So Do You Want to Get Married?
Marc Ginsburg at mgmgfilms sent in this great fictional story that I think captures and shows a lot of drama and emotion.
“So do you want to get married?”, she said semi flirtatiously, semi nervously, treating him to that warm, vivacious smile he always told her he liked about her while wanting to sew up for herself the rest of her life to avoid the looming dread of going down another dead-end road, an experience she felt she far exceeded her quota of. He smiled while feeling taken by surprise, wanting to allow himself to get swept up in the relief of being totally in her life, she in his, but knowing all too well the dread of losing himself, losing all his freedom and the way things always turned out differently. “No, I’m not ready to get married yet,” he said as he looked straight into her eyes with that longing sincere look that always won her over. “But I’m certain that the day will definitely come when I will ask you because I will want to totally spend the rest of my life with you, as you’re walking away after a fight and I feel so much tender love and wonder why I allowed myself to be so scared of commitment for so long.” He looked at her longingly, immediately feeling that a dagger had ripped through his heart, that she was now a million miles away from him, as though he had made that moment when he said he’d be ready to marry her come on in an instant by voicing that vision. But he also could see clearly that she had no idea about the turbulence in his heart, only that he had said no and that had probably killed any chance of the love he was now feeling all of a sudden working out. And his heart sank.
“Kaye…” He stopped, at a complete loss.
“It’s okay, Jordan.” She stopped, nervous. Then, “Don’t worry about it.”
“Uh… Do you want to…” It was just too difficult a moment.
She picked up her handbag and sweater and started to go. “See you later…”
“I’ll call you, okay?”
No response. No expression. She just walked out.
“She just walked out.” Jordan and his friend Lars were sitting in Starbucks.
“I been there,” Lars said to encourage his friend but also to give himself the good feeling of having been through it before his friend had. “I don’t think I would have had the guts to put it the way you did though.”
“Yeah, like no shit. A lot good that did.”
They just sipped their drinks and stared vacantly in different directions, catching glimpses of the women sitting in other little corners of the café and of the women standing on the line waiting to get their drinks, their backs facing them.
“Why do women have to be like that? You have to marry them. They can’t just be content with taking it slow, letting it evolve naturally.”
“Well, to be straight with you, Jord’, it goes both ways.”
“That’s only before you’ve slept with them. But there’s almost no room between sex and the altar it seems.”
Lars burst out laughing. When he finished, he said, “Never heard it put that way. That was precious.”
“I mean at least with us, there’s a nice slow progression.”
“I think it’s case by case. There’s a lot of women who don’t want to get tied up at all. Why don’t you go for them?”
“They all say that.”
“I think you’re just more into Kaye than you’d care to admit.”
“Yeah, I guess maybe I am. But… You think she’ll take me back and give it a second chance after what I said.”
“Yeah, I don’t think she’ll give up on you like that. She’ll wait until years of pissing her off in that way you have.” He laughs and pats Jordan on the back.
“Thanks a lot, Lars.”
“Come on, you set yourself up for that one.”
“I’m gonna get her back.”
“I mean, yeah, I’m dead scared of commitment after what I’ve been through in the past.”
“Yeah I know. But you’ve got to put the past in the past. I mean, she’s not Sheila. She’s not…who was that other one you were with before Sheila?”
“It doesn’t matter.” He wanted to seem like he’d been around the block a few times to his friend, though it was kind of ridiculous since Lars knew him better.
“Well, the point is, if you love Kaye, then get in the present with her. Just be honest and say you’re flattered that she wants to get married to you but you just don’t feel ready yet. I don’t think any girl would fault you or leave you for that. Well, actually, let me… not any girl. I don’t think… Let me put it this way… If Kaye wants to leave you after that then… Then you’ll know, this is not a girl you really wanna be with.”
There was an unsettled look on Jordan’s face, like he was just really struggling with not only what to do but how to feel.
“Listen, it just took me by surprise,” implored Jordan intently into his phone as he walked down the street. “I really do want to marry you. In fact, I want to marry you so much. Man, do I want you now. Listen, you don’t have to call me back. I’ll call you again. I love you my beautiful….” He hesitated. Nothing he said could possibly convey how he felt.
“Good morning beautiful!” appeared the words on the screen of his blackberry as he typed them. “How is my beautiful love doing this morning?” He stopped. Then, “I love you Kaye. You are very special.”
“I’m definitely going to buy you the most beautiful diamond ring,” he said, standing in a doorway. “I would definitely have bought it already. But there’s just no diamond I can now afford that matches how I feel about you. I hope you can understand”.
“Go get her, Jordan!”, a smiling passerby said as he slithered in between Jordan and the doorway Jordan was blocking, putting his hand up to high-5 Jordan.
High-5’ing the passerby back as he disappeared into the inside of the doorway, Jordan continued, enthusiastically, “I’m gonna drive you across the country. I’m going to drive with you all across the country and we’ll make passionate love in every state. Just you wait and see what good times we’ll have together. But if you don’t want to do that, I understand. Maybe you hate driving long distances. So I’ll just put the money instead into your diamond ring fund. Because I really love you. Okay? Bye.” Pause. Imploringly, “Love you.” He hung up feeling really satisfied.
“Hey!”, she said, really friendly, as she approached him at the table at which he was sitting.
Smiling profusely at her warm greeting, “Hey!”, he echoed back with so much force and enthusiasm that it was as if her “Hey!” was the echo and his the original sound. He reached out his right hand to run it through her hair and she moved away nervously. He went right for the jugular and quickly kissed her on the lips.
She maintained her composure while smiling and looking him in the eye and quickly sat down across the table from where he was sitting. Another couple, carrying food, walked by their table. There was a brief uncomfortable silence between them.
