I have a feeling my fiancée is gonna have a hearty laugh at me when she sees this, say it it’s symptomatic of my tendency to overshare. I admit that I do have that tendency, but what can I do? You don’t light a candle to hide it under your bed. Sometimes, life goes so well you want to shout it from the mountain tops.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, how crazy is that? Fiancée? M and I are finally engaged. This new year we will have been together for four years, and I am brimming with excitement at the idea of spending 2022 planning the beginning of our life together. Bar none, the highlight of my year was that one second after I brought out the ring, and her expression changed to genuine surprise, and the wave of gladness that filled my heart when I was finally sure, so sure, that she was going to say yes.

Let me back it up just a little bit more: I proposed to M on Christmas Eve, after months of preparation. When the year started I had no idea we would be taking this relationship to this milestone now. I always knew I wanted to marry her even during our first kiss on a midnight now frozen in time forever in the aether of my mind. But that moment, until later in the year, remained a sweet promise awaiting us in the hazy future.

Tony Leung and Faye Wong in Chungking Express (1994) dir. Wong Kar-Wai

But things change so fast, you hardly notice the tides shifting at your heels. Next thing I know, in October, I am talking to her parents in private, asking for their blessing and help in getting M’s ring finger measurement without her getting suspicious. Meanwhile my mother is in talks with a jeweler friend of hers in getting the ring made to M’s preference – a list of her likes and dislikes in jewelry collected through various conversations over the years. After many discussions, we finally settled on Christmas Eve as the perfect time for the engagement. Our families will come together for a celebration. We’ll have lechon and home-cooked meals. A bit of wine. And then at the height of the merriment, that deciding moment.

Things have been going so well, I’m almost afraid of losing balance. This year was also the year I finally closed my two-year ordeal with my master’s thesis. I graduated with my master’s degree in August and, following the theme for my 2021, then followed some unexpected moves: I left my position as a quality control statistician with Jollibee Worldwide Services, and started my professorial duties at the University of the Philippines. Right now I am in the process of applying for a doctorate position in a few universities, setting up for this approaching new chapter in my life. A new chapter with her by my side.

If every moment in life came accompanied by a soundtrack, right now would be perfect with that Faye Wong track from Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express. Things are messed up (what with the pandemic coming to another grim outcome) but at least some are looking up. The air is redolent with the smell of flowers blooming. The sky is a light pencilled blue, like it’s never once cried tears. I know it’s a privilege to be feeling this way, to be looking forward to the new year healthy and accompanied with the people I love, but right now I will allow myself the indulgence of being happy.

Published by Dominic Dayta

Dominic Dayta is a statistician and short story writer. His fiction has appeared or are forthcoming in The Brasilia Review, Philippines Graphic, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Liwayway. He lives in the Philippines.

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