A Big Gold Flag (#21)



I was a fan of football, not marriage (Post #6). After I returned home from dancing with my Chinese-American boyfriend Andy on a Thursday night, I found a fancy golden envelope inside my dance bag. (All dance nerds have a bag, complete with Cuban heels and a wire brush.) My heart rate shot up. My palms grew sweaty, my vision tunneled, and I couldn’t breathe. You know, basic panic attack.

Andy is not a fancy guy. Shiny is not his style. Neither are handwritten notes. It was like a giant red gold flag.

When my vision came back, I opened the envelope. Inside, Andy had written a sweet note about how busy we had been and how we needed a weekend away. Pack a bag, it said. Bring nice clothes. And a swimsuit. There were instructions to meet him at an address in South Pasadena the following evening.   I breathed. Just a weekend away. No biggie.

I called my friend M the next evening after work and told her about the envelope. She commenced shrieking: “Ohmygodohmygod, he’s gonna propose!” M’s parents were together and massively in love until her dad died. She had a Disneyfied view of marriage.

My pulse went through the roof again.   I snarled, “No, he’s not!”

“Oh. Then why are you calling me?”

“If I give you the address, will you tell me what building is there?”


“I need to know exactly what he means by nice clothes.”

“Why can’t you look it up yourself? Are you…scared that it’s a romantic place?”

“Hate you.”

M gloated some more. “A place where a guy might, I don’t know…propose?”

“You were wrong last time.” (Post #12)

“What’s the address?”   I told her. I heard keys taping. Then a gasp. “Oh. Wear a dress tonight. And also…” M paused.


She screamed, “He’s gonna propose!” And hung up.

I dumped the cats out of my carry-on, filled it with appropriate attire, and put on a dress. And drove to South Pasadena.

The address was on a road just off the freeway. I drove a mile. It got narrower. Drove another mile. Trees loomed over the road, dark and foreboding. There weren’t many houses. Maybe, I thought optimistically, Andy just wanted a place to dump my body.   (FYI, I wasn’t worried. I grew up with seven siblings. No better training for nasty, close-quarters fighting.)

Alas! The road ended in a blaze of light, fancy arches, and men in livery. Livery Guy #1 stepped up smartly to my little civic and opened the door.

“Welcome to the SUPER FANCY HOTEL, madam!”

I showed him my golden stationery. “Am I at this address?”

“You are, madam!”

I sighed. “Valet parking only?”

“Yes, madam!”

I climbed out of the car. “Sorry it smells like cat pee. We tried.” (Post #20)

After wresting my carry-on from the zealous bellhop, I went to the front desk, where a smooth-as-silk concierge ominously informed me that, “we’ve been waiting for you, Miss Ashbough.” He handed me a room key. I gulped, took the key, and bravely trudged off to my doom room.


(This would have been longer if I hadn’t found a bolt stuck in my tire this morning.  Picture might also have been less preschool.  Promise to finish it while I am stuck for two hours at service center with crap Wifi.  Part II tomorrow.)

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Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

11 thoughts on “A Big Gold Flag (#21)”

  1. Ominous. Trying to remember what I invited PSCS to that she told me, “if you propose, I’m breaking up with you,” to which I replied, “No! No, oh God no! That would be awful! Never in a million years.”

    (I don’t remember, but I think it involved my family, and I was absolutely telling the truth that I had no intention of proposing.)

  2. It wasn’t a big occasion. We were just visiting my family and one of my cousins was supposed to be around near that weekend, and somehow, someone put it in PSCS’s head that I might want to propose that weekend, possibly because I’d picked up the ring around that time. I recoiled almost has hard as she did.

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