Mrs. Linklater got to thinking about Tom Cruise's proposal to Katie Holmes on top of the Eiffel Tower the other night. Movie stars have a way of pre-empting all the good spots don't they? That got her to start reflecting on proposals she's received. Well, the ones she can talk about.
Probably the most interesting proposal -- of marriage -- occurred in a motor vehicle on the way to a Bears' game many years ago.
She was with a good friend she'd dated on and off for awhile. They'd met the old fashioned way -- in a bar. He thought she looked like Cher. [Remember this was awhile ago] She thought he just looked hot. Plus he was very athletic.
He was a teacher by profession. But his lifestyle was more vegetarian bodybuilder. Nothing like a big strong guy who lives on salads. A lifelong athlete, he had been all state in football and wrestling. He might have been all state in baseball, too, if he hadn't been benched by his coach for hitting a homerun, instead of bunting. No reason to play for that guy, so he quit.
All this time Mrs. Linklater thought he liked her for her willowy charms and witty mind, but it turns out he was more interested in her stats. Her throw to first. The power of her serve. Her bike speed. The stuff that really matters.
That day, somewhere on the road to Soldier Field, he got quiet and then, out of the blue, he asked, "If I paid you ten thousand dollars, would you have my baby?"
Mrs. Linklater, who normally can chat up a turnip, was momentarily stunned. Have a child for money? Be paid for carrying a baby? This was before surrogates made it possible to earn cash and prizes. She was aghast. But not stupid. So she replied, "Okay, but it would cost you $100,000 and you couldn't have it for a year because I nurse my babies."
Nice recovery Mrs. L.
Actually she thought it was a rhetorical question. No answer required. So she gave a smartass answer, when she probably should have said, "Well, I'd like to be married first."
It wasn't until ten years later that she learned he really had wanted to get married. He just had a funny way of asking. Or not asking.
Mrs. Linklater didn't help matters either. When he said he wasn't kidding -- he really wanted her to have his baby, she said, "I can't have any more kids." She meant that she didn't want to have any more kids. Not that she couldn't actually physically have them. Not that she wasn't willing to discuss it, either, if marriage was on the table.
But none of those words came out of her mouth. Nor did she attempt to explain in any way what she really meant to say. Neither did he. So the subject was closed. Until years later when he called out of the blue and they went to dinner.
"I was really sorry you couldn't have any more children," he said, now married and a father himself.
"What do you mean? I can still have kids," she said.
Silence. And a look on his face Mrs. Linklater will never forget. Like when you bungee jump off a bridge and realize you totally miscalculated the distance.
Trying to help, but knowing she was way too late, Mrs. L said, "Next time if you want to get married, you might want to ask me the regular way."
Woulda, coulda, shoulda.