I have been asking Dustin when he will take me to Medieval Times. We have one here in Dallas right next to the freeway, and I assume we will only be able to drive past it so many times before something will snap and we will decide it is irresistible. Add that to the fact I like to eat with my hands and a billboard we regularly pass that informs us, on Medieval Times' behalf, that "Resistance is Feudal," and the idea is not so far fetched. Indeed, it seems inevitable.
And yet every time I ask Dustin if we should go to dinner and a tournament, he looks at me with raw fear. Now, Dustin likes an adjustable paper crown as much as the next guy; but while he doesn't take issue with my fourth grade girl scouts outing to the Buena Park MT, the fact that my college boyfriend chose the Chicagoland location for our first Valentine's Day has seared into Dustin's brain.
"This is different," I say, but Dustin shakes his head. He remembers that the Chicago Valentine's trip started out as an ironic gesture, too, but that it stopped being funny in the Great Hall, where someone in period dress calls you up and announces loudly to the room why you've been singled out. It was fine at first--Anthony was having a birthday, Jessica got straight A's--but then the theme changed to romance. Gill and Meredith were celebrating their 37th anniversary, Mary and Jim their 10th. Mark and Cindy just got married. Leona and Richard were there on their honeymoon. I would have been in a better mood had my boyfriend been more forthcoming. He and half of the couple we were now on a double date with had been joking about this as the most ridiculous possible date for a few weeks, but they had seemed so guileless when they told us they were planning a Valentine's surprise, that all we had to do was dress nicely and be ready to leave at six.
So when the honeymooning couple accepted their souvenir scroll, I turned to my college boyfriend and said I would leave if someone proposed. Which of course was the cue for the announcer to call up Steve and Sarah. Steve did all of the talking. Steve talked about how wonderful Sarah was, how the two months they'd known each other had been the best two months of his life, how ever since they first started chatting online he'd felt a connection. And then he got on one knee and proposed. Sarah did not actually say anything. She kind of nodded enough to make him stand up and someone opened the grand doors and we all tried to file past them without making eye contact. It didn't matter that our knight didn't win.
"Just don't propose to me there," I say, and Dustin squints his eyes as if trying to literally see how this could possibly be a good idea. But then we've already driven past the castle-style building and its big illuminated marquee, and before we even hit the interchange, the mood has passed.