How We Got Engaged

mercredi 31 mai 2017

Hôtel Whistler
Gare du Nord

I’m writing this the day after, because yesterday I stayed in at the hotel all day and didn’t write. I didn’t do a thing all day, I just spent it waiting for Albert-Claude to come home. This is how it is when we are apart. He spent the day in the office, since we are planning on a long trip where we may be unreachable for several days.

I did spend some time earlier in the day planning our wedding, while in bed in this new hotel across Gare du Nord (one of the worst parts of Paris, I know) but the hotel still has the new hotel smell and has a charming train theme throughout. Our wedding was supposed to take place June 1 (which is the date on which I am writing this now), and that’s the date that our parents and everything thought we’d be getting married on. But we knew, as the date got nearer, it would be a big bother if we stuck to this wedding date.

We set our wedding date a few months ago, on Thursday March 2, and Albert-Claude gave me a beautiful Cotteville 40 Louis Vuitton trunk that I carry as a day trunk whenever I need to bring my laptop or sewing around the city. We’d inquired about it at the Champs-Elysees store a few days prior, and they said the only one available in France is at the avenue Montaigne location. This meant it was likely it was the only one in the world, as they’ve discontinued that model and France has everything compared to the rest of the world.

We got engaged while having a deep discussion in bed at our hotel in Paris, and after that we went straight to avenue Montaigne to purchase the trunk. In the old days, engagement presents weren’t diamond rings, but something that both could use together in their new life together every day — a house, a horse, all very practical items. The most classic gift was a suitcase, and often the future bride would then use it to pack her trousseau. As time went on, engagement gifts got smaller and smaller, to jewelry such as necklaces, and now rings. Engagement presents were never jewelry before. So it was serendipitous that the only thing I really wanted around the time we got engaged was also the most classic engagement present of all.

Since it was Fashion Week, and we arrived 30 minutes before store closing (usually a no-no in France) I was worried we wouldn’t get it on the eve of our engagement. But not only was it there, it was displayed on the top shelf in the middle of the store. It was as though they displayed it front and center just for us. And we had excellent (non-French) service by an Irishman so excited to sell us the trunk he pulled out all the other rare trunks in the store to see if we were interested. He even brought out the special made-to-order catalog, asked us repeatedly if we wanted champagne, and invited us to the upcoming store event. And he never even knew it was an engagement present. As we were there for one thing only. Instead of the usual customers that browse the whole store, we walked in, saw the trunk, asked to see it, and said we’d take it. Something that had been barely touched for the three years it sat in that store on that shelf, because no one even asked to see it.

With trunk in hand wrapped in a giant saffron-colored Louis Vuitton shopping bag (previously brown until they changed it a few months ago) we walked to Champs-Elysees, past the flagship store. Someone tried to steal it, but we saw them coming a mile away and was able to position ourselves so that they couldn’t.

We were shown to seats but didn’t like the Joel Robuchon restaurant on France’s most famous street, so we went instead to Thomieux, five minutes walk to our old apartment in 7ème, where we met. Albert-Claude handed me the trunk formally using his right hand, and I accepted with my right hand. All eyes were on the trunk at the restaurant that night.

Our dearest friends Sophie and Jacques got engaged in a similarly romantic way. They grew up together, and both had a passion for fencing. They would challenge each other and make bets. One day, Jacques bet Sophie that whoever was the winner would get to make the other do whatever they want, as long as it wasn’t unpleasant. Jacques beat Sophie, and that’s when he asked her to marry him. He asked her in that way because although they’d loved each other as children, and he knew she’d say yes, he didn’t even want to imagine a “no.” After he asked, Sophie cried for a long time.

After I had a notion in the morning about getting married in St. Tropez, after a lunch in Monaco via yacht, I found an underwater chapel in Bora Bora. At first, Albert-Claude scoffed at my idea, saying “that’s so fake,” but when I explained it is not a building underwater with windows, but merely a wooden frame with a scuba-diving priest, he was blown away. He almost cried. I knew this was the way Albert-Claude would want to get married. Since water is the first element, what vows we say underwater are very strong vows. Because you rely on the other person underwater, and you are in a world where you have to be aware at all times of each other, and since water is the strongest element, saying vows under water is the strongest vow and truly comes from the heart. So we just have to make it happen.

Albert-Claude was able to feel how I felt all day waiting for him, so he told me that he vows from this day on never to go to the office again; he will work fully remotely from now on. He’s always worked 90% remotely, but from now on that will become 100%. I was so happy.

Yesterday (Tuesday) when our dinner arrived, and I asked the question I always ask when food comes, “Do you want to watch something?” Albert-Claude asked where I got this habit from. I had no idea. Sophie would always go over her writing on the day (she wrote each day, about each day) with Jacques before dinner and the topic would spill over into dinner. Their dinner table conversation weren’t random topics, her writing is where they would come from. They could often spend all of dinner discussing a single topic.

And then we ended the night with hammam again , just like the nights before.

Until tomorrow,

Margaux Sophie Catherine

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