I should have figured something out a lot sooner in the day. By now, you’d think I’d be getting suspicious when my fiancé is planning things, but no, I was blithe and oblivious. His “49” clue on Friday night should have alerted me that he had something more planned than just a “nice dinner.” 49 is an old inside joke with us, going back to before his proposal (in that case, it was the number of months until he was going to propose). In this case, as he later explained, it meant 49 hours from Friday night to the surprise on Sunday.

Perhaps it threw me off because the weekend wasn’t really a special occasion, as most of his other grand surprises had been (such as our six-month and seven-month anniversaries). He had been working night shift on our ten-month anniversary, so we hadn’t done anything. I sort of forgot we agreed to postpone celebrating until this weekend, which was the next free weekend we both had. So I just figured we were having a fun day out together. I did know enough to ask a few times what I was supposed to wear – how fancy was the restaurant going to be?

I waited on Sunday morning for him to show up before I chose to wear, so I would know how he was dressed. He was wearing a shirt and tie and his fuzzy brown sports jacket. I wore a nice skirt and blouse. We went to Mass, then had lunch with my family before heading to the conservatory. He’d heard about a display there, and it was “free day” at all the attractions in the city. So we wandered around looking at flowers, cacti, and trees for an hour, and then went on to check out the zoo, which also free.

At the elephant cage we ran into one of my friends and her boyfriend – an unplanned surprise in my fiance’s day of planned surprises. They had already toured the zoo, and so we went off to the a cafe to grab a coffee together. After catching up on all the news, we said goodbye to them and went for dinner. I’d noticed that my fiancé was watching the time, wanting to be certain places at certain times; that should have clued me in to the fact that he wasn’t just being spontaneous – he had deadlines. However, I thought nothing of it. I even forgot to ask him what he’d told my friend when he hugged her goodbye.

We found a parking place downtown and wandered onto the terrace of a fancy hotel for dinner. My guess about somewhere “nice” for dinner had proved right, and I thought that was the extent of the surprise. Had he told me we were going there, I would have dressed up a bit more, but luckily the terrace was slightly casual. We had a nice dinner and some wine, and then thought we’d go catch a show. I suggested checking the newspaper to see what was playing before we left, but he insisted we’d just run over to the theatre. At first he said were going to take the train, to avoid finding parking again, but then he decided we wouldn’t get there quick enough, and so we hopped into his truck and dashed across the river.

At the theatre we found the film had already started, so he drove right past, saying we’d park and catch the train back downtown. I didn’t see any point in doing that, but he parked and started marching down the sidewalk, barely waiting for me to get out of the truck. That pace should have struck me as unusual, as I’m the one who usually walks like that. We hit the train station with me still protesting we could drive instead of ride, and so he walked right past it. Then I thought he was mad at me for not going along with his plan, and I was getting extremely ticked at him, but he just kept walking.

It was about when we hit the auditorium parking lot that something clicked. Lots of cars, lots of people, something going on at the auditorium – something I’d wanted to see. I gave him this sharp look, and saw that twinkle in his eyes, and knew. He’d gotten me tickets to Phantom of the Opera. I’d looked into tickets, but decided that they were too expensive, though I really wanted to go. I went from being very annoyed to being very excited. We got there just in time for the show to start, and had perfect seats on the edge of the balcony.

He was laughing all the home afterwards about how he’d surprised me and I hadn’t caught on. He thought that somehow I’d discovered the tickets, as he’d had them for the past month in the same place that my engagement ring had been for a month before he proposed – the glove box of his truck. He thinks that someday he’ll run out of ideas for surprises. I think I’ll start checking that glove box regularly.

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  1. Aunt Sandy January 4, 2007

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