Five years ago, I asked for a woman’s hand in marriage. Thankfully, she said yes–and we’re still married (most of the time happily!). But that night ranks as one of the worst experiences of my life.
I knew I loved Sarah, and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. But I was also scared to death of making the wrong decision. When you buy a car, and find out you don’t like it, you can get a new one. Career? There’s always more college. But a wife? I don’t prescribe to our culture’s attitude of pre-nups and marital warantees. It isn’t worth diving into a marital commitment without thinking through every possible element–which I did too much of. Anyways, we went to a small Italian place in Vail (it’s since gone out of business). Ten tables maybe. And a bar. I didn’t eat much, and I had this nervous, flighty glance. We waited for a table for 2 hours. My heart raced the whole time, and she kept feeling my pocket–she never did before and never has since…what’s up with that? She claims it wasn’t on purpose, but it made my known surprise that much more vulnerable. After poking at my food for awhile we decided to grab a movie–the motivational Disney flic about the US hockey team beating the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. We sat on this red couch waiting for the ticket counter attendant to attend. Things are different in Vail I suppose. I fell asleep…twice. We decided that after a day of skiing that it was getting late. We made our way slowly back to the car. Do it. No guts. Do it. Less guts. Do it. Borderline diarrhea.
We finally get to the car, in a parking garage no less, when I tell her I wrote a haiku for her. Then I did the whole-get-down-on-when-knee-and-beg routine.
“Will you be my Mrs. J?”
We’re both teachers. The shoe fits.
She didn’t say anything for awhile and my knee was beginning to hurt resting on the concrete floor of the garage. “Well, do you want it? Me? Anything?” I’m such a romantic. I’m especially good with patient words. She said yes and cried and I opened the door for her. “I’ll be right back.”
I dodged behind another car and puked like there was no tomorrow. It had been a stressful school year, and so we were both accustomed to this type of behavior. But c’mon, on the engagement night? But I had worked myself into such a tizzy that vommiting was really the only possible outcome to such a stressful night.
I climbed into the car, and quoted Strange Brew: “I’d kiss ya, but I got puke breath.” She gave me a piece of gum, let it do its thing for a bit, then kissed me. What a wife-to-be.
Five years later we are in Vail again on Valentine’s weekend. We had hoped to go to a movie. We still laughed that I threw up. We still laugh at how insecure and unsure I was. All these memories and what happens?
A rota virus infultrates our condo sending everyone to toilet therapy. So much for romance. This is perfect–five years later, when I’m ready for romance, and all my wife can do is throw up. Carefull, Jacobson I say to myself. Because the next day, it was me.
I’m glad I hadn’t planned anything (besides a date for just the two of us) because it would have been ruined. But we did have an opportunity to take care of each other, to be completely sacrificial. And that beats anything you can buy at Halmark.