I awoke before the alarm went off. Bad Kitty was kneading her paws on my tummy, purring loudly. Time to fill my dish, please. See how cute I am? With a moan of protest, I glanced at the clock: 5:32 a.m. It was way too early to start the day, but I knew that my beloved tabby would never let me go back to sleep. I stepped into my slippers and shuffled to the kitchen, yawning while Bad Kitty wound around my legs and peeped.
“I hear you, kitty. Just hold on a second…” I filled her dish with kibble, then turned on the coffee maker and settled into the couch to wait for the coffee to brew.
All thoughts of recapturing sleep quickly fled as I eyed the living room, still displaying a few reminders of last night’s memorable date with Bob. A single pink rose was starting to open in its bud vase. The end table held our empty popcorn bowls; I had been too drowsy to wash them after he left. Our Scrabble game was still on the table. We had laughed until our stomachs ached at Bob’s attempt to play ‘squoze’ on a triple word space.
“It is too a word!” Bob feigned indignation. “It’s the past perfect participle of 'squeeze!'”
“Bob, I was an English major. There’s no such thing! Use it in a sentence.”
“I squeeze my sweetie, I squoze my sweetie, I have squozen my sweetie. So there! That’ll be…let’s see…75 points for ‘squoze,’ plus another... 27 points for adding the ‘s’ to ‘home’…102 points!” He pumped his fist in victory.
Remembering our mock-argument, I smiled. Lord, I love Bob so. We have such fun together—I’m just sure he’s The One. Won’t You give him just a little nudge for me?
We had been dating for almost a year—we had both committed to pray about our relationship—but still, Bob had never once brought up the possibility of a lifetime together. I was beginning to despair.
Just a poke, Lord, that’s all I ask…
Bad Kitty wandered back into the living room, stopping to sniff at a scrap of paper on the carpet. She touched it with a tentative paw, then trotted off to her basket, satisfied that her world was not in danger. It was one of Bob’s ever-present sticky notes. He was endearingly clumsy and absent-minded; his numerous notes to himself were the only way he managed to get everything done. Must have fallen from his jacket pocket. Feeling slightly like an eavesdropper, I read the note; it was simply a list of chores in Bob’s nearly illegible scrawl:
1. Drop off movies
2. Buy herring
3. Call Tony E. about computer
4. Oil change
I drew a heart pierced by an arrow on the bright yellow note and stuck it to my refrigerator. He’d see it when he came for our weekly Pepper-Pepper evening later today (it was my turn to provide the pepperoni pizza and peppermint ice cream). With thoughts of Bob filling all of the empty spaces in my heart, I tidied the living room.
Several hours later, Bob arrived, looking even more flushed and anxious than usual. As he kissed my cheek, I saw his eyes flick over to the colorful note on the fridge. Strangely, he started, then smacked his forehead, looking stricken. “Oh, no! Sophie, I’m so sorry! I wanted it to be a surprise! Now it’s all spoiled!” He tore the note from the door.
Puzzled, I mentally reviewed the contents of the list. What was he going to surprise me with? Fish?
“Bob, I don’t…”
He interrupted me by taking my hand and dropping to one knee. My heart lurched—then he upset Bad Kitty’s bowl. I watched, my pulse pounding, as he tried ineffectively to pick up every morsel. After a few moments, he gave up, straightened, and knelt amidst the remaining kibble. He fumbled in his pocket and produced a little square box.
“If you saw that list, you know that I bought you a ring yesterday. Sophie, I wanted to surprise you, but—will you be my wife?”
I was still trying to wrap my mind around this, when I burst out laughing—not, I think, the reaction that Bob had expected. Not “buy herring!” Buy her ring!
What a huge, marvelous difference one little space makes!
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