Friday, December 11, 2009

Anatomy of a proposal - THE QUESTION

Saturday, 5 December
Nai Harn Beach, Phuket

It’s hot. Real hot. 34 degrees.

And I’m nervous. Real nervous.

After the golf, the four of us – Gearing, his girlfriend Amanda, Clare and I - head out to the nearby Nai Harn Beach, just down on the South-Western tip of Phuket. It’s generally a bit of a rockstar beach, with a few surrounding flash resorts and plenty of Germans wandering around in far too little clothing. The beach has been well looked after, mainly due to a Buddhist monastery camped in behind the beach - thankfully a beautiful piece of Phuket hasn't gone the way of Patong.

Clare’s enjoying being able to swim in the sea. Each time she’s away in the water, I can’t help but sneak a look at the bling I’m about to give her. Jeez I hope they go down OK.

Because it’s high season, the beach is quite busy with umbrellas, deck chairs and the shrills of European kids on holidays. I make a mental note that the rocks at the northern end of the beach look to be a relatively quiet spot to head to if need be.

I keep dropping hints to Clare to perhaps go for a walk…she’s not biting…

We've been here for 3 hours now. The day is getting on. I’ve got to seal this deal. I try again.

“So, I’m thinking of going for a walk later. Want to come?”

“Sure, where to?”

“I'm thinking the rocks - maybe check out the crabs, take some photos.”

“Sounds lovely!”

Yes! 3pm. Go time.

Clare is looking absolutely stunning. Dressed in a white and pink striped bikini and a new flowery sarong she just bargained at the beach for 150Bt.

I look a little like Puff Daddy in a bad Floridian music video circa 2002 – sunglasses and white linen fisherman pants, not so much for symbolic reasons, but for the fact that I burn easily and they provide good protection from the sun. Sometimes practicality raises above any sense of style.

“Why are you bringing the bag though? You really don’t need that, you should just leave it with Dave and Amanda…the zip will get salt in it.”

“Oh, no it’s got my camera and stuff in it, I’d prefer to keep it all nice and dry.”

Clare is not pleased. I try to bust out an innocent look. Crisis averted, can take the bag. Little does she know there’s some other precious cargo in there…

We wander along the gorgeous frontage of one of the nice resorts toward the stairs down to the rocks. I can’t help but blurt out a cheeky, nervous laugh, knowing that I’m only a few minutes short of asking Clare to marry me.

Stepping down onto the rocks, there’s a small surf rolling in and a number of yachts anchored just off shore, in preparation for a big regatta tomorrow. A couple of Thai guys are fishing off the rocks too. No-one else is around. Perfect.

Right, how am I going to do this?

I had a few words rehearsed before this, but somehow my brain has started to go out the window. Self doubt begins to seep in.

What if she says she’s not ready?? What if she says a flat no? Don’t be ridiculous…you know she loves you…but she still might...

Clare’s looking at the bag, clearly worried. She asks whether it’s in the salt water. I try to get all jai yen. Salt really is the least of my concerns at the moment, but I oblige and move the bag to higher, less salty ground.

Right, the bling. How am I going to get it out?

What do I need to say?

Where should I stand?

How should I stand?

Should I stand?

I’m rehearsing the phrases I have had rolling around in my head now for the past few months.

Right, I think this should be a sit-down affair. There’s a nice level rock. Perfect. This will be perfect.

I sit down.

“Honey, want to come sit down with me?”

“Are you serious? Not there, no way, I’ll get a green dirty bum!”

OK then. So the plan may not be so perfect. Looks like I’ll need a plan B.

Standing might be the easier option.

Clare seems distracted at the moment by the view of all the yachts. A good opportunity to get the earrings. I go to the bag.

Shit. I can’t find the earrings in the bloody bag. Be cool, look cool. Jai yen. You don’t want her seeing you freak out. They must be in here somewhere…

I look over my shoulder, Clare’s still distracted.

Under the towel? Nope. That’s my camera.

Clare’s still distracted.

Shit. They must be in here somewhere. Yes! OK, found them. Phew.

I slip them into my pocket.

If she asks what it is, I’ll say my camera to buy me some time.

