The other day, over martinis and conversation with friends, something was said that sparked an old memory. Brought from the recesses of my brain a story I’d long since forgotten.
A story that, had I said “yes,” would have changed my life drastically…putting me in a far different place than I’m in today.
I was twenty-one. Working at a golf resort that saw a number of wealthy people through its doors. I’d taken a year off school and was entirely happy with my “new-found career.” There were dinners. Cocktail parties. Staff meetings and luncheons in downtown hotels and all the new “hot spots.”
It was a pretty exciting time for a young, impressionable woman.
One afternoon, I received a call from the secretary of a gentlemen from “corporate.” He wanted to meet with me. Privately. Dinner and a confidential discussion.
I was beyond intrigued! Being completely naive and thinking I was getting a promotion…I agreed to the meal.
At The Clipper Cay restaurant overlooking the Halifax Harbour…over a glass of wine and a meal he’d ordered for me…sending the waitress away without so much as allowing me to glance at the menu…he laid out his plan.
Should I agree, I would have a condo. A monthly allowance and the car of my choice. I could return to university if I chose as agreeing to his proposal, would mean I’d no longer work for the company.
His plan was to visit a few times per year…longer in the Summer when he’d bring his young son as a “break for his wife.” On occasion, he would have me visit him in Toronto. Possibly join him on business trips. See the world.
From across the table he passed me a flat velvet box a-la “Pretty Woman” (except I wasn’t quite like Julia Roberts…and he…well…let’s just say he was NOTHING EVEN CLOSE to Richard Gere!)
I opened the most exquisite emerald and diamond necklace I’d ever seen.
Shocked. Taken off guard. I sat there…no longer interested in my wine…as he told me things no man had ever said before….or probably since. He was oddly respectful with his “business deal.” He would be returning to Toronto the following morning but I didn’t need to rush my decision. He would be in touch…and I was to keep the jewellery, as a token of his admiration.
He paid the bill, led me out of the restaurant and into a waiting limo, placed a kiss on my cheek before saying his good-byes and closing the door.
I thought about it.
I thought of the parties I’d have in my downtown condo. The car I would buy. I thought of the travel. How exciting my life could be.
I tried on the necklace…amazed how the jewels felt against my skin. How exquisite they looked as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror in my parent’s home.
I called my girlfriend and we discussed the proposal at length on a night that I never slept.
In the morning, I drove to the airport and turned him down…insisting he take back the jewellery that I never would wear.
The other day, as I remembered details of the story, as I racked my mind to remember his name then finally recalled it…I looked him up. Still wealthy. Respected in his industry. Older than me by a good twenty years…for a moment…I wondered how different my life could have been.
There were many reasons I turned him down. I was freaked out. I didn’t find him attractive. I wanted to fall in love. I couldn’t imagine explaining to my parents this new “situation”…my new condo and car! I didn’t trust him…didn’t really know him…didn’t like how I was being treated and was absolutely terrified at the idea of being a “kept woman.”
But let’s be honest…given the same proposal today…I’d probably accept it all! 🙂
But mostly, I’d have definitely kept the jewels!
Loved “But for one small word…”. I so enjoy your writing xoxoxo
Thank you Aunt Maureen!!! xoxo
Wow this is an incredible story.
Isn’t that something! Man…the stuff we go through as kids and then realize as adults how weird and difficult it was!