Alice Cooper helps out with couple's proposal
We celebrated our five-year anniversary last week, we'd talked about marriage (in "someday" terms), but nothing could have prepared me for the moment he walked through those glass doors.
He really had no idea what was about to hit him.
There he was, powerwalking through the foyer of the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, thinking he was about to complete some ambiguous scavenger hunt "for my work".
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Thanks, in part, to his forgetfulness, I was able to keep my big proposal plans under wraps for the best part of 12 months. As far as he knew, he was just doing me a favour on a routine Saturday afternoon.
I mocked up an indemnity form and package of instructions and sent him on his way to five locations around Perth – loosely connected to relationship milestones and his favourite things.
His competitive side kicked in and he cut corners in completing the challenges set him by my "colleague" (who was really me, using an alternate SIM card), while complaining to be real me about how the scavenger hunt "could be so much better".
All the while, up in room 491 of the Esplanade Hotel, sat my iPad. On the screen was a short film I put together starring the likes of Alice Cooper, Michael Caton and Eddie McGuire. Each graciously gave me a moment of their time in recent months to help a lovestruck girl pop the question.
Now, having picked up the final clue from the front desk, my beloved rode the elevator to the top floor as my heart rose from my chest and settled into my throat.
During the longest 10 minutes of my life, all manner of scenarios went through my head. Would he hate being proposed to? Would he resent me for it? Would he powerwalk straight out the door and drive far, far away?
He did walk back into the hotel foyer, but not out the door. Smiling, he looked a little puzzled as he looked about – until his eyes found me sitting alone in the bar.
My nervous wave beckoned him over, but even the big hug he gave me didn't satisfy the demon on my shoulder who planted seed after seed of doubt.
After a long moment, he held me tighter and whispered "a thousand times, yes".
Well, didn't that set off the waterworks. A year of planning, three months of pent up nerves and 24 hours on coffee alone combined to produce an almighty, very vocal sob which left puddles of black eyeliner on my poor bloke's shirt.
A glass of champagne later and we were all giggles and humming along to Beyonce's Single Ladies.
In the days since, I've thought about all the times I've heard women wondering aloud if and when they'd be proposed to.
I think many of us underestimate how nerve-wracking the whole experience can be, even for those popping the question in a more traditional way to a very receptive partner.
The puffy-eyed, blubbering wreck in our first engagement photo will always be a hilarious, albeit unflattering, reminder for me.
I love you, Cal.