Monday, February 28, 2005

Chapter One

As I stood up, the pile of newspapers from the chair beside me fell to the ground. Grumbling, I bent over to pick them up, and as my hand reached out for the sports pages that had fallen open during its tumble, my eyes happened to briefly glance over a picture of a diamond ring.

I knew Nathalie was The One from the beginning of our relationship. There was some kind of gut feeling that I can't explain. Similar to the gut feeling that fuels my drive to pursue surgery. Similar to the gut feeling that made me choose New Orleans to do my training. Similar to the gut feeling that gave me the courage to get up and talk to this tall, blonde goddess when I first spotted her at a party. I knew from the beginning that I was going to marry this girl.

We had been talking for some time about getting married, and I had started to feel her out on her preference of engagement rings. We hadn't made any definite plans, but I had started doing some research on diamonds and rings, and I kept my eyes open for styles, prices, and the such. So when the newspaper fell to the floor and opened up to a page with a ring on it, it didn't surprise me that my eyes zeroed in on it like a guided missle.

The diamond ring pictured on the newspaper was the grand prize available in this contest that a local jewelry store was running. Titled the "Are You Man Enough?" contest, each contestant entered by writing an essay in 25 words or less describing why their woman is the girl of their dreams. 10 semi-finalists would be chosen to attend the Saints football game (with their prospective fiancees) on the Sunday after Christmas. At half time, all of the 10 couples would come down to the 50 yard line. The announcer would read the winning essay, and the winner of the contest would have to propose to his girlfriend right there and then, in front of 50,000 people at the Superdome in order to win the ring.

Easy. I looked at the calender, I had 5 weeks to come up with a winning essay. The ring wasn't exactly what Nathalie wanted, and I didn't feel 100% sure about asking her to marry me just yet, but this seemed too good and too easy of an opportunity to pass up.

I carefully tore out the ad from the newspaper and put it in my wallet.