So, I pretty much knew Paul was getting me an engagement ring.
Every holiday, he tells Terra what he’s getting me, and every holiday, Terra taunts me with the knowledge of whatever said gift is. So when she did it this year, for some reason, I just thought, “I bet it’s an engagement ring.” But I didn’t say anything.
And then he kept dropping hints, although it was more like he just can’t keep a damn secret and made some statements that practically confirmed my theory. He’d mentioned the jewelry website he knew I wanted any rings to come from. He hinted at expensive Christmas presents. He even made a joke about dumping me, and I said, “And after all that money you spent on Brilliant Earth.” When I finally told Terra my suspicions, she pretty much confirmed it when she mentioned helping him pick out stones and the like.
The catch was I didn’t know what else he had planned or when I was getting it. Thanks to asking some very pointed questions, I knew it was being shipped to his parents’ house and not our apartment, so I knew that unless he went over during the week he had off from work–which he didn’t–he wouldn’t even have a chance of getting the ring in his possession until Christmas. And I obviously didn’t get it as a Christmas gift.
Now, I found out later that a few things slyly happened over Christmas in relation to said ring. First, he asked my dad’s permission, which I honestly think is kind of dumb, but whatever. And then he talked to my mom the next day and let her know it was happening at some point, though he said it wouldn’t be for Christmas or New Year’s.
Come Trans-Siberian Orchestra day, he mentioned he wanted to go up to Mt. Washington, but remember, it rained all day that day, so that plan got scrapped. It was only later–when I figured out the ring was in his jacket pocket, that I realized he wanted to propose up there. He’d also mentioned going out to the park a couple times, but that never worked out, either.
So then New Year’s comes, and we spend it at home, which is just what I wanted. The past few years, we’ve spent it with Terra, and as fun as that’s been, it was nice to have a low-key night in. My original plan was to drink an entire bottle of Christian Klay’s Summit Mist sparkling red wine, and then I realized after one glass I don’t need that much wine in my body–not because I was already drunk or anything, but just because that’s a lot of wine to guzzle in one night for no real reason.
Meanwhile, Paul decided that the following Saturday, we should go out to my beloved Green Mango in Monroeville for dinner, so you know I knew what he was planning.
But for New Year’s Day, we continued our family tradition of hitting the slots. Rather than coming out to Washington, my mom wanted to go to the casino in the mountains because she does better there, so Paul decided he wanted to go to Ohiopyle real quick beforehand.
Now, December had plenty of unseasonable warm weather, but as soon as January hit, that was over. New Year’s Day was cold, and ordinarily, it would not be a day I’d go to the mountains, where it’s even colder. But I bundled up and grabbed some reusable handwarmers, and were headed up.
We really weren’t out long, and there was a surprising number of people out and about, given the weather. We walked down to Cucumber Falls–but not all the way down because of ice and mud–and then we stood out over the big falls on the river. Paul told me later he was waiting for us to be alone, which was unusually hard that day, but that’s how we ended up on the big bike-trail bridge spanning the river. He got down on one knee in the middle, asked, I accepted, and then we said, “It’s cold as fuck, let’s go gamble,” except not in those exact words.
He designed the ring himself–it’s a pink sapphire in kind of a square cut on a white-gold band. It’s simple but really pretty.
Now, I’m not a fan of holiday engagements because holidays and engagements should be their own separate celebrations, but I’m pretty okay with New Year’s Day. It’s less cliche than New Year’s Eve, and it’s a little more like its own day. And there’s something kind of neat about entering a new year and a new life stage at the same time.
And so we gambled and lost, had brunch, and waited to see if my family noticed the ring. They pretty much didn’t, so I announced it before Brandon took off to gamble.
On the way home, Paul decided that the right thing to do would be visit his family, too, and as much as I didn’t want to do it, I knew he was right. And I did want to tell as many people in person as possible–but unfortunately, that doesn’t include most of my friends. So I let Terra know on our way down the mountain by sending her a Lord of the Rings Gollum “He went to Jared” meme, and her reaction was something along the lines of, “He finally fucking did it!”
We went for the same plan with his family as we did with mine–say nothing, see who notices. I’m not sure if Paul told his sister Emily or if she saw it and just waited it out, but either way, she did know and she had fun just watching things happen. One of the things that worked out well was their close family friend Miss Loretta was over, too, and I hung out in the living room with her, Paul’s mom, and Emily. Except Paul was off chatting with brothers and I didn’t want it to be this big thing without him there, so I mostly kept my hands in my pockets.
So finally, we’re sitting there, and I nonchalantly take my hand out of my pocket and nothing. At one point, Paul’s mom was actually standing right over me looking at my bitchin’ warm sherpa hoodie with my hand right there and she didn’t even notice. And Emily and Paul’s dad just looked at each other and laughed. It wasn’t till a bit later when she was passing ’round a candy dish that she noticed.
I knew we were gonna end up being there most of the night to begin with, but since not everyone was home, we decided to wait around from Jacob and Katie to get back. Which turned into waiting for Julianne to get home from work, although at that point, she was the only one who wouldn’t have seen us/the ring, and leaving before that didn’t feel right, especially when we had nowhere to be the next day and therefore had no real reason not to stay. His mom offered to let us spend the night, but nope.
They also tried to make his youngest brother hug me, and I was like, “Kid, I know people who hate hugs and I know you still don’t like your brothers’ ladies. You don’t have to hug me if you don’t want to.” And he didn’t. Poor kid.
We finally got out I think around 11 and came home and went to bed.
As for being engaged? It’s kind of weird and surreal. So is the word “fiance.” The ring makes me nervous because I’m afraid I’ll lose it–and I mean irrationally afraid, like thinking I’m gonna look down one day and the stone’s just gonna be gone or damaged to shit. It’s like the latest in a series of adult things that I think I’m too young to do until I realize that no, I’m really not. It’s like Imposter Syndrome.
I imagine actually being married is weirder, though. And that having kids is even weirder than that.