It was like a dream. I walked trough his living room to the door that led to his back yard. I tried to ignore my surroundings. Goodness, this man had some weird candle and rose fetish. Once again I was in a room filled with this little things that people normally call romantic. But unlike other people do, I wished they would somehow disappear. I really wanted things to be normal. His grand gesture was driving me crazy. I tried to sound as casual as possible when I said:
"Wow, Sidney. This is really beautiful."
"I'm glad you like it." He smiled.
Was he trying to burn his house down, cause it sure looked like it.
"So what's going on? You said there was something waiting for me outside."
He just nodded and ushered me outside. GULP! Not only did the endless theme of candles continue, but there was a huge hot air balloon standing there. This was a dream! It had to be, because nothing this ridiculous could really exist.
"Wh-what the f..." I cried out but he stopped me before I could finish.
"This is why I've been acting all weird today. They almost screwed things up, by mixing up the dates or something. And they also brought the candles too early. Atleast they didn't take them out of the boxes, so they didn't ruin the surprise completely."
He came behind me and put his arms around me.
"Netta, Don't freak out." His voice was deep and full of authority.
"I'm trying not to." Mine on the other hand sounded like a tiny mouse's whisper. He squeezed my shoulders.
"Come on." He said and I found myself following him to the hot air balloon. An old man was waiting for us.
"Netta, this is Carl. His going to fly us with this thing." Sidney introduced him.
"Nice to meet you, miss. Please, hop in so we can start the flight."
The old man looked more like a nursing home resident than someone who was qualified to fly something. But if "Mr Grosby" trusted him so maybe the "miss" should too.
With a deep sigh I stepped in and was followed by Sidney. Slowly the balloon started to rise.
We were above his house. Maybe this wasn't so bad. I had to admit that the view was spectacle and Carl was with us so Sidney had to behave. Not that weird I-love-you-thing. Sidney pointed me some of the houses below and told me about them. We were heading away from the city and there were only few houses below us. Just a road with tiny cars. Then I spotted something. There was a field right next to the road. And then I saw big letters on the ground, apparently they were on fire, because of the glow. At first I couldn't quite make out what was written on the ground, but when the hot air balloon moved a bit, I was able to read it.
"Ow, look Sidney! Someone's going to propose."
"Yeah." He said.
I stared at the burning letters: MARRY ME? This night was really like a dream. I pictured in my mind how some guy would kneel before a girl tonight. And I smiled thinking about her reaction. How sweet to propose like that. Burning letters. That was romantic. Then it crossed my mind that it was impossible to read the letters from the ground. He should somehow get the girl higher so she could read it. Maybe... Before I could continue this thought, a weird shiver went trough my body. The boy should get the girl higher... I shook my head before I let myself to think any further. It was too dangerous to think any further. I was too scared to look at Sidney now. Way too dangerous! He might realize what I was thinking... NO! What I was almost thinking. And then he would think I was crazy thinking about something like that.
"I think I'm insane." I said in my mind.
We fly further from the letters and I was relieved. But after a while I saw new burning letters.
And new letters.
I LOVE YOU
And new letters.
SO PLEASE, MARRY ME
"Maybe we should land now." Carl said and Sidney nodded.
"Here? On the field?" I asked nervously. We hit the ground and Sidney helped me out of the balloon.
We silently walked away. When we reached the last burning letters, he turned to me. But before he said anything, he took something form his pocket. It was a box. I stared at numbly. Everything was so surreal.
"Netta, I've never felt anything like this before. I am so in love with you. I want to be with you forever."
"Sidney..." He gently covered my mouth with his hand.
"You have to let me speak before you say anything. OK?" He looked at me demanding me to listen. I nodded and he continued.
"I want to make you happy. I want to love you. And I know I can give you everything you'll ever need. I will build my world around you. So I want to ask you a question." He kneed before me and took my hand. Tears filled my eyes and rush of happiness filled my heart.
"Will you marry me?"
I was going to say yes. He loved me. And... I loved him. So much. But for some reason I couldn't say that small word.
"Sidney. I love you too..." I started. He looked at me and as if could've read something from my eyes, his own eyes narrowed a bit.
"You love me. But."
"I love you but I can't say yes. Not now. Not yet." Suddenly everything was clear.
He looked so disappointed that it was hard for me to look at him.
"Sidney, we've only known for couple of months. And most of our relationship we've been on the phone."
"Netta, I know you. I know you enough to know that you are the one for me." He wasn't on his knee anymore but he was really close, holding me against him.
"I know you know me. I think you know me better than I know myself. But that's the point. I'm like a broken china which pieces has just been glued back together."
"What do you mean?" His voice was really demanding.
"I'm just learning to love again... learning to let somebody be close to me. I can't say yes now, Sidney. Please, try to understand. I really would like to say yes, but I cant."
He took couple steps back and looked at me.
"Could you wait for me?" I asked staring at him with a new courage. "I will say yes to you, but not now."
He nodded and a smile came back to his lips.
"I will wait for you."
I hugged him.
"Um... Can I see the ring, please?"
He burst into laughter.