Transplanted Life
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Not the answer he was looking for
Okay, who else knew what Doug was up to last night? Maybe if I'd grown up a woman, I would have glommed on to what it means with him asking me to a nice restaurant, dress up please, and nothing planned for afterward. Of course, maybe if I'd gone through the whole girlhood thing, I would have been looking forward to it.

The funny thing is, he must have talked to Kate beforehand, and either she didn't know me very well or he just ignored her, indicating he didn't know me that well or just... I don't know.

See, I know he talked to Kate because when I ment her at the Sunday morning movie club thing, she has this big "I've got a secret" look on her face, barely holding in a squeal, clackety-clacks her way across the brick sidewalk doing double time on her heels, and grabs my hands. Then she notices that neither of them has a ring on them. "You said no?"

My exact words were, in fact, "are you nuts?" Probably not the most polite way to go about it, but picture the situation - he's in a nice suit, I'm in a nice dress, we've just ordered some good food and we're sipping good wine. He's giving me the compliments, about how astonishing I am and how what I've been through would break most people. I say that's sweet, and give yourself a little credit for not being totally freaked out by all my baggage, and then he does it. He gets up from his seat, walks over to mine, gets down on one knee and pulls out the little ring box. He opens it up and asks if I'll make him the luckiest man alive and marry him. The whole restaurant has gone quiet and they're looking at us. It's ridiculous! That's when I lean over and whisper those three words without moving my lips. I also whisper something about getting up and not making it worse by drawing it out.

He does, and I know it's got to be intensely embarassing. There's some murmuring, and a waiter holding a bottle of champagne in a bucket looks unsure whether to stay or go; Doug takes a step in the waiter's direction and tells him that I don't like being put on the spot. Then he sits down, looks across the table at me, and says well, this is awkward.

Awkward? Awkward? Christ, Doug, I say, what are you thinking? It was just three weeks ago that I said I liked my life as it was, but he heard it differently, and since I didn't actually come out and say "I don't want to get married" and he had already bought the ring, he interpreted my words as being happy with him and not wanting someone else. Which is just ridiculous; I used the terms "identity" and "autonomy" and he's a lawyer, he knows what words like those mean. I was pretty clear, and that he's saying otherwise freaks me out, because I have to wonder if his not remembering that evening "correctly" means that "he" wasn't there, that maybe someone else's mind has taken up residence in his body. I mean, it's happened before, hasn't it?

He assures me that's not the case, in enough detail that I believe him. Still, I mean, gads, do you really want to marry a woman who, when she gets a few beers in her, still tries to pee standing up? Who is still in the middle of such an ongoing identity crisis that, should we marry, it's kind of an open question as to whether he'd have a mother-in-law or not? And, geez, getting married when quite frankly I'd been wondering...

Kate gasped at that, which is kind of fitting; I'd cut myself off, but of course had to finish with whether I'd started dating him because I was really attracted to him or because I needed legal advice. He said that didn't matter, that what mattered was how we feel now.

Still, he was hurt. Suffice it to say, we didn't order dessert.

Kate, of course, wanted to know why I didn't immediately call her; I said Mags had flipped out when I didn't tell her about Nat's pregnancy right away, so imagine what would happen if she found out about this third-hand? Fortunately, her boyfriend was out of town for a conference, so she and I went out to have a drink and a movie so I wouldn't be alone. I told her it was no big deal, but she was having none of it.

Kate was cool about it. We waited until after the movie to talk more, and she said she couldn't really blame me; she couldn't imagine being married to Doug. Said she was jealous, since she'd been seeing Dennis longer than I'd been seeing Doug and he still hadn't proposed. Of course, she Dennis hadn't had the weekend where he was away at a wedding without her that leads to an epiphany of some kind. Sure, I said, but that doesn't mean you have to drop a couple thousand dollars on a ring the next day. Especially since he must have heard my opinions on the whole diamond ring deal.

So, I asked her, where do we go from here? Babe, she says, I wouldn't know the answer to that question even if you weren't you. But chocolate ice cream might help us figure it out.

It didn't, but chocolate ice cream is worthwhile for its own sake.

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