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An engaging column

August 21, 2013

I was nervous as Emily and I left our apartment and headed to the Union Square subway stop to catch the Q train up to the Paris Theater. We were headed to the theater under the guise of a test screening for the crime documentary I’ve been editing forever. I had a DVD in my backpack—along with an engagement ring.

The DVD did not have the crime documentary on it but instead had a cute little movie I made about my trip to get said engagement ring. Save for Emily and me, the theater would be empty, and when the seven-minute movie was over I was going to propose.

To be honest, the crime doc would have been more appropriate (albeit dark) than it seems, since Emily’s and my first date was to the movies to see the fairly gruesome documentary “The Cove.” (I still maintain that it was a perfectly reasonable first date, though Emily chides me about it.)

The engagement ring is an heirloom from Emily’s Aunt Mary, which I needed to pick up from her in Cincinnati, OH. I’ve met her a handful of times, and she is an amazing woman. She’s 98 years old but still very with it.

Having already come up with the movie-theater plan, I enlisted a dear friend, Rabi, to help record my journey. We would drive instead of fly to pick up the ring. It would be much more cinematic that way.

Avid readers may remember the joint column written with Rabi, about a road trip with fast food and arguing about writing. (Ten points to those who remember, five points to those who go read it now.) You may remember (or you will learn) that I did not reveal where we were headed or what we were doing.

Well, now you know.

Emily and I walked toward the theater. My mind obviously buzzing elsewhere, and trying my best to look normal and calm, I had run out of things to say. All I could think about was how desperately I wanted to be sitting in the theater.

“When’s the last time you were up at the park?” I hear myself say.

Emily shoots me a look. “I run up here all the time.”

We arrive at the Paris and swing open the heavy door.

“Are you here for the test screening?” the projectionist asks, as directed.

I nod, handing off the DVD.

“Thank you,” the projectionist says, “You can have a seat inside.”

We walk into the theater, empty, as planned.

“Where is everyone?” Emily says.

“I’m not sure. Maybe we are the first ones here.” We sit down as the screen is revealed from behind a curtain and the lights dim.

“What’s going on?” Emily asks.

“Maybe they are just going to test the DVD,” I offer.