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Getting To The Church
What Was The Question???
His nervousness during dinner and shyness over coffee in that small cafe in Summit suddenly was overcome by his anxiousness to leave.
He quickly announced, "Let's get out of here!"
It had become a rush to pay the check and leave. A simple reply to his statement caused a frenzy that further complicated his behavior. I was confused and slightly amused as this was an unseen side of him. I didn’t have a chance to ask what his statement meant before we were up and making a quick departure. We had spent time discussing weekend plans, work day problems and even the weather.
And then out of nowhere his awkward statement, “You wouldn’t want to marry an old man like me.”
I didn’t ask if it was a question or what it even meant.
I just answered, “I wouldn’t say no.”
He was now anxious to leave and it was clear he did not want to spend any more time talking over coffee. So, with no clarification of what was just said we were on our way to the car after tossing a tip on the table and paying the check. I was rushed from the restaurant to the car without a word and then kissed very passionately, before the car door was even opened. With an embrace, a kiss and a teary eyed smile we were beginning the journey of our lifetime. Why he had picked that place and time could never fully understood. He could never fathom my answer as being a “Yes” and worried a “No” would bring an end to what we had at that time. He wanted things to change but not to end. And, yet he could not ask the question.
Assumptions can be life changing, why didn’t he think of that. He was assuming I didn’t want things to change. I was assuming he didn’t want to make a commitment to me. I knew he wasn’t seeing Ruth any longer ( I never asked why, just happy he wasn’t) but he never asked me for an exclusive relationship. I was never introduced to his children and I didn’t even know if they knew about me. Something I would never ask him because I was assuming he didn’t want to share that part of his life. I wanted things to change but not to end.
Assumptions can be dangerous in relationships. Why, didn’t I think of that? He could only make an assumption that I would never say yes and I was assuming he would never ask. So, without a question and the risk of an answer of “no” no longer an issue he assumed we had just become engaged. This was confirmed later as we sat in the park at the end of my street and he began talking about us shopping for a ring.
He admitted he tried to ask several times before but would back off out of fear. We would go to some really romantic places and he chose a noisy, smoky coffee shop on Route 83 on our way home from Summit to make an attempt at a proposal. His explanation was that he needed to know right there and then.
Fear does strange things to us. He was afraid of ruining the romance of a starry night. He did really try to make our dates perfect and romantic. A no to his question of marriage at the end a perfect evening, he admitted would have devasated him. But, a disappointing no at the end of a bad day at work had a very right fit to it. A not so perfect ending for a far from perfect day.
What He Attempted To Say
His disappointment did come later as we sat on a bench in the park at the end of my street and I said “No”.