Peter’s Promise to Buy the Engagement Ring
Calgary, June 7th
My dear Biene,
… I would like to respond right away to your most recent letter, to which you must be eagerly awaiting a reply. I would love to write your parents immediately. But quite frankly you have put me into some kind of moral dilemma. What will they think of me when they find out that we arranged our engagement behind their backs? I would have liked to write them a letter, but I cannot do so. I have nothing reassuring to offer, because as you know I am as poor as a church mouse. Perhaps they are like most people of the opinion that we should not build ourr life on such a shaky foundation.
In spite of all this, I do not want to take away from you the joy and also the feeling of protection, which comes with wearing the ring. However, when you receive it in the very near future, I for my part will have no ring to wear. When you think about all this, you will notice that we have indeed chosen a convoluted path. But I will ignore such opposing considerations; for I, dear Biene, understand your wish. You just need to be a little patient. You must wait until I receive my first pay next Friday. Then I will take the Saturday off, walk down to the jeweler’s in downtown Calgary and order the ring for you.
Happy Pentecost to you and your family!
Velbert, June 11th
My dear Peter,
Again so much new information from you! Oh, I can hardly keep up! How happy am I that all is well and you have work! Even if it is hard, you are at least more content than if you still had nothing. In my mind I see you come home totally exhausted from the unaccustomed work and then I want to be really nice to you so that you can regain your strength.
Now to your letter! You are so kind that you wanted to grant my wish so quickly. In the meantime you received my letter; for just like you I had similar concerns and I am sorry that I put you into such an inner turmoil. Without thinking I had let the desire to have a ring overwhelm me. But now I would like to wait so that everything will be going on the right track. It will be all the more enjoyable when we choose our rings together. Don’t you also feel so happy when you think about it?
… Dear Peter, if you cannot write from now on as often as before, I will understand. Rather take the time you have in the evening hours to relax and get acquainted with your new environment in Calgary …
Dear Peter, you will now also think of the past year, when we both were so excited to meet again. In my excitement I felt like being paralyzed and remained seated on the bench and did not dare to go and meet you at the platform of the train station. But when you came and were all smiles, my inner tension quickly faded away and I felt light-hearted and all at ease. How grateful I was then to you! Aren’t we two rather strange people?
… Now Peter, with all my heart I hope that you are doing well and no longer are plagued by somber thoughts.
Be kissed a thousand times,
The incredible journey of Biene’s engagement ring begins with this letter …
Calgary, June 17th
My dear Biene,
A most peculiar blend of anger and joy must be brewing within you, when you discover the ring in the envelope. But I hope that your joy will win the upper hand. Dear Biene, I must explain to you why I did it. With each letter I feel how much our souls are intertwined. Sometimes I come across a line in your letters and notice with great surprise that what you wrote me I had felt just a few days before myself. And the manner, in which you responded to my often confusing letters sometimes with hurt feelings at first and then still see it in the best possible light, tells me that you are like me and I am like you. With this insight I took the liberty to decide as to whether your first wish was stronger than the second. You thought you had to forgo the ring for so many reasons, just as I occupied myself with them long and hard. Dear Biene, we two are still a little bit insecure. The reason for it is not our love, but much more likely our peculiar nature. That’s why, I think, you were suddenly afraid I could react in some unexpected way to your wish and you retracted it to prevent some imaginary catastrophe, which frightened your heart. Because, dear Biene, your fear was unfounded, I could see no reason any more for not buying you the ring. Wasn’t I a little bit right and are you now a little bit less angry with me? If I should be mistaken, I ask you not to disdain my gift; for I truly believe that you have a right to wear it. You know what I thought when you took back your wish so quickly? Whether you like or not, now you will get the ring anyway! So with no further ado I took the bus to downtown Calgary and ordered it at a jeweler’s store. I used the ring from your grandmother Gertrud to serve as a template for size.
O how dark is the world without you, how bright would it be, if you were here!