I said it in a fish restaurant on Rupert Street, as we burst through the membrane between two millenia, and I went down on one knee on the restaurant’s chess-tile floor. “Let me be your Minister of Fun,” I said, braced with a brimful of early beer and fizzing with the secret of a small velvety box in my pocket.
You didn’t know what I was on about, did you? I don’t think it was until the waiter (alerted by fellow diners) came over with unexpected congratulatory champagne that you realised what I’d done: I’d put the seal upon something so long overdue.
It was the bonus that swung it. Me, skipping down Marylebone High Road with more disposable income than I’d ever had previously. Heels clicking, skipping past the jewellers. Stopping. Slowly returning to the window.
I pressed ‘contacts’ whilst walking through a park near Wigmore Street, the velvety box in my pocket. And I asked your dad for permission.
“What are your prospects?” he said in a deep voice tinged with a little humour and possibly a little pride at actually having been asked.
I can’t pretend to remember my reply to his question, but perhaps I’ll tell him now, after fourteen years, my prospects as they transpired.
I’d tell him that we’d make possible two girls (of course, without going into too much detail as to precisely how – he probably already knows, having made two of his own). I’d tell him that I’d take these girls around the world and bathe them in language and culture. I’d tell him that his daughter would be a talented academic and an extraordinary teacher and a ferociously caring mother. I’d tell him that his grandchildren would be precociously hilarious, astonishingly resilient and breathtakingly talented.
I’d tell him that it might all go wrong. And I’d tell him that our lives would be not so much a road less travelled than a ghost of a desire line veering off of a byroad to God knows. I’d tell him that my prospects are not mine to give and nor were his ever his. That wouldn’t amuse him in the least, but then I didn’t offer to be his Minister of Fun.
I’m yours. And somewhere in the multiverse we remain transfixed as you turn a ring in the light; both of us startled by its diamond’s sharp, pink gleam that holds new life and continents enough of possibility to keep us in its glow forever.