This was it. The big day.
I have been practicing some trial runs of the tealights, christmas lights and camera-positioning on the tripod before but alas, what proceeded in reality was still different from what was planned. Having said that, in hindsight, those trial runs were really useful.
About 2-3 weeks back, after I obtained some of the proposal decorative items, I began a couple of trial runs in my room which turned out pretty chaotic to say the least. Those new fancy wind-proof flame jet lighters aren't suitable for what I call "dozens-of-tealights-heavy-duty-work". After a few minutes, they won't function anymore. Instead the old school generic disposable Aladdin or Cricket lighters with "soft" flame work best for this case. Of course they also burn your fingers in the process!
Through trial runs, I have also discovered that if I'm to propose in the day time, the light coloured curtains in my room won't provide the same romantic atmosphere as it did at night. The daylight would be too bright for the dim tealights to have its effect. Hence, note to self, switch to dark blue, light-impending curtains.
Another note, IKEA tealights won't burn as brightly after first lighting. Upon second and consequent lightings, the tealight's flames weren't as prominent as the virgin flames. Interesting. But also benggang-ing. So fresh new tealights had to be used for the proposal instead.
Another thing discovered through trial runs is the realisation that I am merely human. Not even the quickest dexterous person in the world could light up 150 tealights, bring them into the room, set them into place, hang the christmas lights, position camera, sprinkle petals, position gummy bears and etc all without waking her up. She's a light sleeper to begin with. My big clumsy feet weren't to my advantage as well. I even contemplated constructing a sound-proof cubicle around the bed to keep the noise out...or give her earmuffs.
At this point, you might wonder what I meant by waking her up. You see, I had planned for her to be asleep in my bed while I decorate the room and then wake her up from dreamland into a special surprise! Man, that would be sooo cool I thought! Well...so would the case of Thierry Henry making a comeback to Arsenal. But in reality both of them are near impossible to happen. Well...I'm still hoping for the second one.
So the sleep-surprise plan evolved into a distract-surprise plan. Show her my normal-looking room and then bring her downstairs and distract her while I'm upstairs doing a room makeover. Then bring her back into my new plastic surgery transformed room. Tada! Not bad too I thought.
So back to the big day. In the morning I greeted her with a cheery sms and picked her up for work. She was dressed in her usual work top but matched with a nice grey skirt. We had breakfast at the nasi lemak stall by the road. As always after dropping her off at work I went back to my office to work. But halfway through I sneaked off back to Subang to retrieve the flower bouquet I had booked earlier in the week. However Ms. Christine the florist wasn't finished with her new design yet. I didn't want to rush her work so I came back to my place to get ready some things.
Most of the items were ready and placed in my sister's room, next to mine. Tealights neatly arranged on trays with wick facing the up, lighters within reach, christmas lights in an untangled bunch, gummy bears & jelly beans decor tray unpacked, tripod and camera with fully charged batteries all set. I swept the floor clean and made sure the CD playing her favourite song "Somewhere Out There" was already in the player. I changed the bed sheets (dark blue to a lighter colour) at the last minute because I realised that the red and pink rose petals wouldn't be seen or stand out amidst a deep dark background.
Then I headed back to the florist to collect the bouquet of red roses + pink daisies. Also picked up a basketful of rose petals from the shop. I dropped off the bouquet at the Soos' place. Suet Beng was the flower guardian tasked to bring it to the restaurant later that evening but she wasn't in so I passed it to Mun Keong instead. Thanks guys!
I quickly made my way back to office just in time to pack up my things and to fetch her from her workplace nearby. Phew. I managed to catch my breath as we drove back to my home. My mom had invited her over for a lunch of chicken porridge. I had, a couple of days ago, told her my mom would like to have her over for lunch, to which I knew she couldn't say no to. Hence after that simple lunch I brought her to my room to show her how clean and organised my room is. Which is in fact the truth! Few days ago I spent the whole night cleaning, dusting, wiping, washing, unpacking, repacking all the stuff in my messy room which was overdue for cleaning. It wasn't just for the proposal but rather, the proposal was the catalyst. It was also a good excuse to bring her up to see how clean it was now!
