So I never thought I would get married. That whole concept of finding that one person that completes you, that makes you wake up every morning; excited at the concept that he or she would be laying down beside you, softly snoring or drooling. I just figured it was all horse shit that happens to other people or Jennifer Aniston about three times a year (seriously, why do they keep making movies with her?).
I was completely content to live my life to its inevitable conclusion, die alone and have no one realize it until someone complained about the smell only to have the police storm in with me dead and my cat eating my eyeballs.
Then, this woman came along; who I will refer to as ‘River’, since I didn’t get permission to share this story about us from her.
So me and her had met originally while we were both in college only for us to drift apart; she going to a different school (I like to assume it was the only way she could escape the overpowering attraction she had to me) and me graduating. We still kept in touch, fleetingly; kind of like that friend you know that you won’t go out of your way to go visit but still care about.
Then out of no where, she moves back into town and messages me since she is now living in the same town I am. I think that is pretty nifty and we start talking and catching up. Turns out she just got hired on working for the same company I am, so we make plans to hang out sometime over coffee.
Except I’m a…well a pussy. I just got out of a relationship and had zero interest in starting anything new so I would keep coming up with excuses to blow her off. They weren’t even good excuses either. They ranged from “I have to do laundry” to “There is a turtle behind my rear tire and I don’t know if I can touch it because I’m certain it’s an endangered species”.
So one night, I’m working with one of my coworkers and am telling her all of this and she rightly calls me an idiot for not even talking to her for fear that something could happen. So, properly chagrined I ask if she would like to meet over coffee. That leads to a date and another date and so on. About a month or so into this, she mentions she is getting an apartment. That apartment turns out to be the one directly beneath mine.
I am not one to ignore the universe when it is being that loud. Clearly, this woman is a stalker.
So I do whatever one would do when presented with their very own stalker. We start dating exclusively. Eventually it gets serious enough that we start talking about marriage, maybe taking things to the next level.
For once, that prospect doesn’t terrify me. So I start planning out how I want to propose. Charts, diagrams, focus groups, everything. I want to approach this as though it were a marketing study. If I do enough things right, of course she’ll say yes.
So I start paying attention to her likes, dislikes, etc. She is a huge fan of Dr Who I learned and her favorite character in the show is named River Song. There is a very nice romantic backstory to this character and the lead, wherein they are both time travelers operating at opposite ends of one another’s time lines (coining the concept ‘nerdmantic’). I wanted it to be super romantic and decide to purchase River Songs journal as well as the rings with the expectation that they would arrive on the same day.
I take the journal and on the inside cover I write, “I’ll meet you in the middle”; placing a bookmarker on the middle page with the engagement ring tied to it. The page is blank, with the only writing ‘We marry’. She cries, smiles, hugs me and shouts ‘Yes!’ My cat gives me a high-five.
Is how it was supposed to happen.
Instead, the journal shows up before the ring and me being impatient; write the notes and such, presenting her with a journal that says ‘We marry’; me pointing out dumbly, “THERE’S SUPPOSED TO BE A RING THERE.” while watching my cat shake her head in disappointment.
Of course, she says yes and is grinning from ear to ear. Politely ignoring the lack of ring as well as my cats disapproval with my impatience. I get started on PROPOSAL PLAN B.
I haven’t really celebrated Christmas for years. For one thing, I just don’t bother since I’m perpetually broke; but also because it’s really more a holiday for families and their underage children. I can spend that working while coworkers with kids can celebrate with theirs. If nothing else, it keeps my parents from asking me the “so when are you going to give us grandkids” question.
But with River, it’s different. I actually want to spend Christmas with her. I want to have a tree and set it up with lights and all that other bullshit under the tree (pretty sure that’s how the song goes). We get the tree, stockings, everything. It looks great and I don’t remember being happier in a long while.
The rings come in. They’re beautiful and I want this moment to be perfect.
I place the rings atop a Christmas ornament, directly backlit by the Christmas lights; casting refracted light throughout the bedroom. She comes home and I ask her to check the tree; that I think something may be wrong with the lights. I point directly at the one with the ring. Her jaw drops, she squeals, grabs me in a passionate hug. She cries Yes! I fist bump Batman and the world spews rainbows in happiness.
In reality, I fell asleep right when I got home. Rings in my hand. I wake up to her coming home from work and scramble, trying desperately to get…this….fucking….ring behind this light. The Christmas decorations staring mutely at me in reflected disapproval.
I can hear her coming closer to the bedroom, so I call out; “DON’T COME IN HERE! I’M…BLEEDING!”
Yeah, that sounded like a good idea.
It wasn’t a good idea.
She comes bursting in, eyes wide with panic; only to see me crouched over a Christmas tree in my boxers. One leg pushed against the wall, my back to her as I thrust back and forth. Struggling to get this scene to work. River asks if everything is alright.
PROPOSAL PLAN C!
I approach her, smoothly. Hand wrapped around the ring box. As I get closer, I realize she is flinching, because my hand is in a fist and that usually isn’t romantic. I start to lower to my knee to propose. I am going down to the wrong knee and do a kind of Russian squat dance move to correct this, I drop the ring box and hit my face on the floor trying to recover it. I open the ring box. The ring isn’t in the box. I crawl back to the tree to jostle it loose from those fucking lights. I take the ring from the tree and place her hand in mine. Slowly bring the ring towards her finger, all the while looking into her eyes. She tells me through tears that I’m about to put the ring on the wrong finger. I put the ring on the right finger. I ask if she’ll marry me. She says I already said yes.
So now I’m getting married. It took a few tries but I realized that there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘perfect proposal’ that bullshit only happens in Jennifer Aniston movies and honestly, who really wants to be her?
The other thing I learned is that the real winner in this entire situation is my cat. Because now she has two sets of eyeballs to eat when we die.