I sat in the restaurant, playing nervously with the edges of the tablecloth. Sam would be here any minute. I unrolled the cloth napkin, picked up a spoon, and checked my teeth in its reflection one last time. Everything had to be perfect for when I proposed to Sam. I had planned it for a while, of course. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Sam. Sam was everything that I had ever wanted smart, caring, funny, and gorgeous. It also didn't hurt that Sam had an ass I never tired of looking at. But the important thing was that I was never happier than in the moments when I was by Sam's side.
It all started a year ago when I caught Sam's eye at a bar. I had been having a terrible day and had gone there with no expectations. I was just looking for an escape and a place to unwind after work. Halfway through my fifth drink, I saw Sam by the counter. Gorgeous green eyes behind long, dark lashes, a shy smile, and a perfect body balancing gracefully on a bar stool. Normally I am too shy to just waltz up to someone as attractive as Sam, but I couldn't help myself that night. Maybe I'd had more of a buzz than I'd thought, or maybe my bad day had given me a 'what the hell' sort of attitude. I went over, plopped down on the adjacent barstool, and introduced myself. Sam and I flirted for the next several hours, talking about everything from sports, to politics, to fine arts. Though we had many things in common, such as both being extremely liberal, we discovered several differences as well. While I preferred jazz, Sam loved hip hop. While I enjoyed comedies, Sam couldn't resist a good horror movie. I had a job in a stuffy, cramped office where I wasn't living up to my full potential, while Sam was living the dream as a sought-after interior designer. With every detail I learned, I admired Sam a bit more.
After that first night at the bar, Sam and I exchanged numbers and were pretty much inseparable. Since we had already learned so much about each other, we skipped the initial awkward first date, and just jumped into an easy relationship of spending time together. Of course there were the simple things like watching movies, cuddling on the couch, and holding hands, but we helped each other out as well. I helped Sam file and organize tedious paperwork, and Sam helped me re-decorate my entire apartment. The two of us were constantly laughing over something, and seeing a smile spread across Sam's face was the highlight of my days.
The first time Sam said, "I love you", was one of the best days of my life. What made it so great is that we weren't doing anything special or out of the ordinary that normally would have elicited such a phrase. The two of us were just cooking dinner together, singing along, extremely off key, to some song on the radio. We were messing around, Sam rubbing flour on my cheek, and me dancing like a fool while I stirred our dish on the stove. We both were laughing so hard that there were tears streaming down our cheeks. Then Sam wrapped two delicate arms around me, looked into my eyes, and said, "I love you, Paul." Never had four words made me so happy.
After Sam's declaration of love, we rarely spent a full day apart. Eventually, my apartment became Sam's apartment, and we began to have mutual friends. The two of us went shopping together like a married couple, we argued like a married couple, and we had unbelievably hot make-up sex like a married couple. Sometimes I thought that we might as well be married, and a few months ago, I realized that there was nothing else in the world I wanted more than to marry Sam. That realization led me to the proposal in the fancy restaurant where I waited for Sam.
I looked at my watch for what seemed like the hundredth time since I'd arrived at the restaurant. Sam was late, which was an extremely rare occurrence. Sam was usually a very punctual person. I gulped down my third glass of water, sweat stains forming on my button-up dress shirt. I once again began reciting what exactly I would say to Sam at the moment I proposed. Phrases like, "You're the most important person in my life", and "I never want to spend a day without you by my side". I glanced at my watch again; Sam was thirty minutes late now.
Just when I was really starting to worry, Sam slid into the chair across from me.
"Sorry I'm late."
"There you are!" I said, relieved. "I was starting to get worried." Sam looked down at the table.
"Listen, Paul. There's something we need to talk about."
"What is it?" I felt for the ring box that was hidden safely in my pocket.
"I haven't been honest with you. There is someone else." I felt my heart sinking down into my spleen.
"Someone else? What?" I stammered.
"Her name is Allie." Sam looked up at me then.
"Her?! You're interested in a woman?!" I was in shock. I had never thought there was even the slightest possibility that Sam would go for a woman.
"I'm in love with a woman," Sam replied, running slender fingers over the tablecloth.
why?" I murmured.
"I'm sorry, Paul." The sparkle in Sam's eyes was gone. How long had it been missing?
"But what about me?" I reached across the table for Sam's hand. Sam sighed and pulled away from me.
"It's not just that. See, Allie is having my baby." And with that, Sam straightened his tie, got up, and walked out of the restaurant.