The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

When it was just us two

on October 7, 2013

I suppose it’s inevitable that after three children and approaching Middle Age, my locks are looking less than lustrious. Yet as I was looking in the mirror this morning and asked Husband whether I was losing more hair or if it were just the harsh lighting, he said ‘No, you’re definitely losing your hair, that’s how mine started’. Pause. ‘Only joking!’. Really? How is that even funny. Then I asked him, ‘Do you remember what day it is today?’. He thinks he knows, ‘The day after our wedding anniversary’, he answers decisively. Pause. ‘The day we got engaged’ he amends. Yes, and I was going to write nice things about you in my blog today but I think I’ve changed my mind.

At moments like this morning and even worse moments of being trapped in a small space he’s filled with fart fug, it’s hard to believe that seven years ago, this same man got down on one knee and proposed marriage with a ring ready and everything. Yesterday, I talked about our Wedding Day and you may have noticed I didn’t mention a whole lot of slushy stuff about Husband. It’s because there’s a Chinese part of me that does not do Public Displays of Praise and if I’ve got stuff like that to say then do you really need to know about it? I think Husband would rather hear it from me than read it somewhere else.

However, before the frenzy of wedding planning and public declaration of commitment, there was that private moment just the two of you knew for certain that this commitment was for life. (Let’s not bring up the statistics today). Although I consider myself a forward thinking almost feminist, I waited to be asked. The point of getting married had been discussed before, perhaps the year before it happened because it’s good to know that you are going somewhere and not just drifting along as you can do in your early thirties without much happening. But when it was going to happen was the mystery.

In 2005, we spent a lovely festive season in Florence. A very good proposal setting if you need some ideas. Loved Florence for the art history, the museums with the statue of the naked man, the churches with traditional nativity scene and the gorgeous Ponte Vecchio conveniently lined with jewellery stores. It wasn’t here. Neither was it at Pisa where the tower really does lean and lots of tourists painstakingly spent much time getting that comedy photo of them propping it up. Fun. Although it may have seemed an ideal setting, it wasn’t going to happen somewhere that seemed obvious Husband later said.

When it did happen, it actually did take place somewhere obvious come to think of it. Down on one knee, on a deserted beach in the dark (so there would be no witnesses if he was turned down), with the waves crashing against the shore and after dinner so no distractions caused by hunger (mine apparently). We were on holiday in St Lucia and it would have been a fabulous holiday even without a gem to take home with me. Loved St Lucia for it’s Friday Night Fish Fry, the Pitons for amazing climbs to the summit and the live volcano for real hot mud baths even if you do pong of rotten eggs afterwards. It’s a gorgeous island; so beautiful and relaxing with amazing views and our first fancy holiday. When we first arrived we stayed at the Ginger Lily in Castries, and we marvelled at how the towels were made up like swans and that rose petals were strewn on the bed which actually isn’t that practical when you have to pick them off and then they go all brown. The second part we stayed at Crystals (www.stluciacrystals.com) owned by an unconventional British expat of indeterminable age. We had a view of the ocean and the Pitons from our hut. Really spoilt. Then of course we had to be the hapless tourists who drove down into the local town and had a local just casually open the back seat door and climb in claiming he worked at Crystals and he would be happy to give us a tour around the area. Can you imagine this happening in many other places? He was quite knowledgeable actually and if I’m ever stranded on a Caribbean island I know to find me some hibiscus blooms that will lather up rather nicely to give me perfumed clean hair. For his time he asked for nothing but a hospitality beer. We found out the next day he was nothing to do with Crystals and on our penultimate day when he tried to play the same trick again, we were wise and told him in no uncertain terms we had already been had before.

I like to know that the whole caboodle of getting engaged was completely work of Husband. I like how he made the nervewrecking decision of choosing the ring by himself which I like very much. What is there not to love about a precious gem? I like how he thought solely of me in making these decisions and had a plan made up all by himself to surprise me. How often does something fabulous happen unexpectedly? The rest of the holiday was spent with only us knowing our news and it made us giggle (well just me I think), with excitement and happiness.

It’s an overwhelming feeling being newly engaged. You’re moving on and taking another giant step to becoming proper grown ups. It helps that some of your close friends have already made that move. It feels less like you’re breaking ranks and changing the social flow. But I remember feeling almost embarrassed breaking the news. I think it must be to do with the focus of attention you find yourself under and then all the questions that follow regarding wedding plans. Answers you don’t have because you’re still getting used to having a ring on that finger and you haven’t been out to legitimately buy that first Wedding magazine yet.

It’s that first step to feeling the full force of good wishes that the people who care about you hold for you. And for a few glorious weeks (if that) when Husband was still feeling the full romance of it all, there was wondrously no entrapment in small spaces filled with fart fug.

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