Catch up with part one here, and I promise to be done with this whole charade by tomorrow!
So I flew home after my work in Princeton finished that summer and took a trip with my family to our creek house in south Texas. It's a standard late August trip for us that we take with a group of family friends. The day my mother and I would move me to Los Angeles was only a week away, and I was apprehensive about getting the details straightened out, but I was enjoying some much needed time to relax on the river under the pecan trees.
One night on the trip I was playing Cribbage with my grandmother Nana June and she told me there was a surprise back home and she wasn't going to tell me what it was. She didn't say that the surprise was for me, and I assumed it was something involving her dog Duchess because well...most of her news involved Duchess.
She teased me for the rest of the weekend about this surprise, and I made a few guesses to humor her, but I didn't have an inkling of what the surprise was, and honestly didn't think I would care about it as much as she seemed to think I would. My brain was mostly preoccupied by this HUGE move to Los Angeles I was about to make and the fact that I would soon be reuniting with my boyfriend and all those good things.
One of the family friends on the trip was a girl we shall call Elizabeth. Elizabeth and I grew up together but we hadn't connected in a while, so she and I spent most of the trip chatting and watching our brothers cliff jump, shoot gar, and throw poison ivy at each other.
Elizabeth actually wasn't supposed to come on this trip. She was supposed to have moved six weeks before to South Carolina where her boyfriend lived. But, no, they had broken up...I got the story in detail.
She and her mother had packed up her whole life and shuttled her half way across the country so she could live closer to her serious boyfriend. Long drives with mothers apparently make for lots of good soul-searching or something because when she arrived she told her mother to go sit in the moving van while she went in and broke up with Mr. Not Right. They then turned the van around and drove right back to Texas.
She was still a little emotional about it, but she was certain she'd done the right thing. It had been hard, and she found out afterwards that he'd been planning on proposing, like had a diamond in his pocket when she waltzed in and ended things.
As you can imagine, the timing of this made it the scariest story I'd ever heard.
My mother and I were T-5 days from taking basically the exact same trip except we would be heading west on I-10 while they had headed east. I was a total deer in headlights. Complete inner turmoil. I mean, did I need a bigger sign? What did it mean?? Why would God let me encounter this most awful of stories right before I embarked on one that was so similar??
Eventually I stopped freaking out for long enough to answer Elizabeth's queries about me and Jacob. I told her about how awful long distance dating had been, about my plan to move to LA, and about how we wanted to discern the next step in our relationship.
And she interrupted, "Wait, you're not sure you want to marry this guy?"
I immediately felt very awkward and stumbled through some explanation about how we were still figuring things out and how our need to answer that question was precisely why I was moving to LA. Blah blah blah. I fed her all the things I'd been feeding myself over the past months about our situation.
As I listened to myself I began to understand the truth: I just didn't think Jacob was there yet.
Jacob never brought up matrimony except to tease. No questions about my ring size or strange contact with my father. No engaged in the fall married in the spring conversations. If anything, in recent months we'd spoken about it less than previously. I just plumb didn't think he was ready to marry me, and I really wanted us to be on the same page, therefore I wasn't ready to marry him either. So I routinely, methodically, and even therapeutically had been pushing that question out of my mind.
Because of course I wanted to marry him. I was just trying to be chill and go with the flow. It was a strange and even brave realization for me, and I blurted out. "Well, I mean, if he were to show up on my doorstep tomorrow with a ring I'd say yes."
I don't remember where the conversation went after that but I was simply making a point.
And THAT is another set-up.
Pay off tomorrow friends, because this mama is supposed to be sleeping.
(Part three here)