“Will you marry me?”
For many years I’d dreamt of this moment right down to the diamond sparkling before my green eyes. Now the occasion was here and I felt sick.
“What? Marry you? John, we’ve only known each other three days. How can I… how can we… what?” My dazed brain struggled for words. The brown turtleneck that was always a perfect fit now restricted my windpipe.
“I know. I know it’s only been three days, Wanda, but I love you. I know this is the right thing. Please. Say you’ll be my wife,” John’s deep voice pled with a strong confidence that almost calmed my nerves.
“Are you crazy? Three days!” Certainly I had enjoyed our time together, but love? Marriage? No way. My engagement story couldn’t be written like this.
“Please, Wanda. Please think about it. If you think about it long enough, I know you’ll come to the same conclusion.” After slipping the ring into his flannel shirt pocket, he leaned forward and kissed my cheek. “Please.” He turned and walked away, leaving me standing in the winter sun with only one thing to do. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed.
“Mom? Can I come over?”
After a hasty drive, I was sitting at the kitchen table of my childhood home with a steaming mug of peppermint tea cooling in front of me.
“He proposed, Mom. With a ring and everything. He proposed.” I had repeated these sentiments over and over in the short time since my arrival. “What do I do?”
“Wanda, honey, take a deep breath, sip some tea, and listen.” Her telltale vanilla scent drifted behind her as she shuffled across the kitchen with her own mug and sat across from me. I did as I was told and brought the cup to my lips; my zooming brain quieted by the peppermint and her presence.
“Baby, let me tell you what’s happened. John has thrown you into the deep end. He has raced from the shallow waters of learning each other’s likes and dislikes, food allergies, and favorite books, and taken you into the unknown deep waters of relational eternity.”
“We just met! We’re still practically strangers!” John and I knew so little about each other. There was such a vast emptiness of insight into the small things that made us who we were. Sure, we had spent hours talking since our first meeting, but there was so much more to uncover.
“I know, sweetheart.” She paused and looked past me to the window where soft sunlight poured in. Her blue eyes appeared to be searching for something in the glass. “Wanda, you know your father and I had a very long relationship before he proposed.”
“Yeah. Seven years, right?”
“That’s right. And do you know what I learned in those seven years?”
“I learned that everything I needed to know about him, I knew in that first week. In those first few days I learned he was funny and wise. I found out he had quite the temper when I thought he might beat his car into scrap metal because it wouldn’t start. I learned he had a soul that earnestly sought forgiveness after he apologized for that outburst. When he gave a homeless gentleman his coat while we were out, I knew he had a heart for the hurting. In that first week I knew I wanted to marry him. It just took him a little longer.” She winked and laughed. “John, honey, has decided to skip the shallow waters, to begin in the deep end, to start the relationship with a lifelong commitment.”
Speech failed me. My mom was giving me the green light to marry someone I barely knew. What a strange day.
“Now, Wanda, you can do whatever you like and I will support you as I always do. You needed to hear that story though. Yes it seems crazy, but sometimes what’s crazy is also what’s right.”
The remainder of the afternoon gabfest drifted from current events to the proposal; from my parents’ plan for retirement to the proposal. Back and forth, back and forth.
Languishing in my apartment that evening, I thought about all she had said. I didn’t have the patience to wait seven years before becoming engaged. Three days seemed awfully fast though. Could I already know everything I needed to know?
Once more I picked up my phone. “John? I have an answer.”
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