She had just finished a long day at work; he invited her to take a first peek at his Exhibition. 

Lisa wondered why he asked her to come all the way to East London that Thursday night to view artwork she had already seen before. She was exhausted and asked why she could not visit the gallery on Friday afternoon ahead of its Vernissage. But Lukas expressed his excitement about his upcoming debut art show and could not wait to get her opinion about his set-up. Unbeknownst to her, he had planned to reveal a yet unseen and very special painting to her. During their walk through Brick Lane towards the gallery, he tried very hard not to show his nervousness.

The Secret Painting

For the last few years, Lukas has painted at home in their living room and secretly worked on this particular piece whenever his better half was not home. He also painted on days when Lisa slept in the next room between her nightshifts. One day, he was almost caught out when she burst into the room unexpectedly to grab a glass of water. Lukas immediately hid the painting behind a couple of artworks leaning against a wall. Luckily, she was still too drowsy and did not suspect anything untoward. That was a close call.

As they arrived at the gallery, Lukas proceeded to unlock the heavy doors. But first, he asked her to put on a blindfold. She simply put it down to his wish to heighten the suspense before revealing the arrangement of his artwork. He then led Lisa to the painting he wished to reveal to her, and requested she remain standing in that spot with her
blindfold on. It was also covered with a white cloth. He proceeded to quickly change his leather jacket with a blazer. During their walk from the station to the gallery, he had been covered up not to arouse Lisa’s suspicions by wearing a summer blazer on a rainy night. He then set up the camera to record this unforgettable moment. He then placed himself behind her holding a cord linked to the cloth covering the painting. His other hand reached for the ring in his blazer’s pocket. Lukas then asked Lisa to take her blind fold off.

The Unveil

He had practiced for this important moment multiple times to ensure that he could pull the cloth off the painting smoothly like a curtain. However, when the heat was on, it did not quite work. He was too nervous and pulled the cord too hard so that the knot slid off the cloth, leaving the cover remaining on the painting. He quickly ran to the painting and lifted the cloth by hand. That was the first time Lisa was able to see the result of 8 months worth of hard work. 

Initially, she was merely surprised that he made such a fuss about another self-portrait. Then she saw a pug, her favourite dog, gazing at her adoringly from the canvas. She also discovered her favourite flowers, calla lilies on the left. There were hibiscus flowers that reminded her of their beautiful time together in Hawaii. She was not aware that these beautiful flowers also symbolise a perfect wife. As her eyes started to wander around the gallery, she realised that Lukas was kneeling down behind her.

This is when she saw it. Like the real life version, his portrait did not only wear the same blazer, but was also depicted on one knee and holding a ring box. When he popped the question, she jumped with joy and replied: “Yes!”. While both smiled brightly, he put the ring on her finger and after a long hug, Lukas opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate their engagement. 

Vernissage AKA Engagement Party

Lisa and Lukas decided to keep quiet until the next day to surprise their Vernissage visitors with this wonderful news. After a short speech on Friday, he unveiled the painting named “Will you…?” again. This time, the curtain method worked smoothly. While a handful of friends already knew, most guests were surprised that the exhibition they had expected to attend suddenly turned into an engagement party. People complimented on the creative proposal, congratulated the freshly engaged couple but most importantly, celebrated the original and very creative engagement with them.