"How did you know?"
Tabitha raised her head off the couch and gave Holly, her therapist, a look of disdain.
"How did I know?" She said, "Really? How does one know these things?"
"You tell me, Tabby."
"It's just a gut feeling. A sinking in your belly."
"Right, well tell me what happened."
"It's too much. We only have an hour."
"If you didn't want to talk about it, you wouldn't have started our session with a confession that you knew it was a mistake."
Tabitha took a deep breath and tried to relax on the stiff couch. I thought these things were supposed to make you feel comfortable, but I always end up feeling silly. Like a single panel cartoon, imagining the clever caption, Tabitha thought.
"Well?" Holly said.
Tabitha brought herself back to the moment and began the tried and true talk therapy.
"We were having lunch at that little cafe on 4th Avenue. They have an amazing cranberry melon salad, not to mention the wine list, which is probably what got me in trouble. We were sitting on the patio in the cool spring breeze, smoking, pleasantly sated, just watching the ants scurry back from their hurried work lunches. It had to be the wine or the cool breeze or maybe the whole moment."
"Go on," Holly said.
Tabitha brushed her short hair from her face, blew a few strands from her eyes, and continued. "I just blurted it out. 'Let's move in.' Then I started rambling on about how Sam and I had been together for 6 years now. How we both pay top dollar for our own places. Going on and on about how his location is closer to everything. Mentioning how much I love to wake up and have my morning coffee in the breakfast nook overlooking Central Park. He let me spew excuses and explanations for a good ten minutes before giving me that look."
"Oh, you know. The take a breath woman look. I felt so silly and wished I could take the last ten minutes and just click delete. Then, the sun came out from behind a passing cloud and I put my hands up to shield my eyes from the glares off the shop windows across the street. When I could feel the darkness of the clouds closing back in, I looked across the table to see Sam's reaction. Only Sam wasn't sitting across from me with martini in hand."
"Did he leave you right then and there?"
"That's the crazy part. That's why I wish I had just kept my tipsy mouth shut. Maybe if I had a few drinks before our sessions, you wouldn't have to prod me so much." Tabby let out a nervous laugh. "No, he didn't leave. I looked around for a second and the next thing I know, he's on his knee next to the table. I thought this isn't happening. Oh but it was. He pulls out a gorgeous blue velvet ring box and proceeds to propose to me right there in front of God and everyone. People were staring and uttering little ahs of sickly sweet admiration. I was mortified. Sitting there in my new Chanel top, trying not to topple my wine glass or just pass out. He had this whole thing planned. Waiting for the perfect moment. A beautiful day spent browsing the art galleries, walking through the park, and culminating in that patio lunch with the amazing salad and unadulterated people watching. I guess it worked, because I fell right into his trap. Romanticizing the spring afternoon and turning my thoughts to our future together."
"Let me see if I'm understanding you. A gorgeous day spent together, fine wine and good food. You obviously wanted to up the relationship. A storybook proposal. Well, what was your response?" Holly said.
Tabitha popped up from the couch. Spinning around, her hair taking a few moments to catch up with her momentum, she held out her left hand. There sat a stunning 2 karat princess cut diamond atop a simple white gold band.
Tabitha smiled, "I knew it was a mistake the moment the words came out of my mouth."
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