After going back downstairs to rest and relax, my mom chatted with her as we watched TV. This is it, I thought, any moment now I shall go upstairs and do what I have been planning for all these months now. This is it, I'm going to propose to my girlfriend whom I dearly love and take this big step towards a whole new level in our relationship, our lives. The proposal was a planned thing but man, it certainly brought about life-reflective thoughts at bad moments! I remember the calm yet surreal feeling I had...it was a mix of anxiousness in my mind and peace in my heart...or was it the other way around? Haha. I imagined that this would be how being in the SWAT team would feel like seconds before a crime-busting operation. Sweat and guts. Anyways, it was very dream-like. I do remember praying to God. Praying and kept praying. Then out of the blue, I just said it. I said to her that I needed to go to the toilet. She acknowledged. That was the cue. Green light! Go go go!
I went upstairs coolly then picked up speed as I went out of sight. I transferred some furniture to my sister's room while on the way back bringing over decor items to mine. At a couple of points I panicked and even locked myself out of my room by mistake. So much for trial runs. With my room floor cleared, I made ready for the tealights to land all around the room and also in a heart formation in the middle of the floor. The lighter started clicking away furiously and flame by flame, each tealight candle was lit, with the new wicks frustratingly slow to burn I might add. As I made my way scattering the tealights over the floor, some wax were spewed by accident and my fingers also burnt by lighter flame. No problem, can clean later. Next I hung the christmas lights around the walls, positioned the camera for video-taking, and put Theophilus and Butsey (her teddy bear and puppy soft toys) on my bed. I then placed the gummy bear tray and decoy pendant on the table while the ring and speech paper was tucked away in my pocket. Rose petals were then sprinkled all over the place, the floor, in the heart shaped formation, on the table and bed. And finally the camera video was turned on. All set!
Meanwhile she was downstairs, waiting for 40 minutes, wondering what happened to me in the toilet, if I had fallen into the porcelain throne. Yes, it took 40minues, more than twice the time I had planned for! When I was finally finished I was left sweating and tired. I meekly poked my head from the top of the stairs and bid her to come up. I pretended to look sick (my actual tiredness helped) and told her I wasn't feeling well, so I asked her to help me take my handphone from my room. Throughout this time, she was just smiling and ruffled my hair. As she smiled cheekily I knew the jig was up. It turned out she could smell the tealight candles! And she could see the lights flickering from under the door gap! This is what happens when you have a girlfriend who have super keen senses and inhuman powers of observation.
Nevertheless, she proceeded into my room and even though not fully surprised by the general surprise of it all, she was still nevertheless pleasantly surprised by the greeting of a suddenly brand new decorated and romantic (I would hope) room. The dark curtains darkened the room well and in return, it was flooded by a mass of dim lights from the flickering tealight candles and colourful christmas lights. The rose petals also added to the atmosphere with its red and pink colours all over. I remember feeling excited as I watched her entering my room. Consequently I closed the door after us, turned on her favourite song to her delight and led her to sit on my bed. I then got down on my knee and took out the ring box. It was again so surreal, I couldn't quite believe it was happening. Anyways I did try to trick her first with the pink sapphire silver pendant in the ring box but she seemed too happy and distracted with what's going on around.
Oh by the way, the pendant was a gift from a free lucky dip ticket that was given to me as I bought her Estrella diamond ring from Diamond & Platinum. Thank you to Cindy and Suet Beng for accompanying me to buy the ring weeks ago, brainstorm ideas, look for teddy bears, find out rose petal prices, and etc.
Back to the proposal, by then I had turned down the volume on the CD so that the song played softly in the background while I took out my speech. It was long, about one page. In retrospect, I wouldn't recommend too long a speech for guys planning to propose on bended knee. After 10 minutes it really starts to hurt and cramp! Perhaps a knee guard would help. But anyway, I began slowly reading out what I had to say to her. It was a collection of thoughts, reflections of when we first met, strong feelings, affirmations and determinative hopes for the future, all compiled together. There were moments when we were both just choked with emotion but just so you eager beaver readers know, no tears were shed. However it was a touching moment for me and with each line spoken to her, I felt and knew it was indeed true as ever. Meanwhile she was clearly in much happiness and enjoying herself because she couldn't stop smiling. She had this big glowing grin on her face the whole time.
