Abel sat in front of his therapist, Anne, fiddling with his hands and glaring a hole in the floor. Something was clearly on his mind, and while he was typically a terse and straightforward man, speaking on his emotions and wants connected to them was never comfortable to him. Sipping her tea, Anne eyed him, not passing judgment, just keeping an eye on his body language.
Looking up from the floor, he opened his mouth to speak, and Anne froze in place, still holding her cup to her lips in anticipation, but he sighed and went back to looking at the floor. She looked over to the clock; he’d been here for around thirty minutes. Sighing, she set her cup down, “Abel, you made this appointment, and while I’d love to sit in silence with you all day, I have other patients.”
He looked up at her and gritted his teeth, “Yeah…” he let out, “Alright...I need advice….”
Anne leaned closer, “That’s what I’m here for!” she grinned.
“I..” he said; Anne leaned even closer. “I want…” Anne was nearly off the chair! “I want to, well, propose,” he swallowed, “to Teresa.”
Anne shot up and begun clapping, “Yoooooooo!.”
Giving her a wary look, he rolled his eyes, “Okay, I'm unsure...how's it's done now. Or...if I even should.”
Sitting back down, Anne grabbed her clipboard and clicked her pen, “I can help with both those issues. First, tell me why you don’t think you should. Things seem to be going great with you two, after all.”
Abel stared at her, taking in her confused expression, but he shook his head, “No, it’s not like that. I just want her to be happy...” He scowled, “She just...she just deserves better.”
“She seems more than happy with you,” Anne replied as she started writing. “I know it’s hard for you to believe, but I’ve noticed a genuinely positive change in her demeanor since you two became an item.”
He scratched the back of his neck, staring at her, “How?”
Anne continued scribbling, “She smiles more. She looks you in the eye when she’s talking to you. She tries to spend as much time with you as possible. Do you want me to go on? Have you honestly not noticed these things?”
Looking down, he nodded, “I mean...I noticed, but...I just don’t want to hurt her...”
“You want to propose,” Anne paused, her pen poised over the clipboard, “because you love her, and she has said she feels the same on multiple occasions. When I ask how you two are doing, she lights up,” she set her pen down, “You don’t have to try to be perfect, to be something you’re not, she already thinks very highly of you.”
Abel’s eyes widened, “I don’t want to hurt her,” he muttered.
Anne smiled at him, “There’s nothing you can do to hurt her. If you feel that the only way to go forward is with a proposal, then I’ll help you with that.”
“What?” Anne asked, surprised.
“I don’t want to hurt her,” he said quietly, looking up at her, “But if I’m going to propose, I have to make it as special as she is..”
Anne smiled at him, shaking her head, “No worries, Abel. I’ll make sure it’s perfect.”
Abel looked at her, his eyes wide, “Thank you,” he breathed.
“You’re welcome,” she replied, leaning in close.
She placed a hand on his shoulder, “The most important part is…you have to love her,” she smiled at him, “That’s all there is to it.”
He nodded, looking at her, his eyes softening, “I do.”
“Okay,” Anne clasped her hands together, grinning, “now we can talk about plans!”
Abel gave her a confused look, “Plans?”
“Yeah, like, how do you want to propose, with what, where, stuff like that….”
His eyebrows furrowed, and eyes narrowed, “Wouldn’t I just send, Cain, a cow or something?”
Anne rested her clipboard in her lap, covered her face with her hands, and laughed. “A cow?” she asked, when she’d regained her composure.
“I would have to find one,” he replied, shaking his head, “but you can help with that.”
“Cow,” Anne teased. “I like that.”
He gave her a dirty look, “What?!”
“Okay...we have a lot to talk about, it seems,” she chuckled, “and the first thing you need to know is that’s not how it’s done anymore. You don’t need anyone’s permission to marry her, and you certainly don’t need a dowry.” His confused face almost made Anne cry; he looked like a lost puppy! “She’s right; you are cute,” she remarked through giggles.
“Dammit, women, then what do I do?!” he growled.
Anne smiled, clicking her pen, “Let’s discuss that.”