Jason Lawrence Bell
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03-02-19 Engagement List


     ‘There’s a place just around the corner, big white building with a red door. You can’t miss it’, said the helpful young boy to David. David had his shopping list in his hand and was headed to the store to check off as many items as possible. He knew he had to visit a few different stores to get everything the list dictated. This was no ordinary shopping list. This was the Julie list. And Julie also had a David list. Julie and David were engaged to be married and tonight was their engagement party. Julie’s family had a tradition that David thought was charming and wanted to have it in their engagement.       

     The tradition was basically, upon being engage David and Julie would receive a list. They would have the day before the party to find everything on the list and present the items at the party. This was not a normal list. There were items like ‘something with the partners favorite color, a copy of their favorite song, something to represent their favorite hobby, their favorite movie.’ All items about their partners preferences in common things. But toward the bottom of the list were a group of items that David was unsure of and he decided to do the easy ones first to save time. 

     The big white store was perfect for most of those items. He found a brush in Julie’s favorite blue color, a post card to Hollywood which was her favorite place she has not visited yet, a Queen CD with ‘We are the Champions’ on it. He secretly thought this was going to impress Julie on how well he knew her. He was eliminating items from the list at a quick pass. After three stores he had completed 3/4 of the list. He was ready for the items he was unsure of. They were not really items, but questions about Julie. So, he ran thru the questions and was done. 

     David had loved Julie for many years before they were dating. They were from the same neighborhood. It took Julie a while to notice David for she was the popular cheerleader type and David the shyer and more introverted type. But David eventually won her over. And now the engagement party was set. 

     Guests started arriving about 6:00 PM. After about an hour of socializing, Julie’s dad announced it was time for the lists. He would read the questions out loud and Julie and David would present their items or answers. The first question was ‘Your partners favorite color.’ Julie started and presented a blue woman’s glove. David was surprised green was his color, but didn’t say anything. And recognized the glove as one Julie wore often. David presented the blue hair brush and Julie smiled with approval.‘ 

     Julie’s dad continued, ‘now your partners favorite song,’ Julie confidently displayed a picture of Queen which David recognized from Julie bedroom wall. David faked a smile and said ‘I also like the Beatles’, then offered the Queen CD to Julie. She laughed and said ‘you know me so well’. Then a new question was asked ‘where is your favorite place that you have not visited.’ Julie had written on a piece of paper Hollywood. David thought, ‘why didn’t she remember he was saving money to take them to France.’ He offered up his postcard with Hollywood on it. And Julie was so pleased. David was starting to feel uncomfortable but continued. 

     Next came ‘your partners favorite food’. Julie again wrote on a piece of paper, ‘Lox and bagels’ This disturbed David. She must know he hated lox because he never ordered it. David became bolder and said ‘Barbecue is my favorite’. Then presented a plate of lox and bagels that he bought at the deli. The crowd was also feeling the discomfort. Then came the question section. ‘When was the first time you noticed your partner?’ Julie answered ‘it was last year just after I broke up with Simon and I saw David and I thought he looked a lot like Simon and David was so nice. David asked me out a couple of times I wasn’t ready.  Then one day I said okay and here we are.’ Julie seemed proud of her story. Then David started, ‘we’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 15 years. I had always thought she was adorable, but I was too shy to try.’ 

     Julies dad quickly moved to a new question, ‘how many children does your partner want and how soon?’ Julie stated, ‘David’s like me. We know that most marriages fail so we will wait maybe 10 years until we are sure, then we may have one child preferably a girl.’ The crowd noticed David turn white and hesitate, he slowly corrected Julie, ‘3 children as soon as possible is my preference.’ Even Julie was starting to feel discomfort in the crowd.

     Julie’s dad tried to change the mood by asking the last question. ‘How does your partner see your future life together?’ Julie had her answer ready and began. ‘David will go back to lawyer school and become a famous attorney. He will make tons of money and we will live in a lavish apartment downtown.’ Julie had a big smile from the thought of that life. David became quite and so did the crowd. Julie’s dad was thinking the list idea may not have been a good idea. But what David said next surprised him. David turned to Julie and spoke, ‘I can see that the list game is more important than just a party event. You can see your partner and yourself a little more clearly. I realize that for years I have fantasized that I was in love with you Julie, yet I simply didn’t know you very well. I’m not sure why you say you want to marry me possibly because I always do what you want. But we are not partners and we are not meant for each other. I’m sorry but I am leaving now, thank you all for coming tonight.’ Julie’s dad felt the relief the crowd was feeling by David’s words. And as the crowd was leaving Julie’s dad approach Julie and said, ‘We have got to talk’. Peace***