Author: Amy Lynch
Published: 7th May 2015
The waiter arrives with banoffee and profiteroles.
‘Bon appétit.’ The waiter beams at us. He gives a quick glance at my cleavage and then smiles into my face.
OH…MY…GOD! The waiter knows! The whole restaurant is probably in on it. It is all one big conspiracy. Do Mum and Dad know? Did Barry ask Dad for my delicate hand in marriage? Did my BFFs help him with the arrangements?
The banoffee is heaven sent but I can’t stomach it. Still, I make a pretty good attempt so as not to be rude. I don’t want Barry to be suspicious.
‘So. I almost forgot,’ Barry clears his throat and puts his fork down.
This is it.
‘Yes!’ I cry, startling the couple at the next table.
‘Eh, so…yeah. Happy birthday, Rebecca.’
Barry reaches into his breast pocket. Here it is. I watch in slow motion. I can’t take the suspense any longer. It is killing me. I nearly shout at him to hurry the flip up, but I catch myself in time.
‘Oh, what’s this?’ I force my eyebrows back down.
‘Open it and see. Just a small little something. I saw you admiring it a while ago in the jeweller’s window.’
Holy Flipping Divine. I try a deep breath. The banoffee is performing somersaults. The box looks too big for a ring, now that I examine it a second time. It must be a whopper. He must have blown a packet on it.
Slowly, tantalisingly, I tease open the box. I am savouring the moment of joy. Tears are pricking my lids in preparation. As the velvet lid opens ajar, I get a flash of diamond. There, in all its glory is a… surely not. What the?!
‘It’s a …’ I swallow.
There is an uncomfortable lump in my throat. Perhaps the dessert is coming back up for its final revenge. I reach for my champagne flute but it is empty. I reach for the bottle, which is also empty.
‘A…’ I can hardly pronounce the word, a dirty word, a vulgar word.
‘Yes, it’s the diamond tennis bracelet. I saw you admiring it in the window of Weir’s in Dundrum town centre. That’s the one you were pointing to, yeah?’
I try to speak but can’t. All I can do is nod mutely. Inside, I am screaming.
‘Yes, that’s the one alright.’ I scrounge a smile.
He’s right. It’s the one I pointed to. However, it was after I’d pointed to the engagement rings. It was a greedy afterthought, following much drooling at the diamond and platinum pretties to the left.
‘Do you like it?’ Barry looks hurt. I’d better say something. I’d better fix this. I’m ruining the evening.
‘Thank you,’ my voice is small. ‘So much. I love it.’
The waiter doesn’t even glance in our direction. There is no mariachi band hiding behind the curtains to serenade the newly engaged couple. There are no fellow diners clapping and smiling.
The dream is over. Soon, it will be midnight and my golden carriage will turn back into a pumpkin. My dress will turn into rags. The waiters will turn into mice.
A twelve-year-old Rebecca is shaking her head; the mission will be marked harshly with an ink stamp.
Barry is oblivious. ‘Cheque, please.’
I tell him I’m tired, bit of a headache, too much champers perhaps. We drive home in silence.
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