When Johnny was 19 he got down on his knees and proposed to Melody on the ice at Rockefeller Center. She said “no”, took off her skates and left. He knew there was a chance he might be rejected—they’d only been dating a month and hadn’t gone beyond the necking stage. But he had to ask her—he couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm for venturing forth in what he called “the great unknown of human emotion.”
Johnny didn’t shed a tear as he watched Melody slip off her skates. In fact, he waved at her.
Three months later with bowling ball in hand, he stood at the foul line on lane three of the local alley.
“Johnny, why don’t you roll?”
He closed his eyes to the sound of Amanda’s voice. She was pretty and best of all, very nice and quick to smile. He was at ease with her. He turned around and walked slowly towards her—she was seated at the scorer’s table .
He dropped to his knees, bowling bowl at his feet. “Amanda, will you marry me?”
She started to giggle, but stopped when she saw how his blue eyes were soft and serious.
“We’re not even going steady yet.”
“We would be if you said ‘yes.”
Amanda hugged him and said she needed more time.
This was Johnny’s closest brush with a positive response to his proposals. He’d popped the question four times in the past year. Johnny kissed her on the forehead.
When he came home that evening, his mother caught him at the front door.
“Amanda Shuller’s mother told me you proposed to Amanda today. I didn’t even know you were going out with her. Is this a joke?”
Johnny hugged his mom, then stepped back. “Mom, you got married when you were 19, so I don’t see why I can’t do the same.”
His mother took him by the hand and led him to the dining room table where they sat down and talked for hours. Most of the time his mouth was opened in astonishment with secrets revealed by his mother about her childhood, her parents and his long departed father. She didn’t mention Amanda until a few minutes past midnight.
“When are you and Amanda getting married?”
He tried not to yawn. “Mom, I need some sleep. Let’s talk about Amanda tomorrow, okay?”
The next morning Johnny was in the kitchen when phone rang.
“Yes, I’ll marry you.”
He wasn’t sure who was calling. He hung up and went back to bed.