About a month after Chris and I moved in together we went on a long drive. A few days before, he’d accidentally run over a Christmas tree that was laying in the middle of the road. It was dark out that night. Before he noticed it, it was too late to get over to another lane. So he got a really awesome, brand new, Dodge 2500 to borrow while his Charger was in the body shop. We took this opportunity to go on a nice drive.
Somewhere along the way though, we got into an argument. I don’t know how it started, but this argument turned into one of our biggest fights. Not like the kind of fight where you realize 10 minutes in that you’re both being ridiculous. The kind of fight where you’re like “what are we doing together?” What was supposed to be a nice drive turned into a terrible evening full of tears.
I said I didn’t want him to keep anything from me. And somehow, I don’t remember how, but he said “you have a lot of things to work on” and that spiraled out. The word “marriage” came up, my past relationships became a huge factor, and the word “regret” was used in many contexts. I don’t know. I don’t remember all of it. Which, I think is good, because what was awful then, made us stronger and it’s over now.
What was important about this night is that there was a really long bubble of silence between us. Once he said what he said, we both got quiet. When we got home, it stayed quiet. I think we were both worried about us. I think he was thinking “why am I with her” and I was definitely thinking “why is he with me.” I knew I wanted him. Him. Chris Smith–exactly how he was. And I’d done so much work on myself. I didn’t have any regrets regarding my past, because there was no point. I couldn’t change any of it. I also loved the person I’d become. All the decisions I’d made leading up to that point, made me me. Didn’t he love me? Yes, my choices weren’t always the best. Most of them were really awful decisions. But ultimately, I liked the person I’d grown into and I didn’t want to change for him. The fact that he said “you have a lot of things to work on” really pissed me off. Yes, it’s true… I need to work on things, I’m human, but I wasn’t going to change. I thought I’d made that clear.
Before Chris, I’d done a lot of shape-shifting with every prior relationship. I’d compromised my morals, values, and my character to please the men I gave my heart to, and every time they handed it back to me broken. It went on for years. Boy after boy. I completely broke down who I really was to become the woman that I thought they wanted me to be. Chris knew that. We’d talked about it. So, now I felt like he was telling me that I needed to change for him and I was not about to do that. He even said, “you did it for them, so why can’t you do it for me?” But, I was done with all of that. He was supposed to be my person. You shouldn’t have to change for your person. So, I was heartbroken that this is what he was asking.
After a long while of not talking, he came to me to talk it out. He said he didn’t want to lose me and that he wanted to fight for me; that the silence was really bad. So we talked. We admitted our faults. We listened to one another’s needs and concerns. We apologized. We made up.
At the very end of our conversation, I asked him an important question. He was standing at the kitchen sink, filling up our Brita water pitcher. I was sitting on the couch on the other side of the room. I very seriously asked him, “Do you see yourself marrying me?” He thought about it for a second and then he looked over and said, “Yes, I do.” The mood in the air changed in a way I didn’t think it could after a night like that. With a huge grin on my lips, I asked almost (almost) jokingly, “Oh yeah, like we could get engaged this year? Like in 2015?” and he said matter-of-factly, “Yeah. I don’t see why not.”
A few weeks later he told me to start looking at engagement rings.
A few weeks after that, what clearly looked like a bill from a diamond company, showed up in our mailbox. I tucked the envelope back in the box with the rest of the mail so he wouldn’t know that I saw it when he came to pick it up.
This was February 2015.
He proposed December 31, 2015.