Part 6: When Alan Met Sara, a Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast Romance (in 3 acts)
With Sara leaving for California in the morning, we wanted one more night together. We didn’t really want to answer all the questions my folks might have just yet, so we got a hotel room on the edge of town.
Still, Sara had to get her things from my folks’ house — and say good-bye to them a night earlier than expected. I’m sure they were already bewildered at all the goings-on (even just the ones they knew about) through the weekend, but they never said a thing.
Sara did want to tell my parents one thing quite specifically before leaving, though: “I’m not married.”
Did I forget to mention she was living with someone? Had been for 7 years? Wore a ring?
Um, yeah, I guess I didn’t mention that yet. This was someone whom Sara had loved enough that she had moved across the country to follow him years before, believing his vague talk of marriage through years of dwindling love and increasing abuse, both emotional and physical. Let’s just call this guy the Creep. And while there are certainly plenty of stories that could be told about him — and this is most definitely not his story.
So, Sara wore a ring on her left hand, and allowed people to believe she was married, though she rarely got specific. She let my folks believe she was married, but she had told me the truth early on, first revealing that she wasn’t married, then that she wasn’t happy, and finally that she planned to leave the Creep anyway. And that was even before we met.
My folks took the puzzling piece of new information unquestioningly. Sometimes, their faith in things working out amazed me. Often, it has served to sustain me, and certainly this time, we needed it more than ever.
We caught the hotel shuttle to the airport in the morning in what seemed like a whole new world.
We checked Sara in for her flight and found a coffee shop to sit and wait. I bought her a muffin, since she had hardly eaten the day before.
“It’ll probably take me a couple of months to do everything before I can move here.” She picked at the muffin, nibbling a few bites as we waited. “I mean, I’ve got to quit my job, I’ve got to pack up, I’ve got to tell…” her voice trailed off and I took her hand.
I asked her if I could do anything to make her feel better. Looking up she said, “Maybe a real proposal?”
Yes, in the whirlwind of motions and emotions, I had forgotten the most basic step of actually asking her to marry me. I don’t know — maybe I thought I should wait for some “perfect moment” in our hyper-speed romance.
That’s when I realized that, sometimes, you don’t wait for the perfect moment— you make the moment perfect.
“Will you marry me?”
Brightening immediately, she said, “Yes.”
It’s a good thing our overall love story got off to such a great start, as I sure missed any chance at a romantic moment for my proposal. Instead, I asked my love to marry me over a half-nibbled muffin in an airport coffee shop.
Good thing it worked.
End of Act One — there will be a brief intermission…