As I waited anxiously at the side of the stadium I began thinking back to this morning. Waking up to a stream of hot sunlight across my bare chest and the thick and smokey smell of maple and bacon. My flannel pajamas were bunched up around my knees and my eyes struggled to open through the plastered sleep which rested between my lashes like Elmer’s glue. I rubbed my eyes with sleepy fingertips as I entered the toasty kitchen. She stood over the stovetop like a wilted yet beautiful daisy. Pale and overworked like a skinny horse, but her exposed bone only seemed to make her look like a breathtaking marble sculpture. Every feature chiseled and sharp, yet her face remained so soft. I admired her from a distance as she softly buttered my two pieces of toast. That beautiful, selfless woman was the one I was going to ask to be my wife today. In front of millions.
I had just left our seats to “use the restroom” as I told her. She of course nodded and said nothing further- preserving her daffodil voice. I dreamed of how soft her voice would sound, singing me a soft “yes” when I kneel down in the middle of the baseball field. I scanned the stands, thick with people of every kind, until I finally caught sight of her flaming and tangled red mane. She sat in such an innocent and frightened way, like a rose afraid of it’s own beauty. My empty plastic seat to her right didn’t seem to provide her any security, but I do believe constant fear is a poetic characteristic of hers. She pulled her beaten cell phone out of her pocket, and I watched as her hair tumbled around her face as she bent over to look at the screen. I shook my head as a smirk pulled on my lips. I totally knew she didn’t want to come to a baseball game- but she would never say no to me. We’re in love, and that’s what people in love do. She’d do anything for me. She does everything for me. And she’ll do it for our kids and pets and everything in between.
“You ready?” A deep and buttery voice cut through my thoughts. I turned around to see a tall, bald man in all black. He had an nude earpiece and a beaten brown clipboard. “Yeah.” I replied, smiling at the square bulge in my dark jean pocket. He pressed his earpiece further into his ear and gazed to the floor. His focused look quickly dissipated as he looked back at me smiling. “Stage’s all yours.”
He slapped a black, heavy microphone into my nervous hand. I wrapped the microphone into my sweaty palm and stared deeply into the flashing green light above my index finger. The man then placed his large palm on my shoulder, forcing me to walk forwards by his side. As we came to the edge of the field, I took a large and trembling breath into my lungs. The gentle giants then removed him hand from my back and used it to flash me a reassuring thumbs up, before disappearing behind me.
I locked my eyes on her once again. Without even searching the crowd this time, my eyes were immediately drawn to her waterfall of red locks- still on her phone. I began walking onto the vibrant carpet of grass. I could hear the announcer saying something about me- but my nerves smudged all the noises together and only allowed me to just keep walking across the field. Focusing on the feeling of plant beneath my feet. In the blur of noises and colours, I saw her look around sharply and quickly tuck her phone into her coat pocket. The people around her began yelling and pointing- signalling her to come down, but she seemed frozen. Her blue eyes locked on me, center field. No expression. She rose from her seat as the thick wave of noises became more intense. Her face stayed hard and stone, her eyes wide and fearful. The world around me seemed to have stopped as I watched her be let onto the massive pitch by a small man in a blue shirt. She fiddled her boney fingers in front of thin frame as she walked towards me. I too could feel the nerves crawling up my neck, but all I could do was watch her and let my lips curl into a tight smile.
She finally came within a meter of me and stopped. She raised her head up from the ground, allowing our eyes to meet. She looked like a starved deer in headlights, fingers trembling and boney knees wobbling. She frantically absorbed her surrounding with sponge eyes and tucked her long ginger hair behind her ear with an anxious hand. I slowly dropped down onto one knee, shaking the whole way down as if her anxiety was transferred to me through the thin air. Her face fell flat, eyes locked onto me. Still shaking like a cold dog, I tried warming her with a comforting smile, but she remained frozen in place.
I brought the microphone close to my lips, bumping the cold metal to my chin by accident. As I looked around at the cheering crowds, I spoke in a suddenly confident voice, even though my mind had deleted the script that I had been writing in my mind for the past three months. “You’re the most selfless, caring women I’ve ever met.” I blurted this out so suddenly my chest began to stiffen- spit it out. “Will you marry me?” I asked, removing the small leather box from my pocket and opening it towards her.
My heart sunk into my stomach and my eyes met with hers again. I totally screwed that up. Her lips remained sunk, her eyes no longer wide, her expression cold like a marble statue. I frantically looked at the anticipation around the stands. My hands began shaking, nearly dropping the diamond ring onto the pitch.
She began shaking her head with blurry wet eyes.
“I can’t marry you..” her soft daffodil voice sang.
She covered her face briefly with her hands before turning and running to the edge of the stadium. Never looking back.
The stands roared with screams, boo’s and other words that didn’t matter. I-I got rejected. In front of millions, the most selfless women in the whole world turned me down. I closed the leather box and got up on my feet. The bald man ran back up to me, put his massive palm back on my shoulder and quickly began walking me off the field. “I’m sorry.” he said in his deep voice, which was now cracked with emotion and cloudy with concern.
“It’s fine.” I replied sharply, handing him the now sweaty microphone.
“She was a wilted flower anyways.”