Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Romantic Proposal in Mexico- A Love Story for Valentine's Day

Oh the joys of romance...

Lissette met Leonardo about 10 years after becoming engaged. Their love was long-distance, it was up and it was down, but love always prevails. Here's the story of their proposal:

It was a Wednesday (March 9th 2011) in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Lissette and Leo sat and enjoyed the first quiet evening they had enjoyed together in some time. Lissette was exhausted after an amazing spring break in nearby Jalos, Jalisco (“of course”). If you know Lissette, you know her love for all that is deeply Mexican, deeply cultural and deeply intoxicating; well maybe not intoxicating, but definitely anything that is fun-filled. Surely, Jalos met all of the above criteria. Leo was beginning to come down with a major cold. He lazied around as though ready to call it a night at 7pm. Things were still at Lissette’s parents home. It was a quiet space. In recent years, it had become chronically quiet, for many years earlier, both of Lissette’s parents passed away. Their new home was miles and miles away in heaven.

As they held each other, Leo remembered that he had promised his uncle they’d have dinner later that evening. It was an important dinner where he planned to finalize details about his upcoming wedding to Lissette. Leo insisted that canceling would be best and settled down deeper into the couch where they sat. He knew that being out in the brisk evening air would surely intensify his cold. Lissette urged him to call them sooner than later, so his aunt and uncle wouldn’t ready themselves in vain. Secretly, Lissette didn’t care to go out that evening. She didn’t want to straighten her hair or apply her make up. She didn’t want to entertain dinner companions and loved the quietness of an evening at home. As she sat and thought about how perfect it would be to skip dinner, Leo unenthusiastically lifted his heavy and tired body from the couch. “Let’s just go and get this out of the way,” he murmured. “Ayyye Leo,” Lissette’s voice answered as she bolted down the stairs. She rummaged through her unpacked luggage looking hurriedly for the essentials: a designer outfit and handbag, expensive accessories, make-up, and the most critical of all items, her hair straightener. Finally they were ready.

They arrived downtown and Leo looked lost. Inexplicably  in spite of his obvious cold, Leo wasn’t wearing his sweater, but instead carried it at his side, balled up. Lissette found that odd and urged him to put it on. He answered, “I will in a minute.” Obviously lost, Leo grabs his cell phone to call his uncle and asks, “where’s this new restaurant, I can’t seem to find it?” He seems to be clear about the location and hangs up the phone, but to Lissette the area felt oddly quiet. It was dark, no restaurants close by, and suddenly she felt confused by the entire ambiance. Abruptly, Leo approaches a man guarding the dark and quiet entrance of a richly cultural and large bullring (La Plaza de Toros). He tells the man, “I am here for the event.” 

Lissette is now very confused. The man leads them towards the entrance of the bullring. Like all stadiums, Lissette can only see the round corridor that surrounds the real entrance to the center of the ring. As she focuses her eyes closer on the dark corridor, a beautifully lit stream of candles illuminates their path. Just then, Lissette’s heart pounds, as her entire body shivers with chills. She isn’t headed to a new restaurant for dinner. Could it be? Is tonight the engagement she excitedly awaits? Is tonight the evening she has always dreamed of?

Hundreds of candles continue to eliminate their path as they're led down a long curved corridor. They arrive at the grand entrance where bulls enter the arena in preparation for battle. In the darkness of that moment, two grand doors unexpectedly open and she comes face to face with the center of the ring like a brave bullfighter preparing for victory. Like a bullfighter, the grandness of the arena takes her breath away. She walks almost as though she’s floating. Quickly her mind and her heart process all the beauty that surrounds her, every detail, ALL OF THE LOVE Leonardo has for his darling Lissette.

She notices the countless floral arrangements, many of them perfuming the elaborate table for two, set-up exactly in the center of the arena, their private arena filled with hundreds of orchids for the evening. Every detail coordinated to perfection from the flowers on their table, to the place settings and champagne. A guitarist strumming along, a personal chef quietly working on his culinary masterpieces, even perfectly placed spotlights were stationed to shed light on every aspect of this terribly romantic scene; the scene were they first met almost a decade ago (May 6th 2001). It was at this very arena where Leo first met Lissette and where their international love story began.

