The month was July. The time of day, evening. Sunset, to be more specific. The question was simple. Requiring a yes or no answer. So as simple as it gets. The man asking was someone who was both a relative stranger and also someone I didn’t want to imagine my life with out. One of the ‘good ones’, by almost all accounts. Shock is the only emotion I can accurately recall. I was shocked.
I’d just never imagined anyone actually wanting to ask. Marital bliss was one of the life fantasies I had thought I’d opted out of when I set out on my own toward artistic pursuits well over ten years ago. That, along with finacial security and a perfect figure, were pipe dreams at best. It felt only reasonable to let go of the unrealistic expectations the outside world was placing on top of my otherwise lovely existence. Happily single felt like a wonderfully modern compromise. It certainly beat out unhappily married, as far as options go. Married always seemed too dangerously close to that fate. So dangerously close infact, that I believed the whole inevitable mess should be avoided completley.
The scenes that followed after can only be categorized as strange or surreal. Almost out-of-body. I was now wearing a beautiful purple saphire engagement ring. I was sitting a paddle boat waving at my future in-laws who had watched from the dock. I was both myself and somehow not myself. Someone I barely knew, had made a huge effort to tell me I really mattered to him. I couldn’t shake the awe of that.
So, after crying the ugliest cry ever, in this boat, in the middle of a pond, I had promised to spend the rest of my life as part of something. A quantifiable unit with social, societal and historic implications. In that strange moment I pledged to be beholden. Beholden, in a very traditional way, to the happiness of not just myself, but another person.
I intially answered with a question, “Are you sure?” I said.
I wanted an answer. Look, I know he’d gotten a ring. Hidden it from me. Packed it without my knowing it. Been carrying it in his pocket all through dinner. Planned this whole romantic moment. Which means, he’d been thinking about it, of course he had. Given it a significant amount of thought. This was just the first that I was hearing about it. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t unwittingly allowing him to make a huge mistake. See?
Stop. Are you really sure that I am the person you want to trust with this kind of responsibility. Me? This girl, sitting right here? But, I’m nowhere near any ideal. Case and point, that’s my first thought as you are purposing marraige. Don’t you want to hold out for someone, I don’t know, a little less flawed?
“Yes,” He said. To my simple question, not all the crazy wrapped up in it. I saw his earnestness and decided I wasn’t going to argue with him. After all, he’d gone to all this trouble.
Perhaps I should back up. Start in a more beginning part of the story. My disinterset in marraige didn’t begin in that moment on that lake. But the necessity to explore where it did start, certainly did.
Categories: Unbecoming a Bride