“Here, kid eat this”, Grandma said. This had become an every evening ritual with her. She’d sit by the balcony, not outside on the actual balcony, she was afraid of heights but liked the sunlight. She’d sit there, cut up apples and invite me to eat it, if for some reason I didn’t come she’d eat her half and leave me my half to eat later.
“Grandma did you have a boyfriend before grandpa?”, I asked as I took one of the apple slices.
“Of course dear”, she said in the slightly British accent which she never lost despite not being in Britain for at least twenty years, “I didn’t meet him until I was twenty seven, and both me and your grandpa had taken lovers before that but when we met, we knew. We knew that we were supposed to be together. Why do you ask Raj?”
“Oh it’s just, there’s this girl I’ve been seeing and I think I wanna marry her but you know I’ve never dated anyone else so I don’t know if she’s really the one”
“Son, if you have to think like that, then she’s not the one.” Grandma said, coolly looking out the balcony.
“But I love her.”
“That may be true, but if you have to think twice before marrying someone, you’re not ready yet.”
And we kept talking for about an hour about love and marriage and somehow gay marriage got into that mix, it always fascinated me how I could talk whatever with her but not with anyone else in the family, not my mother, father not even my grandpa. It was peculiar but that was at the root of our relationship, not holding back on your thoughts and I thoroughly cherished that everyday.
The next day, as I woke up, it was quite clear to me that I was supposed to marry Simran. I loved her, I had only ever loved her and after my talk with grandma yesterday I didn’t need to think again.
I skipped lunch that day and went to the jeweler to buy a ring. The prices took me by surprise, I knew it was going to be expensive but this shit was fucking exorbitant! As I was looking through the cheaper options, there was doubt in my mind again. Should the price really matter if I really think she’s the one? Shouldn’t any price be nothing compared to getting to spend the rest of my life with her? I looked and I looked and I looked. And as I looked the doubt didn’t seem to clear itself. I was meeting her tonight, maybe then I’d know?
As I left office, I texted her, “Hey, I’ve left. How long will you be?”
It didn’t take long for her to reply,
“I’ll be there before you.
I’m wearing your favorite dress 😉
See you soon! 😙 😙”
She must be expecting a proposal! This is a nice restaurant we’ve always talked about going there maybe on a special occasion and today would’ve been that special occasion! But goddamit! I couldn’t decide! How could I not be sure about the woman I’ve dated for ten fucking years? Should I really marry her? Am I supposed to marry her? All through the cab ride this kept going through my head. Once the doubt creeps in, it never really goes. I left office early and, in a jiffy, I think I might have forgot to punch out so the boss kept calling me. I really didn’t want to have to deal with it. So, I put my phone on silent and just thought about where did I see myself with her in the next ten years.
I couldn’t come up with an answer.
I reached the restaurant and I saw her, that’s when I knew. I knew I wanted to be with her in the next ten years, maybe have a kid? All those doubts seemed pointless now. I was quite sure she is who I wanted to be with for the rest of my life.
We had dinner and I did propose but without a ring. I saved myself by telling her that I wanted to give her the ring she wanted and we’ll go shop for it together.
That night, I wanted to come home and tell everything to grandma. I rushed home after the date. Opened the door and shouted, “GRANDMA! I KNOW THE ANSWER!”
“GRANDMA, WHERE ARE YOU?”, I sang at the top of my lungs with merriment obvious in my voice.
And mom came out, her face seemed a little pale. I was at the balcony eating the apples grandma left for me as mom broke down.
That was the last time I ate apples.