August 8, 2010 § 2 Comments
It Started With a Sink
I needed a third roommate, and unbeknownst to me, there was a guy in Jersey surfing Craigslist for an apartment in Brooklyn. Turns out this guy, Cesar, was a sucker for attractive-if-completely-impractical design. He saw the pictures that my current roommate and I had posted of our attractive, completely impractical, all glass sink and decided that although the room we were offering was undesirably small, he had to see that sink.
Relying on a cane at the time, Cesar traversed the distance between his home in Jersey and my sink in Brooklyn, went the wrong direction from the subway stop, turned around, found my block but not the right building, nearly turned back to make the return trip to Jersey, but finally got a tip from some neighborhood kids that the building he must have been looking for was a few stoops down.
He hoisted himself up the two tall flights of stairs that were the last obstacle between him and the sink, hoping to have a moment to collect himself before knocking. But at the top of the stairs, he was greeted with an open door and two girls waiting for someone who wouldn’t play his demo and proclaim himself the next Brian McKnigth, or sit on our floor getting all philosophical, or talk at a rate only hummingbirds can tolerate.
Many months went by before I learned the details about what brought Cesar to my apartment on the night we met. I was working way too many hours at the time, which left few opportunities for the subject to come up. All I thought when he finally made it up that last step was, “He’s so normal! And his sticker canvased cane is so cool … and he smiles nice.” But now I know that if it weren’t for a cool sink, Craigslist, Cesar’s determination, and those Putnam Avenue kids, our lives would be very different.
The sink pictured is not THE sink. I couldn’t find the original photo I posted on Craigslist. But it’s the closest design I could find. At least it will give you an idea of what brought us together.
Then Some Ice Got Involved
A couple months into roommate-dom, Cesar and I had not spent much time together, other than a few blips of getting to know you moments. I was still overworked and never home at an hour that was conducive to extensive conversation. The blips did reveal that we were both interested in artsy things, we listened to the same music, and were both interested in Japan.
In December, my friend Elizabeth came to town, and the three of us headed over to Bedford Avenue for dinner and a drink. While leisurely strolling, I slipped and fell on a patch of ice. The embarrassment of falling was compounded by the fact that seconds before I body slammed the sidewalk, a woman coming toward me wobbled on the slick patch I was about to encounter, and seeing her teeter I said, “Whoa, careful.” She ultimately stayed upright. I, on the other hand, went from vertical to horizontal instantaneously.
Later that night I destroyed the heat pack he let me borrow for my aching shoulder. I killed it in the microwave. I think Cesar and I now consider this our first unofficial date.
Which Led to the Couch
Even more months went by with Cesar and I secretly and awkwardly liking each other. Liking your roommate is a tricky ordeal. The advice Cesar got from his friends was, “Get ready to move out if you tell her you like her.” And I wasn’t getting any advice on the subject from anyone. So instead of saying anything, we just stayed up way too late watching Freaks and Geeks. When we ran out of episodes of Freaks and Geeks, we watched TimeLife infomercials just to stay up even later and watch something while trying to figure out what to do about our predicament.
Finally, at the end of June, while sitting on the couch and watching whatever there was to watch, Cesar started to say something that sounded important. But of course, I’m awkward and inadvertently interrupted him to say something unimportant. I realized my mistake, asked him what he was going to say, and then we finally confessed to each other: “I kinda like you.” I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.
And Took Us to Denver
What followed the couch confession was awesome, goofy nerd love, lots of dorky voices, numerous high fives, and frequent dancing in the kitchen. I had to bring it all back to Colorado for Thanksgiving.
Cesar won the hearts of all the ladies in my family, and lost his heart to a dog who loves to lick his own ear gunk off Cesar’s finger. And we went to Red Rocks.
Red Rocks makes people look small.
And Finally Japan
More dorky stuff for a few months, and then it was time to go to Japan to meet my nephew Haruo! My parents were going, too, so it was a big exciting event. Actually, I don’t know who was more excited. Cesar had never been, but had always dreamed of going. I had been three times and had experiences that meant so much to me but very little to anybody who wasn’t involved, and now I had someone to share the wonderful and weird with!
The trip started out cool with gardens and tea and then got super cool with a natural whirlpool. My dad won me a goofy plastic ring in silver heart-shaped box from a claw machine at the ferry station by the whirlpool. More cool stuff happened and we ate tons and tons of food. Then my parents headed back to Denver and things slowed down to a more relaxed coolness.
On Thursday, Chris took Cesar and I to a beautiful temple. We wandered around for a while in the rain, taking it all in. After snacking on some fish-shaped waffle treats with sweet filling, Cesar and I headed back to the hotel to relax and watch some Japanese TV for a few hours before dinner.
And then out of the blue, in the hotel room, Cesar produced the silver heart-shaped box, containing a new ring I’d never seen before, kneeled next to the tiny Japanese hotel bed and asked me to marry him. I’ll never forget how happy he looked.
He told me he’d been trying all week to get my dad alone to ask permission, and to find the time and place that would be just right. And that morning he woke up at 5am to try to catch my parents before they left for the airport. Unfortunately, he had forgotten that the clock in our room was off. So he got up before the clock read 5:00, but in reality, it was closer to 6am, and my parents were long gone.
Of course, the next day we visited a shrine on top of cliffs that looked out to the sea, clouds, and the rest of the island. But I can’t imagine any other way for the two of us to get engaged other than in that hotel room, relaxing, and watching TV we couldn’t fully understand. For me, it was perfect.