Apologue #44: Timing is a Bitch



Kids, your old Aunt Robin knew exactly what she was talking about. Timing sure is a bitch. It’s as if the heavens didn’t have enough to gloat and laugh about from our own daily miseries and decided to add the concept of “perfect timing” as the tip of the iceberg in trying to ruin our decent lives — correction, relationships.

This is the story about how I was once engaged to a wonderful man named Zachery and how horrible our timing was. Zachery proposed during the spring semester of my freshman year in college. Yup, fresh out of high school but fresh into college — what a genius we both were.

It was a time when we were too young and naive to know anything better. Our youthful hearts got in the way of everything and we truly believed that love will solve all our problems. But in all seriousness, we actually planned it out and thought it was a good time. We weren’t that stupid. It just seems those times were ignorant now that I’m wiser and older, or whatever I am now.

I was a freshman starting my pre-med program and he was seven years older and working on his Ph.D towards electrical engineering. We were two nerds in a pod. And frankly, it didn’t bother us much. We’ve already been together for almost two years so school was already much part of our lives. We were just happy to be in the same school together.

We as a couple didn’t do much when it came to the romantic essence of things. We studied, ate, and fell asleep on desks most of the time. He and I were both new to the town and starting fresh, so we didn’t have much friends to hang out either. But it was okay, we pretty much felt married anyways, nagging and all.

After accepting the proposal and planning the wedding we tried to be logical and realistic to the best that we could. We knew each other too well and we both knew that as much as we wanted to be married, the now aspect of things wasn’t a good time. We decided that there really is no use rushing and being the considerate gentleman he was, he knew I needed lots of time to pull off my dream wedding. So, we decided to get married after I graduate from college — he was willing to wait 3+ years for me.

There was never a trace of guilt for having to wait on each other for that long. I wanted to finish school first and at least try and find a decent job and he agreed. He wanted to get most of his program done too before having to worry about marriage life. We managed to be negotiable and understanding as best as we could.

It sounds all good up to here. He was perfect and I was dandy. But time — never holds still for anybody. It wasn’t long, probably half a year, when he started asking funny questions, such as, if I could graduate earlier, what kind of career path I’m looking into, where would I likely want to live, etc. Then he started asking if there was any chance of moving the wedding to an earlier date. I don’t know why, but I started seeing red flags everywhere and I couldn’t explain to myself, why I would in the first place.

I really loved Zachery, I really did. I really wanted to marry him, I truly did. But it scared me to death every time he brought up the topic of bringing up the wedding sooner.

It wasn’t until one day, he went out of town with a couple of friends for some man-time, when he suddenly to call. Naturally, I figured that it was a call about him hitting the road soon or to not wait up. He called to tell me what a great time he was having with the boys and of course, he’d be late but to also check the text he’ll be sending after we hang up. Sure enough, a picture text came and behold, it was a photo of some house. It was extremely beautiful and mesmerizing until I see his text that reads, “I found our dream house. Should we buy?”

I didn’t think he was serious so I brushed it off until he the next day when he asked how I liked the house again. I exclaimed how beautiful it was and asked how’d he find it, but in all seriousness, he asked again if we should buy. I was dead in my tracks. I couldn’t breathe a word to him. I just blankly stared not knowing what to say. I was like a deer in headlights.

He then started raving about how the house is perfect in his ever so excitable voice, and how the city is right in the middle of his parent’s place and my parent’s place so the drive on both sides wouldn’t be too long and unbearable. He then started saying it’s a good time to go ahead and buy it now if we like it so much and then we can move right in without having newlywed troubles of finding a place to go. And he was convincing me that he knew that as soon as he saw the house, he knew that I would love it because it looks exactly like the ones I used to describe on the top of my head on how the porch looks like, or what color it was, or how big the driveway would be.

Zachery really was a great man, and enthusiastic at that. I felt really guilty but it just wasn’t the right time. Rushing everything made me feel as if everything in my future was already predestined because he was taking full control of everything. I didn’t feel happy but more panicky and full of stress and anxiety. I wasn’t relieved that he was being assertive and actually doing something and planning a life for us. It may sound selfish, but this is our life we would be spending together until we die, why weren’t we doing this together? And why on earth is he suddenly rushing when he promised he could wait? What possibly changed?

