Marry Me

Last weekend, my boyfriend Jason asked me to marry him.

As someone who has always thought about her career dreams instead of her wedding dreams, I wasn’t quite sure I would ever get married.

Moving from the Midwest where there are a ton of fabulous men, to Los Angeles where there are a lot of not-so-fabulous men to wade through, I had thought finding someone here might not be in the cards for me.

And then I’d met Jason and something had felt different.

And then I’d met Jason and something had felt different.

After we moved in together, he and I would occasionally talk about marriage and after each conversation I would think about how I would react if he asked. I would want to respond in a meaningful, romantic way – to wipe away a small tear and look beautiful and radiant.

I was thinking of those plans as we drove up the coast that weekend taking a short getaway trip to Big Sur, winding up PCH and soaking in the incredible vistas.

Jason had pulled over beside a stunning rock beach where giant boulders marched into the ocean.  When I mentioned how much I liked it here he suddenly ran back to the car, saying he had forgotten his phone.

And in that moment, I knew.

I tried to prepare. I saw him returning and arranged myself on a giant rock in what I hoped was a romantic stance.

I tried to avert my eyes from his hand, conspicuously in his pocket, as he came to stand on the boulder with me.

As much as I tried to keep my breathing normal, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that this was it. This was the moment I had thought about so many times and I better get my head in the romance game. I glanced at Jason and felt my stomach flipped and my hands began to sweat.

I knew I had to fight through it and say something loving and memorable that we could reminisce about when we were old and still holding hands in the nursing home.

But instead of whispering something romantic or commenting in a sweet, soft voice about the waves, I started telling a strange story about a touching a starfish.

But instead of whispering something romantic or commenting in a sweet, soft voice about the waves, I started telling a strange story about a touching a starfish.

I knew I should’ve just let him talk but I couldn’t stop the words from pouring out of me. I talked on and on about how I had seen a live starfish at the beach, who I had been with when I saw the starfish, and where it had all happened.

Finally, Jason touched my shoulder.

“Jessica.”

I kept talking, moving on to the texture of a starfish.

“Jessica,” he interrupted again.

“Yeah?”

He smiled right into my eyes and said, “It’s time. I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you.”

He pulled a ring box from his pocket and opened it.

“Will you marry me?”

And when I actually heard him say those words, the last bit of planned romance flew out of my head.  Instead, I felt myself start to grin and then to laugh. I knew it was a strange reaction but I couldn’t stop the joy from bubbling up. I laughed for a long time, up on that rock as the ocean crashed against the boulders.

This proposal wasn’t like I had planned at all. It was messy, and honest, and spontaneous – just like the two of us.

I hugged him and, buried in my shoulder, Jason asked, “So, is that a yes?”

It was.

When we climbed back into the car I caught sight of my ring. The bright flash on my finger reminded me of the enormity of what I had just said yes to.

I was saying yes to becoming part of his family and he to mine. I was saying yes to spending our lives making decisions together – big decisions like where we’ll live and what we’ll do. I was saying yes to always thinking about my partner, even when it was much easier to think only of myself.

When I moved from my family and friends to come to Los Angeles, it was to find a dream I had been looking for since I was a kid.  And there, standing on top of a giant rock, I had found something else.

Something I hadn’t even known I was looking for.

Jason turned the key in the ignition and looked over at me, staring at my ring.

“Are you okay?”

I took a breath and twisted it around my finger.

“Yes, I’m fantastic.”

He smiled at me and put the car in drive.

“Then let’s go.”

And we did.

 

This piece was originally written for the Fargo Forum.  You can find them (and me) here.

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