My Beautiful Boy posted this on Facebook in the week after we got engaged:
We were spending a week in Las Vegas, and I had made up my mind that going to New York the next weekend would be a bad idea considering all the work I had and what that weekend would cost me. Redframe was understandably upset, but accepted it.
As we finally decided that I wasn’t going to NY, a wave of emotion so strong that I couldn’t deny or suppress it overcame me. This emotional tsunami told me what I already knew, but couldn’t formulate – I would do anything - wherever, whenever, whatever, to spend more time with Redframe. I booked my trip to New York on the spot.
Once I was back in Madison, and Redframe had moved on to NY, I started analysing what this emotion meant, and once again, came to the conclusion that Redframe was this unbelievable person that I happened to meet and start dating, and that I wanted it to last the rest of my life. I started looking at engagement rings about five minutes later.
I eventually booked a consultation at Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue, followed by a Broadway show (Chicago, for you theatre buffs) and dinner on Times Square. Redframe knew nothing of this, even though she says she had a premonition.
On Saturday morning, 27th of October at 8:30 we started walking from our hotel towards 5th Avenue. It was raining and the wind was blowing, so all romantic notions of proposing in Central Park under the autumn leaves went out of the window. I knew that I had a limited window of opportunity to propose, because our consultation at Tiffany’s was scheduled for 10:00.
It’s all a bit of a blur really, but somehow Redframe and I ended up talking about our relationship and our love for each other and that we were so lucky to have met each other. I proposed on the corner of 57th West and 7th Avenue, in the rain, with people walking all around us, Redframe holding her umbrella over me as I bent down to tie a shoelace (that was never undone, and Redframe says she was wondering what the hell I was doing). And… she said YES!
(As a side note, about a week after we started dating, Redframe casually mentioned that if I should ever ask her for her hand in marriage, her answer would be an unequivocal yes!)
It was an unbelievable moment, both of us in shock, but so happy and ecstatic and excited.
We continued down to Tiffany’s where we were treated to champagne as Redframe tried on different rings (for all of you who have yet to buy engagement rings, Tiffany’s is damn expensive, but they have stunning rings – you get what you pay for). Redframe decided on a stunning Lucida cut (a patented square diamond that took Tiffany’s more than 10 years to develop) that was somewhat in my price range (Okay, so it was well above it, but I wasn’t about to tell Redframe that!). We had to wait until the afternoon to physically get the ring, as it had to be resized to fit her cute little finger.
I whipped out my debit card (with more than enough cash on it to pay for the ring) and presented it to Rosalie Yako, the lady who was helping us, while we two lovebirds continued sipping our champagne and lovingly staring into each other’s eyes (some kissing might have been involved as well).
Rosalie soon came back with a slight problem – probably because it was a debit card, the transaction was declined. “No problem”, I said, I’ll just go to a bank and withdraw the cash. So off to Chase Manhattan Redframe and I went, smiling and happy all the way.
Another slight problem – Chase required me to have my passport to withdraw large amounts. “No problem”, I said, and off we went, back to the hotel to pick up my passport, back to Chase Manhattan. It started raining quite heavily at this time, and although to me it wasn’t cold, Redframe has a defective built-in thermometer and was freezing her little (it's really little!) ass off.
Once we were back at Chase Manhattan, we shook off the remaining raindrops and I proceeded to a bank teller, who told me everything was fine and it would only take a couple of minutes. About 20 minutes later, another slight problem presented itself – my bank, Associated in Madison, didn’t allow large withdrawals. “No problem”, I said, even though the euphoria was starting to wear a little thin, as I phoned Associated’s customer service line.
At about this time, Redframe started saying that maybe it was a sign, and that we should maybe consider delaying the purchase of the ring until I was back in South Africa. “No way”, I said, and asked her to go back to the hotel and wait for me while I sorted this out.
Another little problem presented itself – Associated has no customer service over weekends. “Huge problem”, I said, “What do I do now?” After running around Manhattan like a headless chicken looking for open banks and trying to withdraw cash everywhere, my card was eventually deactivated by Associated’s automatic system.
With no access to MY money (what kind of bank does that????) even with a passport and proof of almost everything, I was at a loss about what to do next.
Right about then, Rosalie phoned from Tiffany’s to say that the ring had been resized and was ready for pick-up, pending the payment. I explained the situation to her, and returned to Tiffany’s in a last ditch effort to get the ring on Redframe’s finger before I left New York.
Rosalie was very understanding, and said that they could help me by taking an imprint of my card and running it through once I had cleared it with Associated on Monday morning, at which time Redframe would be able to pick up the ring. Somehow, this didn’t have quite the romantic feel to it that I'd had in mind, but it seemed to be my only option.
As Rosalie was walking me to the door of Tiffany’s, she enquired whether I didn’t have any other access to cash. I replied that I had my South African credit card, but that it had a limit of $2,500. "Oh!" she said, and told me about the Tiffany’s credit agreement whereby I could buy the ring on credit with a $2,000 deposit. My heart lifted, and I filled out the credit application forms with a smile.
But the comedy of errors was not over yet. Yet another issue reared its ugly head – as Rosalie phoned in my details, it transpired that I had no US credit history, and thus they denied my application. Back to square one.
This was ridiculous. I was just about ready to give up, when a miracle happened. Tiffany’s was hosting an event on the upper floor for their major customers where they were showcasing millions of dollars worth of jewellery, and it just so happened that the head of the credit department was there. Rosalie, being the absolute gem(ologist) that she is, told me to wait while she discussed my problem and pleaded my case with the head of the credit department.
Joy at last! My credit application was accepted, and Tiffany’s basically gave me the ring on my word, with no formal assurance that I would pay for it or even be able to pay for it.
The ring was placed in the special Tiffany blue box, and as I entered our hotel room, I saw the questioning look in Redframe’s eyes. I told her that I did not manage to get the ring, but that I got her something small from Tiffany’s in lieu of the ring.
I will never forget her face at the moment I opened the box, nor the look in her eyes, nor the feeling that overwhelmed me as I finally got to put the ring on her finger.