We’ve come around, The Mc and I. (flashback link)
We’d picked non-matching rings out for ourselves months before I presented him with his. As a couple of adorable but still in it to win it technology dorks, the selection process was via an IM session while bouncing around on etsy.
Months after said selection upon arrival to Isle of Palms, SC for vacation we fell out of the car and went for our scheduled mani-pedi appointments at the resort spa to decompress from the road trip. After the appointment, as we were walking out of the spa across the palm tree and flowerriffic courtyard and to our room, I reached for his hand. We hold hands a lot. We’re cuddly and affectionate. Or needy. Either way, I had his ring in the palm of my hand and as we laced fingers, I slipped it on.
This weekend, he responded in kind and gave me mine.
The story is semi-delicious and a pinch of pitiful.
We’d gone by the condo Friday after work to check on the progress of the hardwoods that had been installed and stained last week, since our ENTIRE FUTURE hinged on them being just right. Kinda. As we were walking back to the car, he issued an order for my hand. Literally. Walk walk walk “HAND.” walk walk. I reached out and with some struggle he managed to put a ring on my finger, over my speed bump knuckles and sticky Atlanta-in-August skin.
It was pretty, and I was surprised and happy happy happy… but it wasn’t the one I’d picked. It had a pretty iridescent stone I didn’t recognize and I could tell within minutes it was going to hurt my neighboring fingers.
Let’s pause: have I mentioned I suck at receiving gifts? No? Are you sure? Because it should be right there in the “about me” and in the fun facts on the bottom of my resume.
I think it started when my brothers convinced my father to give me downhill skis (+ boots, bindings and poles) for my 15th birthday. They were the skiers in the family, not me. I was ruthlessly and quite vocally disappointed.
So we talked about it Saturday when we got home from a night out with friends (who I am not allowed to write about under penalty of I-don’t-know-what) where we determined the stone was an opal and the truth was he’d originally bought me a different ring that never arrived.
That night, home on the couch, I said something like this (as discussed ad nauseum in therapy): “I want feel like you to love me so much you can’t stand it. And I want you to ignore [sometimes] stupid stuff I’ve said about likes and not likes.”
In addition to being a crappy gift receiver, I’m also a brat. I don’t mean to be. There’s a part in me that’s broken, the one that acts as a governor and translator between when you want to say and what you should say as well as the part that pretends it doesn’t need to be fed but in reality could spend a month at an emotional Chinese buffet and never get full.
So Sunday afternoon when all I wanted to do was sleep, he forced me out of bed and to one of my favorite places for a walk: Sweetwater Creek State Park. I assumed it was in the interest of my muffin top and went grudgingly, falling half asleep in the car on the way there. He should have opened the door and shoved me out, but he is terminally kind and encouraged me gently.
I love that place. We walked, we chatted, we got sweaty, we adventured down on the creek bank. I picked up the discarded home of a wee water critter that looked like a blue baby clam shell. I longed to have my camera with me, because the water had risen since I’d been last winter and the ebbs and churn were too painfully beautiful not to capture. We paused at the top of a hill after seeing a doe who had stopped for a snack on the trail then bounded through the wood at the sight/smell of us, and we plopped down on a bench and listened to the wind in the leaves. He cuddled up and with his cheek to mine said “this is how much I love you”, and pulled a box into view. A little black box from a place I mentioned in passing three years ago with a perfect silver bow.
He’s still a prince among men with a heart too big and good for the likes of me. I’m still a turd with a broken brain who adores him for so many things…not just that he gets me as evidenced in this tale.
Together? We’re as close to official as we’ll probably ever get…with a couple of full circles on each of our hands. The journey is hardly over and yet it seems – somehow – complete.