Truth be told, Christian and I vowed from day one that we would never get married. It was a pact we made, like a secret handshake or club. We’d even high five each other after we confessed to someone “We’re never getting married!” Weird? Maybe. But we got it. We’d both previously been married and there was no way we were going to do that to each other. Those chapters we’d each had, while separate, they were also so very similar – ending in so much pain and tough lessons learned. And, for me at least, a for sure bitterness and toughened heart. It was fine if someone else believed so strongly in marriage but I was for certain it was not for me, and there wasn’t anyone who would ever convince me otherwise. (Mm-hmm.) 😉
I’d had it in my head that we’d just do the whole Goldie Hawn + Kurt Russell thing and live happily ever after “doing our thing” and not being husband and wife and just be some hippie couple. (Not that not getting married makes you a hippie… I think that might have been a separate dream of mine.) We both knew what we meant to each other, and that was enough…
… until one New Year’s Eve. We were at one of our favorite pizza parlors downtown, sitting across from each other and holding hands over the table. I’d had that crazy look in my eye and he smiled and asked, “What?” And that’s when I told him. “You know what I think? I think we should get married.”
He just looked at me, with the biggest smile on his face. “You DO?!!!?” Clearly, he was in shock. But at the same time- it was like he’d been waiting for me to tell him I wanted out of the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell hippie club… because he’d secretly been wanting out too. “Yeah, I do” I said, smiling, wanting to just stand up from the table and freaking run all over the restaurant and jump up and down. “Me too!!” he said. And I’d known this. It was like all of a sudden, all of the reasons I’d held so tightly to – all of the reasons for not getting married, didn’t fit anymore. All of the promises I’d made to myself, to “protect” myself from hurt and this horrible, horrible thing I’d known as “marriage” – it just didn’t make sense anymore. This man, who had quickly become my best friend, I wanted everything with him. And that girl I used to be, long ago, before I’d become bitter and jaded, back when I still believed so strongly in love and in marriage – that girl had been called back to the present with a fierce truth.
That spring, Christian invited me to breakfast with him. He met me at my apartment and we took the train to Grand Lux on Mag Mile. As we sat there, eating beignets and drinking mimosas, he said, “So. I was thinking after breakfast we might walk up and down Jewelers Row/Diamond District. It’ll be fun, you know, to just look together.” Is he serious?? This is like the best date ever. Donuts, champagne and then diamonds? Can every day be like this? “Okay,” is all I said, with a huge smile on my face.
Fast forward just a few months. Christian asked me out on a dinner date to one of our favorite restaurants. There was really nothing out of the ordinary here… we’d go on dates all the time. But it was different now… because I knew the proposal was coming 🙂 My friend had said to me at work that day, “He’s going to propose. He’s going to do it tonight. Go get a manicure.” This dear friend had a knack for always being right with these things. So I went and got a manicure on my lunch break. And that night, while on our date, I couldn’t even tell you what we talked about I was so distracted and excited. It occurred to me halfway through- I wasn’t even allowing myself to enjoy this time with him because I was so anticipating what I thought was surely coming. I’d been staring at the pocket in his shirt, looking so hard to see if I could see the outline of a ring and then telling myself he wouldn’t put in there, ya dummy. It’s probably in his pants pocket! and then a few minutes later he got up to go to the bathroom and I stared at his pants pockets as he walked away, thinking I don’t see anything! Where would he have put it?! I was clearly a crazy person and immediately reminded myself to knock it off – to enjoy this date for exactly what it was- time with him. So when he came back to the table, I made sure I was present for all of our conversations. I even ordered another glass of wine. We were taking our time and I was going to enjoy myself with him on this date, proposal or not.
We had the best time at dinner and, before I knew it, we were headed back to his place, skipping down the street, being goofy together as usual. This was totally normal, going back to his place after dinner. We’d always share a Whole Foods cupcake together and listen to records after dates. He’d mentioned on the way home that he already had a cupcake for us to share, so when we walked in I sat down on his couch and thought nothing of it as he lit some candles and put a record on. I heard him making a bunch of noise with the silverware and looked up and smiled just as he walked back into the room, holding a plate with our cupcake. He placed the plate on the ottoman… and then got down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen, and asked me to spend forever with him. Words and hugs exchanged, happy tears cried, I said YES and then did what any newly engaged gal would do…
I ran to the bathroom to take a selfie to text to my mom – red face, blurry, bathroom tile wall and all!
It was one of the best nights of my life. And as if God hadn’t completely blessed me with this night, as Christian was taking me home later on, can you guess what just HAPPENED to start playing on the Pandora radio station? Michael Bolton, Steel Bars (my favorite MB song). So obviously we blasted it while driving down Lake Shore Drive, windows down, my hair whipping in the wind, and I’m pretty sure I started crying again. When we pulled up to my apartment building, it started to downpour. So, we did what any newly engaged couple would do- we ran out there and kissed in the rain. Happiness.
Funny how things can change, once you loosen your grip and say no to fear. I’d found this person – or he’d found me – this man I loved so much and wanted to experience everything with. What a gift I’d been given, when I was so sure it was a gift I didn’t need, and at times had convinced myself it was a gift I didn’t deserve. The fact that God gifted it to me anyway? I wanted to show Him, along with family and friends that I was so, so thankful. I wanted to experience life with him, have more adventures together – even if the adventure was simply skipping down Madison Street, sharing a chocolate cupcake, and kissing in the rain.
Check back next Thursday for Part Three:
Cross Country Move.
Need to catch up on this story? Part One: We met in an alley