Hagar Anthony was your Mother’s old boyfriend as a teenager. His Father was in the service. They had moved away, and now he was back. Hagar had skipped college and went into business for himself. He was fairly well to do, having invented some piece of financial software the banks were using.
He made no secret about his intentions. He was here to win her back. She smiled at him the afternoon he told us that, we were at a Church picnic. “What makes you think you can?” He nodded in my direction. “He isn’t putting up much of a fight now is he?”
I was about to respond the wrong way when our Pastor intervened. “Hagar, Mrs. Carstairs needs help with the kid’s baskets. Would you mind?” “Not at all.” He smiled and walked off. I thought it was safe, until our Pastor suggested that Ashley help her with setting up the children’s games also.
After they were out of earshot, he looked at me. “Winston, either you very carefully, make your intentions known, or she will be Mrs. Anthony within three months.” He said some other things, but that was all that I heard. I panicked, what I did I don’t advise, but I did it.
I left the picnic without saying goodbye. I headed straight for your Grandmother Cambridge. From there, we went to my Uncle Pierce, the local jeweler. I borrowed three engagement rings from my Uncle, the most expensive ones he had. Your Grandmothers on each side were equals in persuasiveness.
When I came back, the picnic was ending. Hagar was getting ready to take Ashley home. From a distance, I could see from her actions that she was quite angry with me. I was fine as long as I thought it was a matter of temper. It was when I realized that she was hurt that I lost it.
I took her in my arms and hugged her tightly. “Sweetheart, I’m sorry, I expected you to be angry, but I never meant to hurt you. Walk with me, please?” Reluctantly, very reluctantly, she took my hand and we walked to that old tree in the park. I knelt down right there and held out my Uncle’s best jewelry.
“All three of these rings cost more than I have ever made, but I’ll gladly figure out how to cover the cost. I realized today that, the cost of losing you, is the only thing that I couldn’t afford. Would you marry me?” I thought that surely that would wrap it up nicely. She smiled, kissed me, said “No”, and walked towards my car holding my hand.
I followed, stunned, confused, and filled with questions. Apparently I was the only one that failed to understand what just happened. Hagar sighed, waived, and drove off. Our Pastor laughed, shook his head, and did the same. Finally I heard her say, “Get in”, and we drove off.
When we got to her place, she kissed me, and said goodnight. I sat there in the dark by myself for half an hour. Finally, I got out, knocked, and waited for her to come to the door. “Yes?” She said, as if she was surprised to see me. I walked in, sat down on the couch, looked at her, and steadied myself. “What just happened?” I asked, desperately afraid of the answer.