This post is in response to Hallie's call for engagement stories. You can check them all out on her blog Betty Beguiles
Some of may have already seen the first of these paragraphs as I snatched them from my About Us section. I am sneaky like that, friends! But read on, because the second half is fresh and new.
She was a drama major with a nose-ring. He was a classics major with a racing green Karmann Ghia. She complimented him on his car. He blew her off because she was stupid and obnoxious. Obviously he was stuck-up and unfunny. And so it was that for the entirety of freshman year, and the first semester of sophomore year at the University of Dallas, they harbored a mild disdain for one another which sometimes progressed to complete indifference but never improved past basic human civility.
Providentially (as all marriages begin), they both chose the same semester to study abroad at the University's campus in Rome . At the very beginning of the semester she got sick, slept for 13 hours straight, and fell behind on her school work. "If I sit at a table with my friends" she thought upon entering the study lounge "I will certainly get wrapped up in some amazingly exciting, totally unimportant conversation and will get no school work done whatsoever" (because in the About Us section, she thinks and speaks in the floweriest manner possible). So she decided to sit at that table, over there, with the boy who didn't talk much (that's you Damien, if you ever read this) and the boy who didn't like her, because certainly this would result in almost no chatter whatsoever. But the boy who didn't like her, whose name is Tommy, was working on the same project as she was, and he made a joke. A joke that was funny.
From that precise moment on, we were practically inseparable. Aside from sleeping, which we did very little of because that would mean time spent apart, we did everything together. Went to class. Ate our meals. Traveled across Europe. Built blanket forts. Walked to that tiny grocery store and bought bottles of wine and then drank them. By ourselves. That was not smart. I'm sure my roommates and his and every other poor soul who had to witness to our ridiculous courtship can attest to all these facts.
And we were not merely an unexpected couple. Oh no, we were an impossible couple. As in, so apparently different that folks were sure it was some kind of elaborate practical joke. As in people (person) who did not know me AT ALL were warning him that dating me was about the worst idea a man could have. Incidentally, that warning thing made me sad, and then Tommy had to have a "talk" with "people" and in so doing revealed a side to them that they had not imagined existed. And then I think "we" started making more sense.
People were even taking bets as to how many short weeks our silly tryst would last. Or so I heard. Not who it was, but that they were. I laughed. Have I mentioned I like a challenge? Well speaking of challenges, we're coming up on 600 weeks soon. I wonder if any of the bettors read this blog. I wonder if any of them guessed "over 600 weeks". If so, I hope he or she can still collect their winnings!
So one day in Athens, after participating in the eat-a-gyro-at-every-stand-you-see challenge and realizing that I, although my appetite is voracious for a woman of my stature, was no match for the hungry boys with whom I was competing (have you heard about my thing with challenges?), we disappeared together as we were wont to do. And somewhere I have a written journal where I wrote down the facts, but I am in the kitchen and it is not, so I will tell you a fact-free version, sans journal.
I am there yammering and he is there listening, and I think I was feeling misunderstood, not by him, but the world. Because what you see is not what you get. Neither with me nor with him. I was only 18 after all.
And in response to my umpteenth existential meltdown, he said: What if we get married someday?
And I stopped talking.
And then I said: Um....really?
Followed very quickly by: Okay!
But we decided to keep it a secret, because who gets engaged after only dating for, like, 6 weeks after hating/being indifferent to each other for 19 months?
Crazy people who buy fixer uppers off the internet, that's who.
The ring, an eternity band from Tiffany's that had belonged to his grandmother, came later that summer as we sat around the fire-pit in his parent's backyard, drinking Foster's and chatting with his brother. And even then people were sure we were fools.
Because we are.
Thankfully, even fools have soul mates.
|This is the first photo of us I found. Sorry honey!|
Happy Father's Day, Tommy! Thank you for finding the me that all the warners and bettors weren't willing to dig for.