We approached The River Cafe with trepidation. “Shhhh,” I told Craig. “They could be outside.”
“They won’t hear us,” he said. “You’re being ridiculous.”
Was I? You see my parents arrived at The River Cafe at 8 pm with Michael, my brother, and his girlfriend Tali in the same car. The plan was that Michael would take Tali for a walk and Craig and I would arrive at 8:30 to find that either (a) my brother was engaged or (b) Tali ran away in tears and Michael had jumped into the river.
Or (c) it hadn’t happened yet. What if he was taking his time? And what if we were walking right into the most romantic moment of their lives?
“Just keep your voice down,” I said sternly. “We don’t want them to hear us.”
Alas, my fears were for naught. We walked into the restaurant, checked our coats at the coat check, and by the time we hit the bar my mom was smiling cheek to cheek screaming into a telephone, Michael was on his phone, dad was downing his drink and Tali was talking to her parents, a sparkly ring on her finger.
Michael saw us and said with great pride: “She went for it.”
“Congratulations!” we yelled and hugs and cheers ensued. Then, of course, 8,000 more phonecalls commenced while Craig and I each sloshed down a gin and tonic.
“Who’s she calling now?” I asked my dad.
“Remember our neighbors from 1986?” he answered. “Oh and her manicurist.”
Engagement is a funny thing. At first it’s a very intimate, romantic thing that happens between two people. Then, suddenly, it’s HOT NEWS to be broadcast around the world.
“Hey,” I finally interjected. “We’re here NOW, can we maybe celebrate now and then you can call everyone later?”
My speech had no immediate effect. Eventually, though, my brother told me how he’d done it. They’d gone outside on the little balcony next to the bar that overlooks the East River and, in the freezing night air, he told Tali that he had an important question to ask her. [The picture you see at the top of the post was posed later.]
“I sort of knew it was coming,” Tali confessed. “I patted him down the first day we got to New York because I thought he was going to propose during our walk in Central Park.”
Michael and Tali, in case you don’t know, have been dating for a few years. You probably remember Tali from my Thanksgiving posts (Thanksgiving 1, Thanksgiving 2). They live together in Boca Raton and flew to New York to celebrate my parents 34th Anniversary–a celebration that’d lead to an anniversary of their own.
When we finally sat down at the table to eat, we were starved. The restaurant rather generously sent over a bottle of champagne (a rose that was rather nice, actually) and once we toasted and drank some more, we ordered our food.
My appetizer was a nice tuna dish, stuffed with foie gras:
My entree was beautifully cooked venison, served with spaetzle–a fried doughy substance that helped soak up the rich and fruity sauce:
In case you don’t know, The River Cafe is most revered not for its food but for its view. You can’t really see here, but it sits underneath The Brooklyn Bridge and overlooks all of Manhattan which sparkles into your dinner plate.
Craig had cheese for dessert:
While mom had a chocolate Brooklyn Bridge, which you can sort of see in this picture:
At the end of the night we were all dizzy with excitement and drink–this was the most giddy I’ve ever seen my family–and as Michael and Tali got into the car with mom and dad, it was just one of those rare feelings you feel at a big family event. We were commemorating a milestone in the marriage of my parents but, more importantly, we were celebrating the engagement of two very sweet kids who are sure to have a very happy life together. I still think of Michael as my little brother, trailing me around the house as I played my plastic pink guitar and sang songs I made up out of my head, but now he’s ready to embark on the next big stage of his life and he’s sure to make a wonderful husband. As for Tali, I couldn’t think of a sweeter, more sincere sister-in-law. We’re so lucky Michael found her.
So let this post be another toast to them both, to my parents, and to the River Cafe for a truly memorable night. Thank God she said yes.