Previously, on Broke Wife, Big City…
Aprill, our protagonist who was pretty in that girl-next-door-who-drinks-a-lot-of-vodka kind of way, was in the midst of revealing her very un-Hollywood-like marriage proposal story (which you can read here) when she had to unexpectedly take a break because her husband made tacos and she was, like, SUPER hungry.
And then she ate too much and there was a “Leverage” marathon on and typing quickly seemed like waaaaaay too much cardio to engage in…and then…well, repeat for five days and here we are.
But now, on with the story…
It all started on a random fall afternoon that we had designated as our “anniversary” since both of us were too lazy to really care what date we actually first met, or first kissed, or first declared our love or first did other things I won’t mention (SEX!!!) because that would be childish and improper.
We were attending a Renaissance Festival (cause we are unapologetically nerd-tastic and love any place where it is acceptable to drink wine and eat turkey legs for breakfast) in Texas with some friends. It was the perfect opportunity. I had been antsy for quite some time for him to put a ring on it and he had been hinting for quite some time that he did indeed like it and intended to put a ring on it. Not to mention, he’s always been a grand gesture kind of guy, so what better place to propose than in front of 30,000 fellow weirdos dressed in loin cloths and barely there fairy costumes, all of whom had started drinking mead at 9 a.m.?
All day I had felt a giddiness. I knew it was coming. I just knew it. So when it didn’t come during the jousting tournament, I didn’t sweat it. When it didn’t come during the performance of the guy who is paid to insult you in Olde English, I, the rancid wench with the questionable virtue, shrugged it off. I wasn’t even too bothered when I had to downplay an escaped squeal and turn it into a cough when my beloved bent down to tie his shoe by the Ye Olde Petting Zoo.
But as dusk descended, my mood, which was already being fueled mostly by Merlot and beer so heavy you had to chew it, started to darken. By the time we got home, it was a black pit of seething drunk girlfriend rage.
Now, men are not necessarily known for their skills of observation. But luckily, the waves of pure anger radiating off my body while we were watching TV on the couch were practically visible even to Ryan’s eyes (the same eyes that have never, EVER managed to see the furry leftovers that smell like hot garbage in August in the fridge).
“Is everything OK, babe?” he asked, while smartly out of hitting range.
“Because you seem mad.”
“Like, really mad.”
“Hmm…I don’t know, Ryan. What could I, YOUR GIRLFRIEND, and only YOUR GIRLFRIEND, possibly be MAD about?”
“Do you want your anniversary gift?”
“I don’t care.”
“Well, I have to go upstairs to get it.”
“OK…? Then I guess I’ll go it…?”
“It’s a free country.”
And that, kids, is how it happened. Just like in a fairy tale, he came downstairs, paused the episode of “Supernatural” that we were watching (well, he was watching and I was blindly staring at while I made a mental list in my head of everything he had ever done wrong in our relationship…which, to be honest, wasn’t much but women have a special skill to turn moments of “you didn’t notice my haircut” into “YOU DON’T THINK I’M PRETTY, DO YOU!?! DO YOU!?!”), got down on one knee and asked “Will you marry me?” while producing a beautiful ring from behind his back.
What followed was a series of “Seriously? Really? You’re not kidding?” followed by 42 tearful yes’s followed by phone calls to every female I knew or had ever known.
But what you didn’t see, and what I didn’t learn until later, was that he had been making plans to propose for years before that actual moment. Each plan more elaborate and “awww…” worthy than the next. For instance, there was the plan to take me on an East Coast road trip in the fall to see the leaves change, where we would stay at a little bed-and-breakfast (which he had already called ahead of time to coordinate his plans with them) and where he would propose in a candle-lit paradise. He had also already called my closest girlfriends to ask permission for my hand. He had schemed with co-workers and mutual friends. He had maps and lists of potential places and estimates of ticket prices to exotic locales.
What he, what we, didn’t ever have was the money or the vacation time to do any of these things.
And just in case I don’t look enough like a selfish, petty person, he actually WAS planning on proposing earlier that day. He had the ring on him the whole time. And when I asked him why he didn’t, he replied:
“Because none of the moments seem perfect enough to propose to the love of my life.”
So, while I may not have a Hollywood-sanctioned, “good” engagement story, I defy anyone who says that I don’t have a beautiful behind-the-scenes engagement story.
And in the end, when you come down to it, a picture-perfect engagement does not a marriage make. But a man who waits three years to propose because nothing seems special enough? I’ll take that man and our “sitting on the couch while Sam and Dean fight demons on the TV” engagement story any day.