Clare looks so beautiful.

By now I’m shaking. Really shaking. I can’t help it.

Get a grip!

I can’t.

I wonder if she’s caught on. I need to do this quickly before I resemble some sort of epileptic jellyfish and she suspects something. Or has she already got a good idea of what's coming?

I wasn’t expecting this to be happening so fast. I’m really starting to shake now. This is weird.

I jump over to the rock near her.

Don't slip over and break your ankle. That would suck.

My mind is going a million miles an hour now. I lose my thoughts. I stand in front of her and put my arms around her. Clare smiles. I try to smile back, but I’m absolutely shitting myself.

Clare looks beautiful in the late afternoon light. We kiss.

This might be my last kiss with her as her that's is a weird thought for a time like this...

Time for the question. My mind goes into auto-pilot. The script's been well and truly pulped by my brain. Not sure what to say. I just start talking.

"I love you more than anything in the world and would be honoured if you would marry me."

A bead comes out. Couldn’t help that one.

My proposal was in no way one of my most eloquent moments, but hey, I guess the key message was right?

Wrong. It looks like Clare’s confused.

She laughs awkwardly.

She’s going to say no!

She laughs again slightly, then her face changes as she realises I’m actually being serious.

She squeaks out a yes, and then a big smile!!!!

That’s a “yes”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shit. The earrings. I forgot to present the bloody earrings!

I pull them from my pocket. Clare opens them up. I explain why I didn’t get her a formal ring, knowing that she wanted to design her own, possibly using components from her grandmother’s ring.

Now it’s official.

Then I tell her the whole story of how I’d actually travelled to Australia to have a chat with her parents and that I’m really sorry for having to lie to her for the past few months.

It turns out through all my freaking out, she had no idea this was coming.

‘Operation Singapore’ - a success!

Then we start to get really excited, as the reality of our moment sinks in. We’re going to get married!!!!

Clare can’t stop saying “we’re engaged”. I can’t help but feel an immense sense of relief and happiness.

We enjoy the next 15 minutes or so talking through the whole story together, taking photos, loving being with each other at this very special moment, just her and I. We then call our parents to put them out of their misery, as they’ve held the secret for so long, take a few more photos then head back to tell Dave and Amanda...

Just a few minutes after I proposed to Clare...

Getting romantic, enjoying the moment. Note the elevation of the bag. No salt water at that altitude.

The bling. They look absolutely stunning on Clare.


Cass said...

so beautiful! brought a tear to my eye.

libby oconnor said...

clare is a very lucky girl.the earing are stunning and she has a great bloke/fiance /exboyfriend/potential husband in steve.
the proposal and all it took deserves great accolades also.

Andrew said...

Stop keeping us in suspense man did the zipper get salt affected or what?

Na just kidding mate, bloody perfect, Me and Anita are both so stolked for you. I'd say Drake just swam a lap of someones pool in tribute as well.

Sawatdee Khuuuuuuup!

Belly said...

Cass - Glad you enjoyed the piece.

Or maybe a bead popped out because the posts were so long it was like some form of Guantanamo interrogation? ;-)

Libby - Thanks for the kind words. :-) I'm just sorry you had to wait so long for 'the phone call'!!

Andy - Love it! I'll do a post in homage to the zipper, watch this space.

Also, I'm getting vibes Drake may be enjoying a celebratory ball-cooling on the top of the pool steps, such is the greatness of His Muttness.

Edwina said...

Belly. I think it needs to be said. What were you thinking?
Those white linen pants. You know your children will give you no end of grief in years to come with those photos documenting the most important moment in your life thus far. Except of course for the time you completed the Seven Bridges Walk. Now that was an achievement.

Belly said...

Weens - You're right, they are quite hideous, although very comfortable.

I think the trick with the future kids is to deck them out in some equally daggy, yet sun-safe attire. Blend them into the family camouflage.

Mocked they may be, but by god will they be melanoma free.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, here's the blog post of the great 2006 Seven Bridges Walk:

Claire said...

Congrats Belly and Clare - Belly, what an amazing series of blogs, loved reading it - Craire xx