LOS ANGELES — The proposal was a belated birthday gift.
The day before, on my 29th birthday, my boyfriend Thane and I celebrated by trekking around L.A. We both took the day off from work — I cover the arts, he works on movie trailers and is usually my plus-one to all the events I cover. Our first stop was taking nostalgic portraits at Tom's One Hour Photo, grabbing a breakfast sandwich and cocktail at the hipster All Day Baby, window shopping at pricey boutiques around town and eating dinner at Escala, a trendy fusion spot in Koreatown.
The day ended with a mini-breakdown, my annual existential crisis about youth slipping away too quickly.
I cheered up the next day, on New Year's Eve, though. As I sat in our apartment frantically searching for evening plans, Thane slipped out and returned holding a birthday bag and a box of cupcakes. It was my final birthday gift, he said. And so we drove to one of my favorite neighborhood spots, a grassy park at the Silver Lake Reservoir, to open it.
After a few bites of red velvet cupcake, I dug through the bag, pulling out another light blue bag. Inside that bag was a light blue ring box, and inside the ring box, of course, was a glittering diamond. But my mind refused to process what I was seeing.
As Thane looked at me expectantly, I stared back, "Wait, what is this?"
"Are you serious?" he responded, amazed.
This back and forth exchange continued for a few more seconds and then it dawned on me.
"Are you proposing?"
By this point, we had been dating 4 1/2 years and had talked about marriage and our futures together. I just envisioned the proposal happening differently — we'd travel somewhere romantic in 2020. Maybe on a beach or cliffside, he'd drop down to one knee, all while someone was hiding in the bushes to capture that classic reaction shot of a woman with both hands covering her face.