I gazed at him, at my 21-year-old boyfriend of almost three years. I’ve known him for four years, and he and I have been through a lot, so much so that I could compare it to the twelve I’ve had with J. I guess it’s a recurring theme with my boyfriends: if the relationship’s not challenging, it’s not an option for me.
He was poured over a book, one that I probably won’t read since I wasn’t really into his kind of books. If I was into fiction (fantasy and YA, mostly), H devours non-fiction and (auto)biographies. His chosen read right now is Scar Tissue, an autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, frontman of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Previously it was Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, which he wants me to read, so much so that he had propped the book on my bedside table. (For the record, I have touched it, reading through three chapters already. Nighttime read.)
H looked so intense, chewing his lower lips, eyebrows bunched together. There were no signs of fatigue on him—the couple of days’ rest has been enough for his body to recuperate from the twelve weeks’ worth of tour that he and the boys had. Thankfully, they are on a break for some mere five days, and we’ve spent three of those quietly at home.
I smiled as images flashed in my mind, the montage almost similar to what was in the first ten minutes of Up. I could see me and H ten years later, giving our son a piggyback while our daughter is tugging his hand, demanding equal attention. He won’t probably be in a band anymore but I was certain that he would still be involved in songwriting and producing albums, which he really loved doing. Twenty years later and he and I would be dancing in front of our fireplace, waltzing to our nameless tune, our thirty-second dance tradition still alive. Maybe his band will have a reunion and they’d have one last tour and our kids and I will come along with him so we can explore the world as a family. Thirty years from now and his crazy hair have streaks of gray and white in it, which he and I will have fun dyeing to go back to the its old color under the supervision of CF, and he’ll be carrying our grandkid proudly in his arm.
I want to grow old with H. He’s good with kids; hell, he’s good with me. He handles me and my shit (excuse me for that term, but I can’t find a better description for it) so well. After our ‘break,’ he became better at balancing me, his career, his family, and his other extracurricular things (e.g., songwriting that is not involved with the band). Our communication lines were more open than ever, and we became closer. I’ve proven how much of a man he is and how much he loves me when he didn’t leave me and he stuck by me when I miscarried. He showed me that he could love me more despite and in spite of my imperfections.
He’s that guy. He’s that man I was waiting for.
I opened my mouth to speak but was unable to formulate the words, ending up closing my mouth instead. I think he saw me move because he looked up, an easy smile on his face. “Yes, luv?” H said tenderly, and I breathed deeply, totally going for it.
“Ask me,” I said, my voice unwavering but filled with emotions. “Ask me again.”
H looked confused for a moment, but it was replaced with a smile as the realization sunk in. He held up a finger, telling me to wait, and then he scrambled up the stairs to our bedroom. I heard him rummaging upstairs, and then thundering down a few minutes after. I waited with bated breaths, and when he emerged he was holding that trinket in his palm.
H’s run slowed to a walk when he got to me. He knelt before me, drawing huge gulps of air. He popped the trinket open, and I sensed some sort of familiarity with the ring even if I had only seen it once before. It still looked the same—the band encrusted with turquoise, the diamond at the center. I still haven’t quite asked him yet why he chose turquoise instead of our birth month’s stone amethyst, but there is another time for that.
I reached out and ruffled his hair, smiling at him as I whispered, “Hun, relax.” H nodded, trying to calm himself, taking three deep breaths.
“Shh, we’ve been here before. No biggie. Three times over, if I may add,” I teased, and he exhaled loudly. His eyes never left mine, and I waited, holding my breath, for him to ask me that question for what seemed like the fourth time.
“What made you change your mind?”
I frowned, and he laughed at the exasperated look on my face. He closed his hand around the ring, repositioning himself so that he’s Indian-sitting on the carpet. He was enjoying this moment, and I don’t really blame him—he did, in fact, propose to me thrice and I turned him down each time.
“Really? You’re doing this now?” I asked him, and he gave me a silly grin, wiggling his eyebrows, signaling yes.
I grumbled, and then I reached towards him, his face in my hands. “Because I’m ready for this now, bozo. I am ready to get married into your life, whatever that entails. You’re the man I want to be with, the man I want to have kids with, and I want to grow old with. I have always known that—I just wasn’t too ready to grasp everything,” I explained, and the smile on his face slowly disappeared, turning serious. I watched as he absorbed each of my words, every letter and meaning sinking in.
“I mean, the first time you asked me to marry you, we have just moved in together. The second time was during our second anniversary, which was in the middle of a crazy tour that you guys are having. The third time was because I was pregnant. They weren’t the right times or the right reasons, H, but now today, it is.”
I leaned in, touching my lips lightly against his. “I love you, and I always have and I always will. That’s why I want to marry you. That’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
H touched my forehead against mine, and then I felt his hand reached down to my left hand. He slid the ring into my finger, the new ring clicking against our promise ring, resting comfortably atop it.
I had a moment to examine how perfect this felt, but H already pulled me to a stand, his lips finding mine as I wrapped my arms around him.
When he released me, I finally checked the ring, and then I narrowed my eyes at him. “Will this be a theme, even for the wedding rings?” I asked, and he surveyed the rings with me. “I can make that happen,” he whispered into my ear.
He twirled me, hugging me from behind, his mouth still near my ear. “Can we talk dates now? I really want you to me Mrs. Smith as soon as possible.”
“Pick a date, hun.”
He whispered the date into my ear, and I grinned. “I have an idea,” I told him, and I twirled in his arms to face him, and we swayed in each other’s arms as we discussed our wedding plans.