Well hello. Are you new here? I'm currently sharing pieces of my memoir every day. You can go here to read from day one.
He proposes twice, and both times I say yes.
The first time comes a few months after he surprises me at school. It’s summer, and the heat from the day radiates off the sidewalk when he gets on one knee and asks the question. Third Day is playing in the background, something about being a shelter when it’s raining. Everything around me moves to a hyper focus, and yet it feels surreal.
I say yes before he can even finish asking the question, but we both know our families aren’t ready for that level of commitment. We decide to keep it our secret. From that point on, I have a fiancé, but everyone else knows him as my boyfriend. Maybe it’s not the smartest move, but it’s the only one we have and that point we’ve been through such hell in previous relationships it doesn’t take long for us to realize oh this is what it’s supposed to be like. We’re in it for the long haul.
The second proposal comes on Christmas day, six months later.
My parents are slowly getting used to the air of finality within my relationship with Russ. I’m acting different. I’m looking to him more than I’m looking to them, and this freaks them out. I totally get it. I’ve always been a rule-follower who wanted nothing more than to please mom and dad. I am the one who breaks a rule and then feels so guilty I confess before even trying to get away with it. I cannot stand them not being in agreement with me. My confidence shakes them, especially after my run-around with the ex. They still don’t know half of what happened, and it’ll stay that way for a while, but for now all they can see is a relationship they thought was a rebound developing a sort of permanence.
I’d be freaking out too.
When Russ asks to ride with my dad when he goes on an errand, I know something is up. He does not voluntarily offer to spend time with either of my parents, knowing the unease he creates. And yet, something in my gut is telling me that everything is about to change, and the next morning he catches my eye across the room and asks me in front of everyone the question I’ve already answered.
I say yes. Again.
Everyone celebrates, and my dad looks at me. I’m resting against Russ in the kitchen, his arm around me. Both of us are quiet. We’ve had six months to get used to the idea that this is forever. I’m already rooted.
“Aren’t you excited?” He asks, leaning against the counter.
I look at him and smile.
“I am. I’m just….it’s hard to wrap my brain around it.” It’s not a lie. I look down at my ring that has only been worn whenever Russ and I were alone. I look back up at Russ and find him staring at me. He leans in and kisses my forehead.
“I love you,” he whispers, and my mind flashes back to the seven year old girl dancing in her mama’s workspace.
You will be my air, and you will be my roots, and falling in love with you will feel like Truth.