The Engagement. Part 1.
These next few blogs are going to have a common theme as I try to make sense and put into context what happened over the weekend.
Because on Friday night, Jaimie and I got engaged. Engaged! Holy shit it feels so strange to see it typed out in front of me. Since we live together it’s easy to make it seem like getting engaged is not that big a deal. But it is. It’s huge! It means I now have to learn the difference between fiancé and fiancee.
This is a massive life event! Because words mean things. As a writer that’s one thing I should know for sure. There’s a difference between Girlfriend and Fiancé. Or Finacee, I really don’t know. It’s deeper. There’s more at stake. Our fates are now intertwined in a way they weren’t just a few short days ago.
I broke the news to a group of friends on Saturday morning, and the first thing they said was, “About time!”
Not, “I’m so happy for you!”
But, “About time.”
I tried to think of a cleaver rebuttal but I couldn’t.
They were right.
I’ve known I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her for a while. Even though I hate that phrase- the rest of my life. It gives marriage an end date. Makes it sound like something to be endured. With Jaimie, there’s nothing to be endured. Well that’s not true. She did make me listen to Taylor Swift’s new album several times over the weekend, and that was borderline brutal. Talk about “til death do us part.” Amirite? High five? Anyone? Anyone?
It’s not that I want to spend the rest of my life with her, I just want to spend every day with her. I’ll take as many days as I can get.
I wish I could write a blog about the moment I knew I wanted to marry her. I don’t know if there is one. Maybe it was sitting in our first apartment in Atlanta, putting together $2,000 worth of IKEA furniture. It took us over a week to finish and I swear that my hands are still sore.
Perhaps it was when they told me I had cancer and she didn’t run screaming for the door.
It could have been back in 2015 when she told me she loved me for the first time. It was early in the morning and I was dropping her off at her apartment to get ready for work. Before she got out of my Mercury Sable Sport Wagon she looked at me and said, “I love you. You don’t need to say it back, but I’ve almost said it a few times and I don’t want it to come out on accident.” I sat there stunned as she closed the door to my car and walked into her apartment. I was blown away. What the hell was that? Confidence? Chutzpah? Or just someone who knew what they felt and weren’t afraid of the consequences?
Maybe it was the first time we kissed. No, that was too early in the process. But the second it was over, I knew it something I wanted to do again as soon as humanly possible.
Maybe it was that bright summer night on the Isle of Palms when she sat leaning against my chest. The tide was low and people were walking all around us. A cheesy beach band played from a restaurant behind us and there we were, surrounded my life, yet the only two people in the world.
Or it could have been that first Thanksgiving we spent together. Her roommate was out of town, and we holed up in her apartment with leftovers from our respective families. It’s where I learned that Jaimie loves nothing more than to watch TV with a Tupperware full of turkey. And it’s where I learned that I loved nothing more than her.
Maybe it was the day she forced me to take her to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. Or the trip to Chicago. Or Game 7 of the 2016 World Series when she called me at the bar to yell at me to come home so she wouldn’t have to watch the game without me. It could have been the first picnic we had in Hampton Park- with the New York Times and homemade potato pancakes. Or our first trip to Greenville- sitting in Falls Park looking at the duck with the man bun. Or perhaps the first trip to Florida- when she took off her pants to put on her bathing suit and glitter fell out of her pocket all over our bed. She laughed as I marveled at this magical creature in front of me.
I could have been running to the outdoor hot tub at the Brasstown Valley Resort. It was 15 degrees outside, and the only thing out of the steaming hot water were our faces, icicles instantly forming on my beard.
Or it could have been one random Sunday morning, making pancakes and bringing her tea in bed. Or the adorable way she sits on the couch. Or watching her play Juliet in the park. Or the fact that she puts way too much salt on her popcorn at the movies. Or how she puts her head on my chest. Or how she reminds to relax and take it easy. It could have been any of the millions of moments from this life we’ve built out of the remnants of previous lives, this firm ground she provides underneath the ever shifting sands.
The truth is there wasn’t one moment when I knew.
Because it was all of them.