Cherry Blossom Tree
August 10th, 1963.
Michiko and I had been dating for four years now. I think now would be the perfect time for us to get married. Yet, I don�t know how to put my plan into action. A marriage proposal takes planning. How could I go about doing this?
First, I needed the ring. That alone took me days to work out. It had to be perfect for her. Michiko was a special woman. I know I was thinking like your typical guy then, but it�s normal when you are in love. You just want to make them happy, no matter what. However, I had to keep a stable balance between work and my love life. It wasn�t easy at first, but over time, I learned how to manage. Good thing, too. I probably would�ve scared everyone around me away.
But, back to the current problem.
I first needed to get the ring to propose to Michiko. That alone took so much work. I spent weeks saving money to get the ring; then came the question of what style of ring I wanted. This had to be special for my girl. I didn�t want to get her a diamond�too generic. Maybe a sapphire? Nah, too soft for her personality. A ruby? That�s too bold for her. An emerald? Yeah, that would be perfect! I shopped around for five days for the emerald engagement ring. When I had the right amount of money, I went to the jewelry store to go buy the ring. I took a moment to stare upon the glittering green jewel in the display case. I had to blink to take in such beauty before me.
�Wow,� I breathed. How do they manage to tame such a beauty in something so small?
�Can I help you today, sir?� I heard someone ask. I quickly came back to earth and looked up. The clerk stood before me, smiling. I smiled back a little.
�Ah yes,� I said. �I would like your best ring on display.� She lit up with a bright smile.
�Oh! Are you proposing?� she asked.
�Yes, I am.�
�Oooh!� she cheered. �You�ve come to the right place!�
�I hope so,� I said.
�So, what type of ring suits your girl?�
�What�s she like?� the clerk asked.
�Well, she�s a strong-willed woman. Polite, but not afraid to speak her mind. Willing to make room for others, but won�t sacrifice her personal morals.�
The clerk thought about that for a moment and smiled. �I have the perfect one. Hang one.� She turned around and picked up the key hanging on the nail in the wall. The clerk unlocked the case and reached inside. My eyes lit up as she pulled out a freshly cut emerald engagement ring. The stone looked perfectly cut to a square on a platinum band. The light bounced off of it, nearly blinding me with its strong green. I gave off a low whistle.
�Wow,� I whispered. �What size is the band?�
�17.3mm,� the clerk replied. I took out a piece of paper I had in my pocket, unfolded it, and read it over. I looked up at the clerk with a smile on my face.
�It�s just the right size,� I said. �How much is it?�
�52,000,000 yen,� the clerk replied. My heart dropped. She gave me another little smile.
�There is a discount today, however,� she said. A little hope crept back into my being.
�How much?� I asked.
�Fifty percent off,� she said. I made a face.
�Ooh, that�s still a little too high,� I said.
�Oh come on,� she started. �You could bend your budget for the ring.� I raised an eyebrow.
�Are you sure about that?� I asked.
�Do you love this woman so much that you would die without her?�
�Well, yes,� I answered.
�Do you love her so much that you can�t picture your life without her?�
�Yes,� I admitted.
�Did you plan your future with her as a big part of it?� the clerk pressed.
�Yes!� I blurted out.
�Then, this ring is worth spending a little more money. Think of her response when you ask for her hand in marriage,� the clerk insisted.
I smiled and gave her a quick nod. �Okay!� So, I ended spending the extra money for the ring.
However, I wasn�t done yet. I still had to get the timing, what I was going to say, and location just right as well. As I learned soon enough, getting the ring was the easiest thing in the whole proposal process.
I decided to propose to Michiko in front of my apartment where we first met. It took six weeks to plan out what I wanted to say to my girlfriend when I was to pop the question. Each time, I would revise my speech until I finally had it just the way I wanted to come out. I felt pretty confident when I had the right words for my love. My only problem was when to act on this plan. To my dismay, no day worked out for me. Either she was too busy or I was too busy and forgot. Life just kept getting in the way of everything.
Finally in October, I decided to just go for it. I walked Michiko back to my apartment one evening before the day that would be Halloween. We had just come back from another date. Michiko turned to me, laughing.
�I had such a great time,� she said. I smiled and nodded.
�Yeah,� I replied. �Hey Michiko. There is something I have wanted to ask you for months now.� She looked at me.
�What is it?� she asked. I drew in a deep breath and shut my eyes for one short moment. Here I go. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the box. I opened it up to show her the ring.
�Marry me!� I blurted out.
�I love you, Michiko-chan!� I declared. �I want you to be part of my future. So please, marry me!� I opened my eyes to peek at her pretty face. I had never seen her eyes look so big before in my life. I swallowed hard, feeling my heart speedup against my chest. Michiko gave me a little nod.
�Okay,� she said. I looked hopefully.
�Yes,� answered. �I will marry you.� I could�ve flown over the moon and back many times. My cheeks turned red as I bowed.
�I thank you, Michiko-chan!� I shouted. She took the ring and slid it on her ring finger. I could hear my heart singing when her eyes lit up.
�It fits!� she cheered. Michiko hugged me wildly. I couldn�t help but smile.
�You�re welcome,� I said. We got married on December eighteenth that year. It was a small ceremony with her parents, my mother, and Hirata-sama as our witnesses. Hirata-sama married us in his temple. I stood beside Michiko-chan proudly. She stayed somber the whole time. Despite that, we were happy that year.
�I love you,� I whispered to her.
�And I love you too,� Michiko whispered back. She held my hand under the winter sun. I could�ve died happy.