It was our five-year dating anniversary, and I was a nervous wreck.
I tore through my bins of clothes, trying to settle on something to wear. I just had this feeling Mike was going to propose, and I was on the verge of freaking out. See, before him, I never wanted to get married, and the thought of being engaged was terrifying. Mostly because it was a huge step, a leap of faith. I knew I could trust him with my heart, my body, my soul, but forever?
I knew the proposal was coming, though.
We had this running bit, where one of us would say or do something the other loved, and we’d jokingly say, “I wanna marry you. Wanna get married?” and the other would reply, “Sure.” It was our way of having the “Wanna get married someday?” conversation without the pressure. We’d been doing it more and more, and when he asked me out to dinner for our anniversary, he seemed nervous.
Hence my whirlwind through my clothing.
We went to our favorite gourmet Chinese restaurant, this place about 40 minutes away that was a bit out of our budget. He was being so weird, just visibly nervous, ramping up my nerves. After we finished eating, I excused myself to the bathroom where I gave myself a pep talk.
“He’s gonna do it when you get back out there. Don’t freak out. You love him. You want to spend your life with him. Just say yes! You can do it.”
I dried my hands and walked calmly back to our table. I sat down and the waiter brought our bill. I braced myself. This was it.
Mike paid the bill, then asked if I was ready to go.
I gaped at him. I’d completely misread the situation. I wanted to laugh at myself. I’d worked myself up into such a state of anxiety, all over a story I’d made up in my head. Smoothing out my face, I walked out with him to the car.
My car was out of commission, so we’d borrowed my mom’s. We drove in comfortable silence, listening to the radio. For the first time all night, I was able to relax. It’d happen eventually. I was in no rush.
We got on the highway, still chit-chatting. I don’t even remember what we were talking about. Keeping his voice light, he glanced over at me. “Wanna get married?”
“Sure,” I replied, thinking nothing of it. It was our thing.
“No, seriously. Do you want to get married?”
“Yes,” I said, still not thinking anything of it.
“Then let’s go to my sister’s. She has the ring.”
If he hadn’t been driving, I would’ve jumped into his arms. Instead I forced myself to stay calm, and made some phone calls telling our family and friends. Noni was the first person I called.
We got married a few years later.