Today is our fourth anniversary. I had everything planned out: we watch Empire Strikes Back at 6 pm at the Rialto, we have dinner at Green District Food Park, and we go to the carnival at 9 pm. I was usually in charge of the planning of our dates during our anniversary because Bree loved being surprised.
After the movies, we walked to the food park while Bree and I talked about what we just watched. She hasn't seen Star Wars and we made a deal that I slowly watch the original ones with her. We watched A New Hope last year, maybe Return of the Jedi next year.
We have a lot of movies to watch together this year, we still have The Godfather on this list. Bree and I had a proposition that if she watched one movie I recommend, I have to watch a movie with her of her choice. So far we've watched Twilight, Nicholas Sparks movies, and Clueless. I remember how she'd recite most of the lines in every scene and I have to tickle her to stop talking.
By the time we arrived at Green District, we sat at a table that I'd reserved a day before. All the tables and chairs were wooden and I had mine set up with some rose petals and dirty white lights around our table. Our table was the only one decorated and the food vendors have been smiling at us, offering us some free finger food. I've spoken to the owner about our anniversary, maybe he had disseminated the information to his employees.
"And, again, you never fail to surprise me," Bree tells me, smiling and placing her hands on her cheeks.
"I get better at this every year," I say.
"What are we getting?" She asks, looking at the menu on our table. Before she could even scan the entire menu, an appetizer of Spinach Dip Bites and a plate of Fettuccine Alfredo had made their way on her placemat. She looks at the waiter, confused, then she glances at me.
"For the appetizer, you've been nagging me nonstop last week about Spinach Dips. For your main dish, your favorite pasta," I present to her. "And for our wine tonight, your favorite again, Pink Moscato." The waiter pulls a bottle of Moscato, pours into our wine glasses, and leaves the bottle on our table as he goes back.
She grabs her fork. "I can get used to this. I'm so happy you didn't make me cook today." She chuckles.
For last year's anniversary, we spent it at the apartment. She initiated a little game about who gives a better gift. She volunteered to cook for our dinner while I was out looking for the "perfect" gift. But I know her too well. She panics when she cooks, overthinking about its taste and presentation, then she ends up turning her panic into a reality. So while she was cooking, I went to the grocery store and bought ingredients in case she didn't want to serve me what she cooked. By the time I went to the apartment, I found her exhausted and nervous that she didn't want to show what she made. I made her a deal: I eat the dish she cooked, and I cook her a dish I never learned to make. We both should suffer each other's cooking. What I cooked her that night was beef wellington, Gordon Ramsay style, and it was the ugliest thing I've ever made. Gordon himself would tell me to dispose of it if he saw it. But, surprisingly, Bree told me it tasted great regardless of how it was horribly presented. And when I took a bite of her Rigatoni, it was too salty and peppery. Of course, she didn't have to know that. I told her it tasted delicious and devoured everything. I just told her four months after how it really tasted and we laughed it off. For the gift part, Bree had given me a scrapbook of all our pictures since fourth grade, and I gave her the music box I made that required music paper tape. The song I used was "With or Without You" by U2 and I did watch a lot of tutorials to make sure I punched the correct notes in the paper tape. Instead of a simple music sheet, I printed our pictures on the paper tape so she'd have something to look at when she plays the music box. She loved it a lot and I loved the scrapbook, too. It was something I always scanned whenever I got exhausted from work, like a book or a magazine I never get tired of. If ever I feel emotionally exhausted, and the scrapbook isn't enough, I always try to regain my strength by going to the one who made it. Her.
After dinner, we went to the carnival that was just five minutes away. The carnival is a yearly event in the city, usually September or October, and the food park sets a theme to match it.
Bree and I play in the booth where we hit all the balloons with darts, then I play at the basketball shootout, then Bree and I spend most of our time at the photo booth. We've been taking a lot of shots at the booth, Bree keeps whining that we do it again. "Wait, I look ugly!" She says, clicking the monitor for another retake. Bree knows I don't really like pictures taken of me because I prefer taking the pictures myself. She keeps doing a lot of poses and starts tickling me so the collage photo has different shots of me. For the sixteenth time, we finally had our perfect photo. Bree kept it in her pocket and we wandered around the carnival to kill time.
At this hour, we're already supposed to be back at the apartment because we have work early tomorrow. But tonight is a special night that I had planned to delay our curfew.
I'm going to propose.
We've been five years together but I was in love with her for more than those years. I knew she was the one the first time I saw her when she moved next door. The moment I laid my eyes on her, I imagined myself being there for her. Today I imagine our future ahead of us. I waited years to have a shot with her before, I'm not waiting any longer to tie the knot. I picture myself getting married, Bree walking down the aisle, having our first child together, then another child, then growing old together. That's the life I imagine and it begins after tonight.
I had the proposal planned. We go uphill, which is just a three-minute walk from the carnival, and we get a night view of the city. Bree gave me hints when we were younger about what she wanted her perfect man to do for her: kiss somewhere uphill under a thousand stars, write a poem that rhymes about her, etc. I took note of everything and I plan to cross them out slowly. Tonight I will kiss her somewhere uphill under a thousand stars after she says yes. However, I haven't written her a poem that rhymes yet. I'm not good at writing but maybe I'll give it a try. On our wedding day, where I'll make a speech, that's when I recite the poem about her.
While walking uphill, I was smiling to myself thinking about those scenarios in my head after tonight. Bree held my hand tightly as we walked through the dark road. Vehicles don't pass this way at this hour, we'd have our spot all to ourselves tonight. We'll have the stars, the lamppost, and the city view. She's going to love it.
I see the lamppost nearby, a few more steps left and we'll be at our spot. I hoped I'd play how I imagined it perfectly in my head. I checked my pocket one last time, securing the ring box that's been here since dinner. As we walk closer, I notice flashing lights behind us. I assumed it was a car about to pass by, and we continued walking on the side while Bree was talking which I wasn't paying attention to because I was still thinking how I'd get myself down on one knee.
As soon as we got closer to the lamppost, I noticed the flashing lights coming closer to us as well. With Bree talking and the plan in my head, I was quite distracted. I turned my head to see where the source of light was coming from, and the plan in my head had been replaced with immediate panic and fear.
The light had come closer and faster. It was a car coming at full speed behind Bree and me. In less than a second, Bree and I will be hit and all those scenarios and dreams I had in my head will cease to exist. Bree looks back and she's as scared as I am. It's happening so fast and I couldn't think straight. Everything felt like time played slowly, I still got a chance to look at Bree while the car was coming slowly. And if time played normally, we'd be dead in an instant.
As the car came closer, I pushed Bree as far as I could and the car was now coming towards me. I didn't know what to do, Bree's safety was the first thing I considered. The next thing I heard was the tires screeching and Bree's voice as she yelled out my name.
And everything turned black.