When Moose and I saw He’s Just Not That Into You a couple months ago, she turned to me and said, “You’re the exception. What you guys have been through, doesn’t usually work out for the rest of us.”
(For those of you who didn’t see the movie, in a nutshell (from Film.com): Those stories you hear where the guy ignored the girl for a month but then they wound up getting married? That’s the exception, not the rule. The rule is that the guy who doesn’t return your calls and breaks dates ISN’T the man of your dreams. The rule is that the guy who’s been living with you for seven years but won’t marry you ISN’T going to marry you. Accept those truths and move on.)
The more I broke down Scott’s and my relationship, the more I realized Moose had a valid point. In New York Mag fashion:
~Scott and I met in Europe four years ago, while both studying abroad on a post-grad program. Minus 3 for circumstantial fate being against us. It was never meant to work out from the start. Haha, fate, TAKE THAT!
~I had my best friend Megan in tow; we vowed to (Mom, don’t read this) make out with a different guy from a different country every week. Minus 2 for juvenile immaturity.
~Scott and I had already signed on to live together when we moved from Holland to Denmark—platonically. Two days after making that commitment, we drunkenly kissed for the first time at the European Parliament. Minus 5 for violating that golden rule “don’t shit where you eat.”
~We were studying abroad for Chrissakes; a) that stuff never works out, and b) neither of us wanted anything more than a fling. Plus 4 for low expectations.
~We both kinda had other people waiting back home, if you get my gist. Minus 17 just because.
~Nevertheless, being a girl, I wanted something concrete. I tried and tried to be his girlfriend (a title he finally bestowed upon me a good year-and-a-half after it all first started); he tried and tried to push me away. Minus 4 for him being a typical boy.
~At the end of our year in Europe, we had no plans to stay together. I assumed I would never see him again. And I didn’t…for seven long months upon returning. Minus 6 for him being willing to let me go like that.
~But after I moved back to New York, and he to San Francisco, we started talking—first, over e-mail a couple times a week, then more gradually on the phone, until we were texting all day every day. He then invited me to his cousin’s wedding in Hawaii as his date. Plus 6 for having balls (to cancel out him letting me go in the first place).
~When we finally did see each other again, we decided to go against the grain and date long distance—3,054 miles long distance to be exact. Minus 27 because, let’s be honest, long distance never works out. Plus 17 for the effort.
~But we lasted, duh, and saw each other every five or six weeks, thanks to red eyes and a bit of flexibility in my schedule (though I was working an office job at the time). Plus 8 for dedication.
~On one visit to see me, over a particularly romantic dinner at Union Square Cafe, Scott asked me to move out to California. Finally. I told him I would, but that he had to wait 10 months. Plus 10 for sticking my ground.
~I did move out on the exact date I first said I would, and right in with him. We had lived together before, sure, but this was totally different: new city where I didn’t know anyone, new circumstances, new Cat. Minus 1 because again, never going to work.
~Did I mention the whole part on the complete clashes in lifestyles? Him coming from a very liberal, non-religious family; me from a hardcore, Southern Baptist Republican set in the heart of the Bible Belt? Yeah, those kind of stifling differences rarely make for a lasting relationship. Minus 8.
~But it did work—obviously—making all my careful calculations above moot. Plus a bazillion and 71.
Moose was right; I am the exception. And a damn lucky one at that.
We had never once talked about getting married, not one. Single. Time. Well, to be perfectly honest, I tried, broaching the subject over sea urchin gonads on date night last month. When talking about our future, I found the perfect hole to slip in the eternal question: “So, um…well…I just think eventually we’re going to have to discuss where we see this relationship heading. What say you?”
Crickets. *chirp chirp*
And then from him, an “I really hate how fancy restaurants always serve raw sugar with your coffee. It never melts properly.”
Awesome. I finally get the nerve to bring up The Topic—without ever mentioning the words “marriage” or “wedding” directly—and I get a slap in the face. For the rest of the night, I was too embarrassed to even look at him. I might have even cried a little bit.
Fast forward one month and some days. On our way back toward San Francisco after leaving the hot springs, Scott wanted to pull over and take a dip in a river. I was less enthused. The 90-degree heat bearing down on me rendered no motivation to do anything, except maybe take a cat nap. I was snippy. Every time Scott would pull over and deem a spot not good enough, I’d snap, “Jesus Christ, Scott, a river’s a river.”
We finally found the spot he’d been looking for in Auburn, about an hour west of Truckee. It was a deep quarry that we had to hike into to reach the river, and I don’t kid when I say the water—which was melted snow runoff from the nearby mountains in Tahoe—stopped our hearts every time we took a plunge.
On the hike back up, I was up ahead, as I’m impatient and Scott has a gimp knee.
“Hey, come here for a second,” he called. He was standing behind a big rock that blocked him from the other river goers on the other side of the quarry.
“You are not going to make out with me right here,” I huffed. “You know how I feel about PDA!”
“Kristin, just come,” he demanded. He never demands.
So I did. And, well, you can fill in the blanks on what happened next.
Scott said he had intended to propose over my birthday, when I initially foiled his attempt. Then when that didn’t pan out, he was going to try for the Cook Islands; however, last minute he was unable to go due to budgetary constraints. In March and April, I had another dozen friends or so get engaged, and he didn’t want to steal their thunder or deprive me of my time in the spotlight. Then I had to go and get drunk and bring up the topic for the first time in the course of our relationship, and it totally threw him off. He didn’t want to give anything away, and he didn’t. Rather, I was thinking we might just go on through life as domestic partners. Which would have been fine, I suppose, but this is much better.
“Finally,” he said, “I figured there was no perfect time, so I needed to just do it.” (After a few Tecates, that is.)
I disagree. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
**For all who asked to see the ring, there it is. It’s my grandmother’s; she left it for me when she died last year. I might reset it, I might not. One of the big diamonds is mine, the other will go to Kari. It’s in my mother’s possession in Tennessee at the moment, so I’ll finally get to put it on my finger when I see her next month. Scott did, however, present me with his own grandmother’s antique, engraved ring from World War II, so now I’ll have a piece of each of our legacies with me. How cool is that?