How New Boy Became The Boy.
I had never had a boyfriend.
Like a page from a Hollywood screenplay, I was a twenty-three year old who had never truly been kissed. Of course, I had kissed boys before. But not in a serious, life-altering way that made the world slow down, making you realize that what was happening had the capacity to be the biggest thing that had ever happened to you.
The truth is, I was twenty-three and I had never had a boyfriend. I wrote about it a year and a half ago. I wrote about how I wasn’t sure I would ever find love. That my biggest fear was never finding someone who could accept my disease. It’s lonely and heartbreaking to wonder if you’ll ever find someone. I know I needn’t find a husband at twenty-three, but couldn’t I find anyone who wanted to take me to the movies?
Two lovely ladies suggested OKCupid. It’s not like other dating sites. First of all, it’s free. Second of all, it’s actually a fun set-up, with quizzes and creative questions that go beyond just the usual personality profile questions, really showing what a person thinks about random situations. Since it was free, I was more casual about checking out people’s profiles and really talking with someone to find out if they would be someone I would want to date. It felt more purposeful.
About a month into using OKCupid, I received a message from “andesite1983.” His name, I found out, was Erik.
What many people might not know (because I never write about him) is that my younger brother’s name is Eric. For some people, it might be enough to convince a person not to pursue a relationship. But Erik’s message to me was so sweet and something I connected with immediately. It seemed silly to stop corresponding based simply on a name.Turns out, that was the best decision I ever made.
Messages on OKCupid led to phone calls. Phone calls led to our first date. Our first date led to our official relationship beginning.
I slowly introduced Erik into my world. I told him about my blog, which he has faithfully read ever since. I slowly introduced my world to Erik. Some of you have met him at support group meetings, dinners or meet-ups. Some of you have just read about him on my blog. A couple of you are even Facebook friends with him!
We have spent time getting to know each other through our many travels and our long-distance relationship provided ample time to work on our conversation skills. He loves traveling as much as me and doesn’t mind when I spontaneously suggest going to Boston or D.C. for the weekend. He sends me flowers for no reason, and sometimes for very good reasons. We love the same movies and the same types of food. We love New York City, and exploring every nook and cranny of the amazing neighborhoods and cultural institutions. We hold the same strong faith in God, yet are open to discussing our doubts and frustrations without fear.
I have always found that it makes sense to discuss and consider the future of a relationship fairly early. I don’t think it makes sense to date someone for months – certainly not years – with the intention of not actually marrying the person. So we discussed very serious topics early on. We discussed how we would raise our children, what we wanted to do with our lives, where we would want to live in the future.
To us, marriage was an eventuality, not a possibility.
To the point that we actually started to look at wedding rings. I am very particular about the style I had always wanted, and I didn’t want to there to be a chance of getting a ring that I would have to wear forever that I didn’t really like. Wedding rings cost thousands of dollars, so why not have a bit of input from the person who is going to be wearing the darn thing. So we looked, casually. We browsed when we were bored at the mall. We looked at rings in magazines and on websites. We even took a trip to Tiffany’s on Fifth Ave, which, while fun and amazing, yielded very little in our price range. It was still worth it for the free bite-sized Tiffany’s cake.
It may disappoint some people to know that it is coming, but for me, the fact I knew it was coming was even more exciting.
I pestered him endlessly about whether or not he had bought the ring. Then the ring was finally purchased, which I’ll admit was an accident in me knowing about it but in reality, even if you purchase a ring, that does not mean you actually have it. Almost all engagement rings are made individually, or at least need to be resized for the woman in question, which can take several weeks. Since I had been part of the purchasing decision, I already knew a ring was coming. I just didn’t know where or when.
Of course, I pestered him endlessly about whether or not it had arrived. Up until last week, Erik lived forty minutes from the city and I assumed would not be able to make it to the jewelers before it closed during the week. But all our weekends were spent together, so I had no idea when – if at all – he had picked anything up.
“Do you have it?” I would ask. “Did you pick up yet? When is it coming? When am I getting it?”
“I’m not telling you anything,” Erik would say.
He is very stubborn like that.
On Saturday afternoon, Erik came by my apartment to pick me up. We were planning on going to Central Park to take some photos. Very romantic. It was a beautiful day out and I was suspecting something might be on its way…
“Do you have it yet?” I asked, as we were getting ready. “You have it, don’t you?” He laughed at me.
“I’m not telling you anything.”
“You do have it don’t you… right?” I persisted. He kept laughing.
Then he turned the tables on me. “Would you really want me to propose to you right here?” he asked.
I looked around the living room of my apartment.
“No… I suppose not.” Even if he did have the ring, I figured he had something special planned for later that day. Maybe a quiet, romantic spot in Central Park. Or maybe after a romantic dinner. Or, you know, eventually. I still didn’t know if he had the ring or not.
After grabbing my sunglasses, I ducked into my room to put away the sunscreen.
When I turned around, Erik was on one knee.
“I love you more than anyone in the world. Will you marry me?”
I was so shocked that he had actually fooled me into thinking he wasn’t going to do it that I started laughing. Because I’m classy like that. Who laughs at their own proposal?
“Yes, of course!”
We hugged for eternity, and kissed, and he slid a gorgeous vintage-style engagement ring on my left ring finger. It was exactly what I wanted.
The style of proposal – quiet, intimate, sweet and private. Public proposals make me anxious (what if she says no?) and I knew I wanted it to be where it was just the two of us. I can’t think of a better place than in my living room. Just us.
Sometimes, even when you are expecting it, it can still be the biggest, bestest surprise in the world.