When I finally popped the question there was this little odd sequence of a dialog :-
Matt : CKYC, will you do me the honour, the privilege that is beyond my merit, to marry me?
YC : *smiling* Awwww...how could I say no?
Matt : *feeling happy but not fully convinced* Umm...is that a yes?
YC : *big grin* I guess so hehe..
Matt : *thinking this girl haven't watched enough romantic movies* Guess so? What do you mean you guess so, eh cannot lar, either yes or no lar.
YC : Oh ok ok! It's a yes! It's a yes! Shy mah...hahaha
Fair enough an answer haha. I revealed the ring and put in on her finger, which was actually a bit too loose. It's ok, can be re-sized. What followed after that was one of the loveliest most significant hug I could have ever receive which lasted for an eternal short moment in time. Not to reveal too much, but after some TLC, it was followed by a big relief session of finally being able to reveal to her all the secrets I had to keep from her, sneaking around to buy stuff, planning and conspiring with friends and etc. However, of course, there was still one last surprise for the day for her yet.
We took some photos together, and after that I sent her home to shower and get ready for our dinner on the pretense that I'm bringing her to some place nice for just the two of us. As I went back to my home to shower and groom as well, I was frantically sending final reminder sms-es to close friends of ours, who will be gathering at a restaurant called TJ Haus to surprise her, to be careful and not be spotted when they arrive there. This surprise dinner plan was hatched about a couple weeks ago when I invited them and planned with them all to gather at this place.
As the evening approached, I went to pick her up from her house. She was dolled up real prettily with diamond earrings and a necklace with a cross to match her stylish black dress and high heels. She looked stunning. As I was ahead of schedule to pick her up I was afraid that earlier at the restaurant might spoil the surprise, so I told her that where we were going to was a surprise and hence she had to close her eyes for the duration of the journey. Despite an initial protest, she played along nicely and I purposely drove us all around Subang and USJ to distract her into thinking it's somewhere else and to buy me time.
After 10-15 minutes of directionless driving, we arrived back at TJ Haus in SS18 where she could finally open her eyes. Haha. She was surprised by the place itself already, not thinking it was back in Subang. Irregardless, as we lighted the stairs and entered into the cosy restaurant we have went to once before, she was greeted with a big surprise by our bunch of friends! This time it was truly a great surprise for her as she did not see it coming at all. Mission accomplished! There were lots of happy smiles and warm wishes all around, and of course hugs too. Suet Beng presented to her the flower bouquet as Edward gave her the bunch of red and pink helium balloons. Thank you Edward and Sandra for helping me get them!
As it was, we had a great fun time together, chatting and laughing the night away. The food was good, the service even better, and the atmosphere of the place was quaint, cosy, and warm with romantic music playing in the background. But best of all, our close friends were there to share with our joy in this significant milestone of our lives and we were more than glad to have them there. Although some couldn't make it, it still remains a special night for us.
Hence as the night eventually came to an end, after the dinner I sent her home, somewhat reluctantly. There in her garden, one last short but lovely hug before the day ended. We both said our prayers in our own separate times before sleeping that night. As I returned home into my room still "decorated", littered with tealights and petals all over, I realised that that was it, the proposal was finally over. It was, dare I say it, fun despite the uncertainties, worries and setbacks. Even when asking her parents for their consent and blessing a few weeks back it was nerve-wrecking. There were also times when things didn't go the way I hoped or planned it to be. But in the process I have relearned a lesson in trusting God and that in all things He is there for me, my good Shepherd and loving Father. The proposal was such an experience, one that I would treasure and encourage others to do as well, as it is not only for the girl, but also for the guy to know and realise that yes, she is so worth every bit of it.
So the proposal's over, but our journey has just begun, and I am very excited and already am looking forward to it! More challenges and joy awaits us that's for sure, but in all things we know that our God loves us so very much and there is nothing to be scared of but everything to hope and rejoice for. However, as for now, I have my whole room to clean up and spilled wax to scrape off!