I tried to persuade him the best that I could that buying the house now isn’t the smart thing to do. We wouldn’t know if that city is where we would be 2-3 years from now after we graduate. We wouldn’t know if we would be able to find good jobs that we like in that city. We just wouldn’t know of anything that could possibly happen that could deter our futures.

Zachery, of course, didn’t buy any of that. He went on full macho-man-mode and started going off, “If we’re going to get married anyway, why not sooner so we have more time together?” or “Are you having doubts about this marriage?” or my ultimate favorite, “Do you not love me anymore?”

In the end, without my consent, he bought the house. I believe that he still owns the house but whether he still resides there is unbeknownst to me since it has already been years since we broke up and ended all forms of contact. But when we did break up, not even two days later, he resigned from his workplace, gave up on his degree program, packed up and moved into that house.

As much I know how much (or maybe not so since I am not him) pain that I inflicted upon him, it hurt me too, how much I had hurt him and literally broke him. As much as I wanted to be honest and tell him how afraid I was on the rush, or how I wasn’t ready as he was about this kind of commitment, maybe we could have found an understanding, I will never know.

Maybe if we had met later in life, it would’ve been better and not end like this. Maybe if we had fallen in love later, much later — after we became good friends, I wouldn’t have lost him forever. Maybe if I was stronger and not so emotionally weak and tested, maybe if I was wiser and older and knew what was right and wrong and be able to say it — he’d still be my life and not an empty hole from my past.

I blame it on timing. I really do. I’ll be dead honest when I say that I’d be lying if there weren’t drops of insecurities and hairs of commitment-phobias, but the timing wasn’t right for the two of us to make those kinds of great decisions at such a young age. I wouldn’t have been able to even drink a toast to wine on my own wedding for crying out loud if I had fallen through and gotten married earlier than planned. But of course, who knows if I’d have ended up happy with three kids on my lap by now as I write on my blog.

Nonetheless, as much as I cared for and loved Zachery with all my heart, having that ounce of doubt and dodging red flags meant something, and I probably still would have made the same decision if I had to relive that moment again. I’ll be honest when I confess that I believe I won’t meet a man like him ever again. He’s indeed very special.

Just wish that timing would have thought so as well.

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Apologue #40: That One Time I Got Proposed

This one used to be a painful memory but is now considered a funny memory and a tale all my best friends enjoy hearing. Mind you, I’m not one of those people that go parading around town that I’ve been engaged once before but had to call off the wedding. It’s definitely something that is embarrassing, painful, and downright my business that you don’t have to criticize about. But let’s make it something that could “happen” to any of us gals.

My proposal was far from romantic but hardcore memorable. I will never be able to forget it. To this day, I still wonder why I said yes even though I ended up calling it off. I guess love really does make you blind.

I was about nineteen years old, give or take and was finishing up my freshman year in college. At the time, my boyfriend was in the military and constantly on leave. In the three and a half years that I have dated him, we’ve spent more time apart than we were actually together. Most of our relationship amounts up to instant messaging conversations at odd hours trying to catch each other (when he was stationed both in Iraq and Afghanistan) or e-mail each other as if they were like love letters. Skype hadn’t been invented yet and being able to catch him by phone was out of the question. Our relationship was built on a foundation of trust and respect for one another to have lasted so long.

But I can’t help but be honest that since we’ve had such a distance physically, there are of course, many times where we had awkward moments. This proposal was definitely one of them.

It was the third day since he got back from Iraq and he insisted that he wanted to cook me a nice dinner himself. I could tell he was trying to be romantic but I had no idea what he was planning. Long story short, there were flowers and candles everywhere and he got down on one knee and proposed the classic way I would have liked, like from any movie from the fifties.

The funny thing was the ring. Ladies, I’m not picky when it comes to the ring. Honestly, I hear about those 4 important “C’s” when it comes to picking out your ring and I don’t even know what they are. I’m not even embarrassed to admit it. But you know how people say you “know” when you see the right ring? Boy, ain’t that the truth.

