“Will You Marry Me?” by J.S. Foote
“Will you marry me?”
This was my answer to my fiancée after he proposed to me this past Christmas. To be honest, it was the first thing that popped into my head. “Thank you.” But looking back on it, away from the surrealistic energy that springs with an earnest marriage proposal, it is to me, and especially for me, the perfect answer.
To be honest, I never thought I’d get married. For me the R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P thing just didn’t happen. There are probably a thousand reasons why, most of them the run of the mill angst that you read about everyday. The “I focused too much on unavailable men” quandary. Or better yet, the “I didn’t project that I was available myself” quandary. For whatever reason, or for whatever symphony of reasons, for many years more often than not, I found myself single. But I was a good single woman. For the most part, I didn’t allow it to bother me. I could walk confidently into a wedding alone, no problem. I traveled by myself to Australia, Africa and Zanzibar, and really only regretted it once, when I saw the Southern Cross for the first time and looked around and realized that I, truly, had no one to share the moment with. So yes, I did have some lonely times. But somehow in those years I managed to defy them. I got a dog. A couple of cats. I created a strong network of girlfriends, who, after one particularly hard heartbreak, I nicknamed the “Superchicks”. I wrote my first novel, The Heart of Annie, a love story that at its core was a story about broken people reengaging in life. I kept my chin up and tried to stay strong.
Then, one day, it all changed. I had been appointed president of my high school alumni association, and was organizing my first event. I did everything I was supposed to do to drum up alumni attendance—posted it on Facebook, drafted overly excited emails with lots of exclamation points. But on the day of the event only one other alumnus showed up (well to be exact, only one other alumnus who didn’t already have kids in school, so had to be there anyway). The man, who—some 17 months later—would become my fiancé. How, in a soul whose hope has dried to dust, did such a pivot take place? I can only describe it as a synchronistic magical moment when he was assertive, I was open, and we both had a lot of time on our hands (I was writing the first drafts of The Heart of Annie; he was in school, getting his master’s degree). In a word—and be prepared, as this will be unsatisfying to most singletons out there—it was luck. Well, luck…and just enough courage to leap at luck and catch its tail as it finally flies past you.
And so now, and until death parts us, I am happily paired with my significant other. And I am grateful each day for the love I get to experience with him. Yes, we are still in the early blissful stages. It’s true. But I have luckily found myself in a sweet relationship, where we try to be kind to one another. A relationship in which I’m slowly adjusting to the idea that being dependent is not altogether an unwise choice, if such dependency is actually the vehicle through which you allow yourself to truly trust another person. Of course there are times when the ideal takes a sidestep to reality. Like any couple, we compromise for each other. He has to deal with a post-40-year-old who missed the lesson when she was 7 on picking up her clothes. I have lost 15 pairs of shoes to his, now my, dog. Yes, some of those shoes made me look a bit hippy, but I distinctly remember eight pairs that I really, really liked. But we have both been in the trenches long enough to know what we have found is special, and when it comes down to it, the money I spend on replacement shoes probably, if I were still single, would have been spent on less than fruitful online relationship sites. At least with the demise of my shoes, I also get a daily cuddle.
And for all those reasons and more, the first thing I thought of when he proposed to me was the word “thank you”. Thank you for having enough faith to want to spend the rest of your life with me. Thank you for introducing me to such a deep level of commitment and love, one that for the first time makes me feel safe and secure in myself. Thank you, let’s be honest, on nailing it with the wedding ring. And thank you for your gentleness each day, your elegance, and your wicked sense of humor.
Thank you for finally coming in to my life. And yes, I will marry you.
J.S. Foote is a writer and lawyer living in Austin, Texas. Before relocating back to Texas in 1998, she worked as an editor at Family Life magazine (published by Wenner Media, LLC and Hachette Filipacchi Media, Inc) and as a writer in New York City. The Heart of Annie is her first book; she is currently at work on the sequel. Follow her on Twitter twitter handle is @JSFoote.
Learn more and order your copy of The Heart of Annie here.
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