The idea of you, the concept, the whole tradition that surrounds you wasn't important to me, so I didn't expect you to become so important to me in such a short space of time. I didn't expect to be reluctant to take you off at night or watch you anxiously as I wash my hands, worried that somehow I will knock you off your safe perch and you will be lost forever.
You are not what I would have chosen. The jewellery he chooses is never something I would pick for myself. Yet he always manages to pick something I love. It's always delicate and beautiful, something to be treasured. I wonder if he sees that in me. I always pick something pretty but hard wearing, capable of withstanding the abuse that comes with being worn by a clumsy person. But here we are, me with my scarred, imperfect hands, nails trimmed as short as possible, you with your delicate band of diamonds, perfectly miniature flower holding the shiniest stone I've ever seen.
Perhaps it's the story attached with you. Not the one that started on Tuesday, nor the one that started three months ago, on an August evening as he searched the internet for you. It's a story that started 9 years and two months ago. Where a boy met a girl, girl fell in love with boy, boy eventually felt the same and took his precious sweet time about doing something about it.
It's the nearly 9 years in between, filled with joy, laughter and fun. The year and a half of long distance, very long distance, and all the pain and problems associated with that. The year or so after that getting to know each other again, adapting to being in the same country, learning to love the people we had become in the months we were apart.
The first year of living together, where I went from being incredibly happy to desperately wanting to be married to the man I loved. The years after that, where I learnt to let go and roll with it, as he coped with being unable to find work in the field he so desperately wants to be a part of. He was my rock for years, I became his rock for a while until we both stabilised to where we are now.
Yes, it is also the story of August, when I went off to Italy on holiday while he stayed in England. When he took the opportunity to search for a ring while I was out of the country and unable to guess or see what was going on. He found you in an evening, on Etsy. He's not one to hang about and dither about his choice.
I hate that he got sucked in to an industry that uses manipulative techniques to try and get people to spend more money. Part of your story is that he almost didn't choose you. He almost went for something that cost more, something more big, more flashy because that's what he was 'supposed' to do. His father put him to rights, but I hate that he felt his choice was inadequate, even for a while.
He met you in September. You were sent to his parents in order to prevent any risk of me finding you. His father helped him out when he was hit with a load of extra cost due to him purchasing jewellery from abroad, and so his father has known for two and a half months, keeping it quiet. A gift swap occurred while we were at a wedding. I noticed nothing. You were the gift swap.
And so you've sat in the back of his wardrobe since then. I've seen the parcel you came in, actually, as I rummaged around looking for an elusive pillow case. I understand now why he made sure the bedding was no longer kept in there.
I guessed you were on your way to me at some point soon. I've told friends to expect an announcement, but I honestly thought I was going to be asked on my birthday. Not Christmas or New Years, as, while there's nothing wrong with that, he doesn't tend to go for the cliché.
I made him an advent calendar of activities and ideas for us to do together over the festive period. On Monday we bought and decorated the tree while watching Nightmare Before Christmas. On Tuesday the 2nd December we were making snowflakes and putting them up as we watched Muppets Christmas Carol. The film ended. I was still kneeling down on the floor as I strung the snowflakes up. He asked me if I wanted my other Advent gift. I said ok, thinking it was going to be something small, like the Advent Calendar I had gotten on the 1st from his parents.
He handed me a gift bag. There was tissue paper covering something. I think I told him there had better be a rabbit in there and not a rock this time (long story). Instead there was a white box. In the white box there was black a jewellery box. I thought I knew it all with regards jewellers boxes. A couple of weeks previously I told him, after we saw a picture on a friends Facebook page of a bottle of champagne and a box, that that box did not contain a ring. It was too big. I was right, they contained chocolates.
I was wrong, though, that ring boxes come in a standard size. I opened the box. You were sitting there. I didn't really know what it meant. While I hadn't had an idea of how I wanted to get engaged (although on top of Table Mountain would probably have been the dream), I didn't expect it to happen on a Tuesday evening as I knelt on the floor in my pyjamas. I didn't want to presume anything, either. I'd presumed things before, and it always ended in me crying and him confused. So I looked at him, puzzled.
"I've been trying to think of the words to say, but I can't come up with anything good, so I just want to say that you've been the best thing to happen to me. Will you marry me?"
I didn't cry. I didn't explode with excitement. I saw this coming, although not at the time or manner it did. I did cry when he showed me that he'd worked out his guest list, that he had written down the big things we need to sort out for the wedding (he's left out some of the smaller stuff, probably not realising they might be needed!) and that the Spotify playlist he had started compiling was actually him putting together the start of a wedding playlist. We've enjoyed listening to the excitement of others as we've told them our news, particularly the friend who didn't believe him at first, and then froze with happiness when he did.
It has been a wonderful story so far. Soon we will have to start planning properly. Soon we will have to set a date and arrange things, and get bogged down by costings and planning and family politics. But for now I sit with you on my finger with the sun streaming through the living room windows, lighting up the snowflakes I never finished putting up.
Life is rather good sometimes, isn't it?
|I have been told a picture of it on my hands is required. I don't really like my hands, but I shall comply with the request.|