The question

When Sasha got home in the evening he didn’t even take off his jacket but instead told me to get dressed immediately. „What are we doing?“ „It’s a surprise“, he winked. He just loved surprises and even though I did too I started to dread them, like these awful girls in movies that always told guys: „Oh I hate surprises“. But I couldn’t help it. Not knowing what to prepare for was even more difficult with Sasha where everything was always very elegant or fancy or just different from what I was used to. „Should I put on anything special?“ I hesitated. „No honey, just put on whatever and off we go. I took everything we need already.“ „Um, ok.“ I looked down and my jeans and shirt, shrugged silently and just took my purse off the couch. „I am ready I guess.“ „Great.“ He kissed me and lead me out the door. He had a gym bag in his hand, which seemed to be full of stuff and quite heavy from the way he was lifting it. „Do you need help with that?“ I asked. „No, no, it’s fine. Why don’t you just get to the car, I will handle everything else.“ „Alright then.“ I smiled at him. Why was I so worried when clearly he had thought everything through. I let my shoulders drop a little and decided to just go with whatever was coming my way. When we got in the car he told me to close my eyes. I did as I was told, even though I felt like it was unnecessary as I barely drove in Munich and most of the time had no clue as to where I was when we were in the car. „I was going to blindfold you, but I felt like that would have been a little bit too much, yes?“ I laughed. „Yeah, maybe a little.“ We drove about 10 minutes and I kept my eyes closed. Sasha didn’t say much but I could feel his excitement about whatever he had planned rub off on me. The car slowed and I asked Sasha if it was ok for me to open my eyes again but he told me no. I waited patiently in the car while he got out and around and opened the door. He took me by the hand and led me outside only to maneuver me through revolving doors a couple of seconds later. „Can I open my eyes now, please?“ „No, not yet.“ I felt stupid, wherever we were I could hear voices and people and they would probably think it was weird that I was standing there with my eyes closed. Nervously I shifted my weight from one leg to the other. We were waiting somewhere and when I heard a a quiet „pling“ sound, I knew that he had lead me to an elevator. We entered and Sasha took my hand. „We are almost there.“ „Ok“, I whispered. Sasha laughed, „You don’t need to whisper yet.“ He let me out of the elevator and around a corner and I could smell something strong and toxic, like chlorine. „Stay here for a second.“ Sasha left me and I contemplated opening my eyes but decided against it. I didn’t want to spoil his fun. He was back seconds later and led me on. „We are almost there“. I was so nervous my stomach started doing that thing it does on airplanes when the pilot tells you that there will be mild turbulences. „Ok, open.“ And I did. We were standing on a beautiful roof top terrace overlooking Munich. It was a perfect night, no clouds and clear skies and the hustle and bustle of the city beneath our feet. „Turn around“ Sasha said. And I did. There was a beautiful pool, candles lit everywhere, everything held in blue and soft yellows. Above the pool the city lights were filtered through milky glass, shimmering on the water. „Wow, this is amazing Sasha.“ „I thought you might like it.“ „I absolutely do, where are we? What is this?“ „This is ours for the next 3 hours, I rented it exclusively for us. It is the best Spa in the city.“ My breath caught in my throat. He did all this for me? I couldn’t believe that just today I had doubted that I was happy being with him. This was proof that he did everything for me and he valued my happiness. First Prague and now this. It was extraordinary, I felt extraordinary and very special. „Sasha, I.. I don’t even know what to say right now.“ I hugged him so tight I feared he wouldn’t be able to breathe. „Then don’t say anything at all, baby.“

***

It was a wonderful night and halfway through, when Sasha got a bottle of champagne from the bar and very quiet my heart literally skipped a beat. Was he going to propose right here and now? All of a sudden I got so hot that even in the cool water I could feel my face and neck redden.
„My lovely Emma,“ he started. I smiled shyly not knowing where to look, so I looked at my hands. Hands that might have an engagement ring on them very soon. I tried to breathe normally but I couldn’t. „I don’t think I will ever love someone quite as much as I love you.“ He paused and looked at me. „I love you too.“ I said more out of reflex than because I wanted to. It seemed to be what he was waiting for as he carried on. „I cannot believe my luck, that we are living together and that I get to spend so much time with you every day. I never want to spend a day without you.“ This is it. My heart was beating faster than it ever had, and the champagne had nothing do to with it. They say when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. I wasn’t dying and still, it did. I saw myself if Russia with Sasha and 2 children in a fur coat. I saw money, Vodka, champagne and beaming smiles from Sasha, I saw my family in the distant background. I didn’t see the answer that I was going so desperately looking for.

***

„To the most beautiful woman in the world. I am so glad that you are with me. You make me happier than I could have ever imagined I would be.“ He clinked his glass to mine and pursed his lips waiting for a kiss. No proposal. I kissed him lightly and quickly took another sip of champagne. I was confused and relieved and disappointed at the same time. I thought that this was what this big romantic gesture was all about, but really it was just that. A big romantic gesture. I did my best to hide my feeling but still Sasha picked up on them. „Is something wrong?“ „Oh, no, not at all. This has really been perfect. It’s just…“ What was I going to say. I couldn’t admit that I expected him to propose. What if he would ask me what my answer would be. Or worse laugh right in my face. „I need to go to the bathroom. All that champagne, you know…“ my voice was small. He smiled and didn’t inquire further. I excused myself and put on the hotels white cotton slippers and a bathrobe. In the bathroom I looked in the mirror. What was wrong with me. This was a perfectly romantic evening, why wasn’t I enjoying it. As hard as it was to admit to myself, I had wanted Sasha to propose. I had wanted to be able to tell my friends, or my ex friends back home and my family that we were that happy. That we were the couple that was moving way too fast because we knew that we belonged together. But obviously we didn’t. Or at least Sasha didn’t think we did. I took one of the soft towels to wipe the left over mascara off my cheeks. Why hadn’t he proposed? I didn’t even think about what my answer would have been anymore.

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