“I’m so glad to see you, Kaye.” He continued to smile. He held out his arms across the table to her, palms up, hands open.
She took his hands and embraced them with hers. She looked into his eyes seeming to want to say something but finding it so hard. A million thoughts seemed to cross through her mind in that moment. Jordan was totally transfixed, waiting for the ball to drop and hoping that it would be the kind of ball drop that would lead to a champagne toast. Suddenly, he couldn’t say anything. Everything was on her. Sensing that, she summoned up the courage to say something. “I really enjoyed your texts and your phone messages. I’m sorry I didn’t call you back soon enough. I’ve just been real busy.”
“Oh, I completely understand.” The relief he felt was so palpable, as too were the tiny glands of sweat that were almost pouring out of his face. He held onto her hands for as long as she would let them.
She then pulled her hands back. “You’re amazing”, suddenly her tone turning jovial, light and amused. “I mean here I was, putting myself on the line, trying to save you the trouble of asking me, to avoid the expense of buying a diamond ring, because I really don’t care about that,” tears started to form in her eyes (and the reality that she hadn’t been able to bear the suspense of waiting to hear a proposal had been killing her when she asked, was completely out of her mind now), “and you just said no.” Uncomfortable pause. “Just like that. Like it was nothing.” More comfortable (for her) pause. She smiled that light-hearted, jovial smile. “And now you’re so crazy about me that you want to run away with me…buy me a rock.” Her smile expanded and her teeth sparkled before him to his great delight. “You are something else!” She put her hands up in the air and then out at him.
“Kaye, I can’t begin to tell you how radiant your beautiful smile is. So how ’bout it? Kaye, I love you so much. I always have. You just caught me off guard.”
She held his hands in hers tightly, not wanting to let go. “I know Jordan. I know. And I want so much to say yes to everything, to just run to you, to hold you and never let you go, believe me I do.”
“Sounds like there’s some kind of problem.” Jordan felt a dissonant connect coursing through him between the brink of passionate rapture and total relief and the more realistically apparent dread of the hell of unbearable rejection and loneliness.
She sat looking at him with a serious expression and then looking away because she couldn’t bear the thought that she felt upon her the necessity of doing what she hated most and of not doing what she really desired most.
Jordan looked at her, trying to meet her eyes with his longing ones, suddenly feeling extremely uncomfortable and filled with dread himself with each passing millisecond of silence.
“Okay, Jordan,” she managed to say, her breath failing her, feeling that to speak required the energy as if to push a 1,000 pound weight. And then finally, “I just can’t.” The dead silence that ensued felt to both of them like both the relief of resolution and the pain of misfortune. But she pushed herself onward to say what she felt she had to. “I’ve been down that road too many times Jordan. I’d like nothing more than to totally lose myself in your love, to wrap up the security of being with someone who loves me. Believe me, it would be so much easier.”
Finally, for Jordan, the axe had come down and his look of apprehension seemed to be on the verge of turning to severe depression.
“But I’m willing to take the hard path and be alone. Until I can be really sure I’m with the one who’s right for me. And Jordan, trust me, I’m saving you a lot of trouble too. You deserve nothing but the very best, the one who’s right for you.”
“You are the very best,” Jordan tried to save the hope he had that already had seemed to have died in the space between them, knowing that his words (as when he had said that fateful “No” to her unusual proposal of marriage) were really for him, to appease himself that he was giving his present feelings his all whether there was any point to saying it or not. “And it’s damn worth it to risk that trouble for someone like you.” He realized that even in suggesting the possibility of trouble, he had again put his foot in his mouth and killed his hope himself, and wished he had lost his power of speech so that he could have remained quiet on that fateful day.
“You don’t really mean that,” came the fateful blow to his assay, as anticipated. “Jordan, listen to me.” She could see clearly how much trouble he was having with this whole thing. “If we were really meant to be together, you would have had absolutely no reservation from the get-go and you would have jumped when I asked you to get married.”
Jordan tried to defend his knee-jerk reaction but Kaye didn’t give him a chance to speak.
“I know it’s not easy to hear that or even believe it. And maybe someone else will be more tolerant and overlook that. But I just can’t, Jordan. And it kills me to have to say this because I’m thinking I….I know I must be coming across as a real bitch.” She breathed out deeply. “But I have to be strict about this. I’ve just been strung along too much. Maybe I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. But then, maybe I’d be making the biggest mistake of my life if I let you slide. Because you don’t even know how you’ll be five years, ten years, twenty years down the road. Marriage isn’t easy.” She saw now that he was getting her even though she also knew it was really tough for him to listen to what she was saying. “What will you do when the tough times hit. What if I get sick? What if you lose your job? What about just even ordinary things like kids, changing diapers and worrying about report cards? Will we be able to deal with all those things that come up united or will the fact that you hesitated now lead to some kind of hesitation to step up to the plate then? It’s not about just me, Jordan. It’s about a lot more. It’s about life. All the unpleasant things that we’ll have to face together. If the thought of marrying me was that tough for you, imagine what the thought of me not being in the mood for sex when you are because I had a really rough day at work and then had to deal with the kids’ problems? The mortgage? Having to put money down on two cars just to be able to get to our jobs without relying on the other one? It’s just… There are all kinds of….”
Jordan couldn’t listen anymore. “Kaye stop.” There was a missing piece to this puzzle. “I don’t believe for one minute that I am incapable of stepping up to the plate each and every time.”
“But the question is Jordan, how can I be sure of that?”
“Because I’m telling you.”
“You told me no. Now you say you want to get married. How do I know which to believe?”
Jordan felt trapped on this. Only this time he didn’t see a way out.