We sat together on the couch after dinner. Holding her close, she was tucked under my arm, her cheek resting against my chest.
With my free hand, I squeezed the tiny, blue velvet box in my pocket to make sure it was still there. Gently pushing her up, I muted the television.
“I found your dad, and I went to see him today,” the words I rehearsed for hours tumbled out. “I told him of my intention to marry you, and I asked him for your hand.”
Sliding off the couch, I was on one knee, the box open in my hands, offering it up to her along with my heart.
She shrank away from me, her eyes wide in terror. All I could see were black pupils, dilated beyond the emerald ring of her irises. Her voice tiny and far away.
“Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod,” she stood trembling. “What have you done!”
Pacing around the room like a caged animal, she couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with her hands. Mumbling incoherently, she fluttered her fingers like a frightened bird trying to take flight.
Her panic forced her into the farthest corner of the room. Fingers tips covering her mouth, she slid down the wall until she was sitting in a crouch.
Speaking in a soft voice, I tried to approach her, to find out what was wrong. When I reached out to touch her, she pulled back with a startled squeak.
“He wasn’t supposed to know where I am.” I could barely hear her. “You have to leave, NOW!”
I could only do what she demanded. The next morning when I stopped by to check on her, everything was gone, except for a note addressed to me.
“Don’t try to find me!”