When I saw the ring he got, I was literally speechless. The diamond was hefty. That wasn’t the problem. He personally designed it and had it custom made the way he wanted it (didn’t even know you could that), and it was painfully horrendous. Of course, I didn’t say anything to him directly, but it was definitely a ring I wouldn’t wear in public. Gentleman, as lovely and sincere, of the idea of you personalizing our ring to make it the only ring in the world is romantic, but unless you’re a designer, let’s leave it with the jewelers. I’m not trying to be mean, but really, this is the ring we’ll be wearing on our finger the rest of our lives till we die. It doesn’t have to be a rock, it doesn’t have to be an ice rink where my friends and I can go ice skating in. Let’s keep it normal.

But as fate would put it, the Heavens were on my side that night. The ring, didn’t properly fit. It was a size too small. I had no idea what size my ring finger was, so how could he? He did get awfully close though. When I asked how he did it, this will be the part I am contemplating whether to tell my kids and grand-kids in the future about.

He knew I had chubby fingers and I used to complain to him about it often. So he knew a typical 5 or 6 would just not do, but was still very lost when looking at so many sizes at the jewelers. He had to make a wild guess but didn’t know how to do it. He confessed that the day before the purchase he was at the grocery store and was in the hot dog isle and placed his bet that maybe, JUST MAYBE, this might work.

OH. MY. GAWD.

I screamed with laughter so hard I couldn’t breathe right for four days. To make me feel better, he did say that he ended up going with the skinny hot dogs that fit the length of the whole bun compared to the regular ball park hot dogs. But nonetheless, I will forever be the girl that got proposed with a ring that fits on a hot dog. I’m glad the ring didn’t fit because of the skinny dogs he chose to go with but can you imagine the horror and the endless stories if he chose the ball parks and that ring did fit??

This is exactly why I should never get married. 😀

Apologue #23: Sick Days

I generally try to keep a “healthy as a horse” physique but today was just an unbearably painful day where I actually had to leave work after just a mere hour and found myself sleeping for half the day in the soft, warm comfort that is not a boyfriend’s arms but my beautiful queen-sized bed. I’ve been having these excruciating lower back pains for the past two days and I’m upset at the fact that I have no idea why I would have these problems in the first place. It’s not like I’m an Olympic figure rink skater or I do heavy lifting to dumbbells, so this is just going to pass as one of those mysteries that happens in the story of my life.

After my three hour slumber of blissful sleep and reading in bed, a small memory crept up on me that I had missed dearly. You see, I’m not the sickly type but I always do manage myself to get into a big mess of a flu every winter. I would always get sick right before winter finals in college and had such rough days pulling all-nighters and managing to score well on my exams. I usually like to be alone but I had a boyfriend in my younger days that would never, and I mean NEVER, leave me alone when I was even the teeniest bit sick.

He an only child with both parents always working so he grew up managing sick days by himself since he could remember, and so, he feels that when one’s sick, you should always have company because no one intentionally wants to be “alone” because that’s when you’re the most miserable and loneliest (plus you may need help getting more tissues).

He was the type that would cook me not chicken noodle soup but porridge from scratch. I don’t know many people that can actually do that; let alone, men. He made a mean cinnamon rice porridge and it was worth getting sick just to have a spoonful of it. After feeding me porridge and making sure I took all my medication, sometimes he would read me Harry Potter (and I am OBSESSED with Harry Potter) as I fall asleep. Other times he used to tell me stories about Roman mythologies. He was quite a storyteller. I read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology twice and so I fairly enjoy hearing anything about them. I don’t know how many times he’s read it but he was able to pretty much reenact the story to life; his versions of these tales were priceless.

So, sitting in bed and reading my book by myself, it made me realize just how right he was. Being alone when you’re sick really is miserable and you crave not attention but good company. It surely isn’t him that I miss but his stories and his effort in trying to make me feel better that I dearly miss and wish I had today.

I guess it’s fair time that I should find my own recipe for cinnamon rice porridge as I get back to my Mythology.