Tell me… What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
“You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. …Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads”.
I want to marry Katherine and I want to propose with a book. My goal is to write her a novel where she will be the unsuspected protagonist of a story where fiction and reality will merge. This won’t be easy because I am not a writer, English is my second language, and I don’t think that I can write with a credible feminine voice. On top of this, it takes months to write a book and it will be hard to predict what Katherine will be doing by the time I am done.
I decide to modify an existing novel to make my life easier. I have read so many cheesy books that Amazon believes that I am interested in Fifty Shades of Gray (which I already read). I settle down for “The Myth of you and Me” because it is written in first person and the plot is about a woman who has to deliver a mysterious package to an inaccessible friend. Unfortunately, this book is about female friendship. If I don’t overhaul the plot, my character will end up dancing to Madonna and having a crush at Patrick Swayze.
Match day, the day when doctors are assigned to a medical residency, takes place on March 15th and Katherine must be there. I should take advantage of this fact and have the book ready by March 10th. This means that I will need to work hard for the next six months.
Doing research about diamonds makes me realize that they are overpriced configurations of carbon atoms that are less useful than graphite and not as interesting as Bucky balls. Commodities sold in an imperfect market and yet, commodities loved by girls.
I am writing the final chapters of the book and I have taken the liberty of adding some friends in the plot. I particularly like a scene where Fede is drinking beer at a hospital from a coffee mug (sorry Fede) and decide that the book will end up with the protagonist (Katherine) opening a letter. Coincidentally, I will give a card to Katherine that she won’t be allowed to read until she finishes the book. The card will contain a URL to a website that I will design. A website that will contain further instructions for her.
Speaking about hospitals, Katherine has been traveling a lot interviewing at different anesthesia programs around the country. She asks me if we are going to be ok. I hug her and tell her that we will make it work.
Katherine gave me a great book for Christmas. “If on a Winter Night” by Italo Calvino. This novel is written in second person and ends with the reader (who is also the protagonist) marrying another reader (coincidence?). I decide to incorporate some of the elements of this book into the novel that I am writing.
I design a cover for my book, create a couple of reviews, borrow (i.e. steal) the logo of an editorial house and create an author which is an acronym of “Katherine” and “Marco” (Monica Thakerer). Bar code? Check. Fake ISBN? Check. Library of congress classification? Check.
I am tired of reading the manuscript looking for mistakes. On top of this, work has been really demanding these days. I decide that the book is good enough and use Blurb.com to print it. I pick a hard cover edition with a dust jacket. The book should arrive on February.
I visit diamond stores, read forums and build an Excel spreadsheet to select the perfect diamond for Katherine. I learn about the differences between the AGS, GIA and EGL certifications and discover the subtleties of “Cut”. Overall, I learn that the four “C”s are just a summary of other metrics such as Depth, table, crown angle, girdle, polish, symmetry, fluorescence, culet that could differ within any given class. I analyze prices, look at ideal-scope images that show light reflection, build a decision tree and wonder if I have Asperger syndrome at the same time. At the end, I feel proud of my choice when I see the ring in real life.
I build the website that Katherine will visit when she finishes the book. The website will contain a modified version of the fragment of Alice in Wonderland (with Katherine playing Alice) where Alice meets the cat. I decide to use both “Google Forms” and “Webs.com” to build the website. I use Google forms because I need to be notified in real time when Katherine visits the website. This is important because I might need to change the plan depending on the day and time when Katherine finishes the book. At this point several of my work colleagues (including the CEO) know about my plan. I book my flight, car rental and hotel for Hanover. All the pieces are coming together.
2 Weeks before match day
Katherine invited me to match day. This was a predictable surprise and I had to lie to her by telling her that I needed to be in London that week. She buys my lie but she is unhappy anyway. One day later, she sent me a text asking me if I do love her. It is getting hard to keep this project hidden. I truly hope that the phrase… “Fail her. Because a girl who reads know that failure always leads up to the climax” is right.
1 day before the Day
Got a text message from Katherine yesterday around 11pm. “This is amazing. I have no idea how you even did this. How in the world did you rewrite and print a novel? The links made me laugh – both the titles of the curious bear website and the final page. This means so much to me, thank you”
No reply from my side. Absolute silence for the last hours. I will fly tonight to Boston and will be in Hanover by noon. If she follows the instructions, I will see her at 4pm.
March 10th, 2013
I park the rental car 4 blocks away from the Dartmouth Library and see her car parked in the Dartmouth Green. I ask an undergrad student to give her a letter which describes the overall purpose of the book. 1 minute and 25 seconds later I sit next to her and propose.