Just now joining? Read Part 1 first.
And then I started dating my best friend.
It was a time of constant discovery--a roller coaster of nerves, excitement, adventure, anxiety. And there was always something to question.
For in the movies, as I'm sure you are aware, love goes a little something like this:
Boy meets girl.
Boy falls in love with girl during a plethora of excruciatingly adorable dates, where everyone wears super trendy clothes and perfectly-timed cheesy lines are exchanged (under the moon, in front of a setting sun, during a gondola ride, etc.).
Something happens to thwart love. (girl discovers boy has made an ugly bet with a friend to date her, boy and girl discover they were each playing games with each other but accidentally fell in love but don't trust each other, boy discovers girl actually has a fiancee but he is terrible and she should obviously be with boy, etc.)
Love overcomes obstacle. (often in an airport, at the top of the Eiffel tower, even occasionally during a wedding when one is about to marry The Wrong One)
Annnnd end scene. (Happily ever after, of course.)
Oh sure, I consciously knew these stories were ridiculous (who actually falls in love over a radio show and flies and meets up in New York? Or how can I be so happy that two people each broke off an engagement for each other just because they each reached for the last pair of Christmas gloves and thus are Destined for Each Other? And who really believes that the girl that constantly runs away from love at the altar repeatedly settles down for a guy who cares about what kind of eggs she prefers? You get the point.).
But there is a certain comfort in the predictability and honestly, one feels a kind of justice has been served when Boy Gets Girl No Matter What Amen. And as much as I hate to admit it, these stories and expectations absolutely did shape my view of love.
It made any sort of personal assessment difficult since, you know, real life, is NOT a perfectly packaged two-hour rom com.
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, my experience was pretty darn close to Hollywood-esque-- first kisses on a starry night, a snowy drive just to be together for the holidays and sneaking wine into the park for a summery celebration.
But intermixed were scary times, sad times, heartache times, questioning times and just plain awkward times. Lots of awkward times.
I often felt fragile, exposed, and totally and completely overwhelmed.
But how do I know? I wondered. When will it make sense?
So I would look around.
"I'm not sure what to tell you," some friends would shrug. "For us, things just fell into place."
"OMG you guys are PERFECT!" others would gush.
And my head kept spinning, spinning, spinning.
I wish I could tell you I had A Defining Moment or had That One Conversation or realized This Life-Changing Truth.
But that would be me trying to pretty up my story, and I guess if anything, that is what I learned--that my journey, our journey, is one of highs and lows and hard times and good times, and to negate one without the other merely for story sake would be to misrepresent us.
And oh, it was hard.
To realize there is no template. There is no absolute affirmation that we are doing the right thing or meant to be or that we have what it takes. And that no one knows.
But what I can tell you with certainty is that through it all, even at the worst of times, I found myself clinging to hope. A hope that surpassed even the crappy times or the convoluted reality and urged me to believe and to keep fighting.
And Adam did the same.
And so, on a Friday night about 9 p.m. after he waited on a park bench for two hours and I arrived breathless and ooookay fine, UNSHOWERED, Adam asked me to marry him.
And I said absolutely YES!
And whoo-eee did things get interesting.
Part 3 to come soon. Thanks for reading!