As Lissette looked around at the enormity of the plaza like a tourist visiting the roman coliseum, she noticed thousands of candles eliminating thousands of empty seats; seats that would bare witness to such a beautiful evening for two. A permanent smile came over Lissette’s face and she gazed over at Leo, partly in disbelief and partly overwhelmed by an uncontrollable sense of gratitude. This was the man the Lord had given to her and here he was giving her grandeur, exactly what a woman like Lissette deserves – extravagant, heart-felt grandeur. There he was showering her with the gifts of TRUE LOVE!

Dinner began with one of multiple courses. They feasted on tuna tartar, goat cheese croquettes with orange marmalade, coconut shrimp with tamarind glaze, on and on elegant dishes bombarded their table. After all, it was Ash Wednesday, so seafood-inspired five-star dinning made perfect sense. Her taste buds were on overload, much like her eyes that basked on the sites and her ears that listened to the beautiful guitar melodies. One song in particular, was one of their favorites: Coincidir by Nacho Hinojsa, with lines loosely translated into, “So many centuries, so many worlds, so much space and we coincide.”

The words to this song overwhelmed her as everything else had. She fought back tears the entire evening, but when Leo asked for this song to be played, it was magic. As the song began, he began reading a letter to the love of his life. He mentions in the letter that much like the bull that meets his match, he finally met his in this very place, in this very spot of the world, where they came to coincide. He describes how their love story came to be. It’s a moment these words will not fully capture, but his words like these, are about one thing: real & true love.

He read to her words filled with romance, with hope and with passion. He read to her and suddenly he read no more. He was down on one knee, with the moon as their witness, he gazed at her with admiration. She would be his forever once he asked what he so longed to ask, “te casas conmigo coraz√≥n?” As tears gushed down her cheeks, she obviously said, “YES, YES OF COURSE.” She gushed at the sight of the large radiant cut flawless diamond now positioned on her finger. The perfect ring Leo had hidden in his balled-up sweater was finally in its rightful place. This ring would become Lissette's addiction, if addictions involved staring at a diamond for hours at a time.

This was her moment, this would be the story of her engagement and friends would finally say to her what she said to those who became engaged, “that’s fabuuuuulous.” Joy overtook her, it enveloped her, and she was to be married. She would marry her prince.

She was processing these thoughts and couldn’t fight it. She couldn’t deny the small place in her heart that ached. She also couldn’t keep this sensation in. She suddenly said to Leo, “I wish I could share this with my parents.” In Spanish her words were, “me hacen falta” which very loosely meant, “something was missing.” Leo looked deeply into her eyes and said, “they’re here, they’ve always been here, they’re here now” and just then he unveiled a gorgeously framed photograph of her parents and placed it at their table.

He had thought of everything. That is love. That is what it is to coincide. Lissette was left breathless, as her parents joined them for the night, from their home miles and miles away in heaven. The man of her dreams knew her well enough to know that this simple detail would trump the elaborate wedding planner that was at the bullring setting up hours before, the men who came in to compress the dirt of the arena to avoid dust, and even the fact that the arena was never used for private events and this would be a first. Those details though magnificent, wouldn’t be as fulfilling as the moment in which Lissette, now joined by the symbolism of her parents, finally felt her engagement was complete and that she would be able to share it with the parents she so missed and so loves!

The tears were abundant, the romance uncontrollable, and every last detail mapped out. They feasted on a medley of gourmet desserts and shared such loving embraces. Leo excitedly opened a bottle of Moet & Chandon and there under the moonlight they shared a champagne toast. They toasted to their love and to the moment where they began what would surely be a journey of common dreams and lifelong passion. And this would be the story of how Leonardo Rabago Gonzalez asked Aurora Lissette Padilla to marry him!

From a fairy tale proposal to a fairy tale wedding.

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