The First Thing She Thought When He Asked, “Will You Marry Me?”

3 min readMay 23, 2022

How did Trish’s 30th middle school reunion end like this?

White couple engaged, tear in photo
Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash, Edited by Author on Canva

Adam stood at the podium, mic in hand, looking out over chattering tables of families and friends finishing off the last crumbs of dessert. I couldn’t believe this was our 30th middle school reunion. I was sitting next to Neil, his brother Corey and his father. Neil was not-so-modestly trying to tell me he lived in Princeton not because it was a nice town, but because he worked there, at the UNIVERSITY. Corey made little side comments, clearly feeling a chip on his shoulder.

“Now, tell me about you…” Neil’s father turned in his chair, who, like his mother, was a professor of astronomy or something. I hoped he couldn’t see the guilt in my eye that I used to call his son “Neil Neil The Orange Peel, Belongs in the Compost.” Next to them, I was like the person who organizes the cleaning schedule for the janitors. Not that my job isn’t important, but, compared to faculty at Princeton?

Before I could change the subject, with an electric squeal and tapping of the mic, Adam saved me from my next sentence, which was that I teach third grade at a local school in town, not in Princeton. Even before I spoke, I imagined any hope of admiration fleeing from Neil’s father’s eyes. What — — teachers can’t be smart? It’s teachers who gave your son the chance to be a mathematical genius, don’t forget.

On stage, Adam started talking about the caterers, reunion, getting older, etc. sprinkled with a few, corny, feel-good jokes for which people receive forgiveness during speeches and toasts. He was acting his usual self, jovial, open-faced, same as in high school, he never lost the smile. I wish I could be like him.

Then, before I knew what was happening, he was walking down the aisle with the cordless mic, looking me right in the eye. With Adam, throughout the last few months, things had been getting stronger between us, we hardly skipped a beat. It was Trish and Adam again, I felt like I was 16. He stood a few tables away from me, his smile an invitation and a game.

“Will you, Trish, will you marry me?”

I hate to say it, but the first thing I thought was how I didn’t want to disappoint a crowd. Maybe five seconds went by and…


M.Laufer is a writer and therapist