trail for fear of Caroline somehow figuring this all out. Can you give me a call back when you have a second? Thanks and I hope you had a great time in Napa.”
Confused, she listened to the voicemail again. And again. And finally, one last time.
“What could he possibly be calling about?” she pondered. “He’s clearly not throwing her a birthday party because her birthday isn’t until September. I don’t think she’s gotten a promotion or anything. Like, I literally have no idea. She tells me fucking everything.”
She racked her brain for the next five minutes while pacing around her living room. After resting her hands on her hips, she ran her hand through her hair in confusion. The madness she felt oozed into curiosity, which soon transitioned into a lightbulb moment of complete and utter panic.
“Is he…” she hesitated. “Is he… proposing to her?” She was completely frazzled. After all, she thought, they had only been involved for the better part of six months. And even the word “involved” was a stretch at that point. He couldn’t possibly be proposing this soon. Could he?
At her wit’s end, she had no other choice but to call him back and get to the bottom of the issue at hand.
“Hey John!” she began. “What’s up?”
He hesitated with a hint of nervousness in his voice. His attempts at small talk made things even more awkward than they already were until finally she interrupted him and asked, “Didn’t you have something you needed my help with?”
“Okay, yeah, about that,” he said. “So I know it’s pretty soon, but–”
Her blood pressure began to rise and her brow began to sweat. He isn’t proposing. He can’t be proposing.
“…this is something I’ve been thinking of doing since the moment I met Caroline–”
Who proposes after six fucking months, she asked herself. She put the phone on speaker and again set it down on her coffee table. Situated on her couch, she had her elbows on her knees and her hands pushed against her forehead which hovered over the phone.
“…tomorrow night, I’m going to–”
Her worst nightmares were being realized at that very moment. Finn had proposed to Katie after a year of dating, and she had always expected that Katie would be the last of her friends to tie the knot.
“…I’m going to propose to Caroline.”
Her eyelids shut and she slumped back into her couch. She could hear John on the other end of the phone explaining his thought process and how he was positive that they were ready to take the next step, but the coming seconds were a blur in her cluttered mind of, “Why not me?”
John, on the other end of the phone, wondered if she was speechless or whether the phone had cut out. “Are you there?” he asked. “I’d really like you to be there for a party afterward that I’m hosting at the hotel bar next door to her place.”
She knew she had to fake her excitement. She had to dig deep and pretend that she wasn’t the one who was supposed to be getting married first. She had to somehow choke out enthusiastic words of affirmation to make sure John knew he was making the right decision despite the fact that she wanted him to at least wait until she had a ring on her finger.
“Oh my God, John!” she shrieked. “That’s sooooooo exciting! Seriously, tell me everything. I’ll do anything to help.”
She again slumped back into her couch and held her empty hand out while John explained to her his plans for their Friday night engagement party. .
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