Let me start with: this post has a very, very happy ending. A very tangible happy ending that fits on my left ring finger and that I can look down on during my day. An ending that is a beginning and a middle, and a thank you to the universe who is all about "life lessons" and "patience" and everything else I'm not really good at. (I'm also not really good at rephrasing "not really good at" so it doesn't end with a preposition.) But enough about grammar! I got engaged! To Grant! And it is worthy of a thousand exclamation points!!!!!! times infinity!!!!
Maybe you didn't notice, but I've had a rough go of it lately. I think that's part of my personality, when I get down or depressed, I draw into myself and spend more alone time when having people around who love me and make me laugh would help much more. And I do this crazy thing where I get through the actual hard part okay (see last year; moving across the country; major health issues; unemployment) and when I get to stable ground, I royally FREAK OUT (see the past few months; crying). I have a place to live in a city I love, I have a job, and I have the most wonderful, patient, and understanding man (that's still weird to say even though he's thirty-two) who loves me. But I still doubt it all, because that's what I do. I doubt if I'm good enough or deserve it or wonder what I will do to mess it up.
That brings us to Wednesday, March 3. It's a typical day in my life, I'm at work, and I'm crying (there have been many tears lately). I don't know exactly why I am crying, but I feel like a fraud, and I feel like I'm not learning fast enough, and I feel like a disappointment. If you were Grant on that day, you would have heard all of this several times on the phone, when I called him at his work, desperate. I hate feeling this way, and it's horrible, because it feeds on itself and gets worse and worse, and it's so hard to just stop. To try to bring reality back into the picture and not focus on my feelings. Grant helps me focus, and on that day, he got me to stop crying. He told me that maybe I shouldn't bring work home, because part of me being so overwhelmed might have something to do with working 24/7. He asked me if I wanted to go to dinner (we don't eat out much to save money), and he offered to pick me up from work. He reassured me and listened to me and it still didn't work. I walked back into the office and tried to get through the day and cried at/on Alaina. Then Grant called and he was there to pick me up.
I walked downstairs and across the street and made it into the car where I started sobbing uncontrollably. I told him that I just didn't know why I was so upset or how to start feeling better. He suggested that just having dinner and getting away from everything might be good. And he put on Jack Johnson so we would have something nice to listen to driving to Dupont Circle. We went to Taj Majal, where I had a Groupon (the new frugal me LOVES these). It was at this point that I had thought he might propose but two or three things talked me out of it: 1) it was a work night, 2) we were using a Groupon for our dinner, and 3) did I mention the crying? and the puffy face? and the incessant crying?
Grant doesn't usually go for Indian, so I was excited about that. And when we got to the restaurant, it gave me some time to just breathe. One of my favorite parts of Eat, Pray, Love is at the beginning, when she can't stop crying on the bathroom floor, and suddenly she divinely realizes that she does not have to make any important life decisions right. then. When I can remember that the same sentiment applies to me, I'm a much calmer person. When I'm with Grant, he helps me remember that I'm doing the best I can. That I can just get through the day and sometimes that's enough.
We order a delicious dinner, that, thanks to Groupon, is half off. The annoying and loud girls at the next table leave shortly after we get there. Grant is wearing an argyle sweater, and I'm wearing argyle rain boots (partly because I forgot to bring real shoes). I've stopped crying. He suggests we walk to Kramerbooks. Even though it's past my bedtime, I agree.
At this point, I know. Argyle + Indian food + books? Has to equal proposal.
We walk arm-in-arm through the circle to Kramers. When we walk in, I go immediately to my favorite table at the entrance (where I have never, ever picked up a bad book; in fact, it's where Dave Eggers first found me eight or so years ago). He tells me that he has to go to the back part of the store, where the restaurant is, to get some Kleenex.
I look down at the books, and I think how perfect this is, that he's going to (finally!) ask me to marry him and make it official and I can tell everyone and holy crap he is walking back from the restaurant WITH Kleenex because he actually needed Kleenex not because he was going to ask you to marry him Courtney get it together you cannot keep doing this to yourself.
And then I thought, "but Kramers would have been perfect."
I go to the fiction wall to look at a Margaret Atwood book, Oryx and Crake, that was apparently the prequel to the book I just read, the Year of the Flood, and I'm frustrated because I want to read it, but I've already read what comes after, and Grant comes over and is looking at books next to me. I'm looking at Atwood, and he starts looking at... Austen? Grant pulls out a Jane Austen book and gets the giggles.
And that's when I really know.
He turns to me and asks me if I'll marry him. And then he says he doesn't know what to say.
I ask him what he wants to say.
He tells me that he loves me, that he'll work harder at our marriage than anything he's ever worked at before, and that we'll have babies.
I'm crying. Again. But in a good way! I say yes, and he starts crying, too.
Then he asks if he has to get down on one knee, and I say yes again, and he gets down on one knee and puts the most beautiful and most perfect ring on my finger, and he almost knocks over a bookshelf standing up. We kiss and hug and get a stranger to take our picture.
He tells me that he wanted the proposal to be a surprise, which is why he did it on a Wednesday and on a Groupon. He tells me that he wore argyle because he thought I wouldn't say no to it. He tells me that he's been on the phone with his family all day telling them what he was going to do, and that he thought of Kramers, and how much I love it, and how I brought him here when we first visited the city, and how much he is liking reading now especially when we read next to each other before bed. He tells me he loves me, and I feel it.
We go back to Afterwords, the restaurant, to get coffee and dessert and to call our friends and family and announce our plans for our life together.
One of the best parts? He'd had the ring for several days and decided he wanted to ask me that Wednesday. He said he didn't get much work done, that he was so excited, and that even after the phone calls and the tears and the not knowing what to do, he still wanted a life with me.
It was a horrible day and a wonderful night and that's life and it is perfect.
It is what it is.
It is what it is!!!!