Twenty-one days passed between the moment I first mentioned proposing to Bianca and the moment we bushwhacked up a hill in Orange County and stopped being boyfriend and girlfriend.
I first vocalized the idea of proposing on July 10th, to Bianca’s friend Leslie. It’s the only thing I could think about from that point on. That feeling escalated when I tracked down a tiny diamond ring set in a hand-hammered band made of recycled gold, made by a small Oakland art gallery – very feminine and very Bianca. I looked at it online several times a day for a week. And then I got it, on my birthday, July 22nd.
I had already sat down with Oscar and Nuria to tell them about my permanent crush on their daughter. So, the pieces were in place. I flew down on Friday, July 30th.
I had no control over when or where I would propose that weekend. 99 percent of Orange County is strip malls and I didn’t have my own car, so it was a challenge.
Bianca spent the morning of July 31st at her next-door neighbor’s mom’s wake. While she was away, I stole some dried lavender from a bouquet hanging on her wall and used the aforementioned engagement ring to bind it together. I wrapped it up in a blue bandana and put it in my backpack.
When Bianca got home we decided to go see “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which I read because I love her. We got out of the movie – which wasn’t bad – at 6:30ish. The sun was on its way down, so I suggested we snag some lawn chairs and a bottle of wine and race to a place where we could watch the sunset. Eeek!
While she grabbed the wine I wrapped the ring in a flannel shirt and stuffed it into the pocket of a lawn chair. We drove north on the 405 to a nice, quiet hill.
The sun was almost down and we were way off the trail, on the wrong side of a small barbed-wire fence. We burrowed under the fence and hiked through the spiky grass. Bianca was having fun.
When we finally found the trail, I sprinted up the hill and noticed that just a sliver of the sun was left on the horizon. I plopped open my chair and uncorked the wine bottle. She set hers up casually and then started taking hundreds of pictures, rotating between a digital camera, a film camera, and an old vintage camera. She was buzzing around, excited, and totally oblivious to vibe I was trying to put out.
I couldn’t get her to sit down, so I started reading Pablo Neruda poetry, which slowly reeled her in. She started on her wine while I read two or three poems. And then she grabbed the book.
At this point I was fiddling with the lavender ring bouquet, contemplating a good time to introduce it.
The first poem she read was nice, but I was hardly paying attention. My plan was to propose right after the next poem, and then she read the title: “Semen.”
I thought it would be tacky to propose immediately after a poem called “Semen,” so I sat tight. I mentioned to her, however, that some kind of critter was rustling around in the bushes in front of us. She acknowledged it and read another poem, which I didn’t pay attention to because I was getting kind of nervous.
The poem ended and I got up, with the lavender and ring hidden in my left hand. I walked toward the grass in front of us and said, “Hey Bianca, come check this out.”
She hesitated, and then came over, still holding a poetry book and a bottle of wine. I turned around and, with the bouquet in my hand, politely asked her to marry me.
She jumped (because she thought the thing in my hand was the critter).
And then she saw the ring, processed the question, and said something like: “Wait, are you serious?”
“Oh my God, YES.”
And then we laughed and hugged each other for about ten minutes, excitedly looking at our future.
After that, we sat back down in our lawn chairs to enjoy the evening. She proceeded to call her friends and family while I dominated the bottle of wine and listened excitedly to her conversations.
And now we’re fiancés!
And soon we’ll be married!