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On Engagement and Love
by Branden Hart
I’ve been dating Sarah for over four years. I knew for a long time that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, but just didn’t know how to propose. I thought of something grandiose—maybe take her to a restaurant, hire a band to play in the background as I sang to her. Maybe take her hiking, and at the top of Enchanted Rock, serve a picnic with champagne and give her the ring.
But that ain’t what happened. What happened is that a week ago yesterday, after a weekend of serious partying and a few Miller Lites, I blurted it out. I decided I wanted to wake up with her as my fiancée the next morning. It was a complete surprise to both of us. Don’t even have a ring. But we’re both ecstatic.
So I’ve been thinking about love a lot this week. Because it’s much different than I thought it would be. I mean, sure, we had our period of puppy love, where I’d write her poems and shit like that. But that wore off. We still get romantic occasionally, but most of the time, we’re just together. Being best friends.
I always wanted to marry someone who is a best friend, and I’ve finally found that someone. See, love isn’t about butterflies in your stomach or gushing at each other or being all over each other in front of your friends. Love is about one thing, and one thing only: mutual respect. Sure, there will be times when we do things to one another that are disrespectful. Do we hold that against each other? Hell no. Friends ask me why we never get into fights. It’s because we always forgive each other. I don’t understand people who get off on fighting with their loved ones and then staying mad at them, holding grudges. I’d rather go back to playing Wii, talking trash to each other, and just enjoying where we are together in time.
\Parents: try not to expose your kids to too many fairy tale love stories. For some reason, most kids can understand that violence on TV isn’t real. But the portrayals of love that we see—that sticks with us. And it’s all bullshit. True love isn’t like that at all. Fairy tale love is one-sided, but true love is complicated. It has levels—levels you have to nurture and care for. You should grow to understand the person more and more every single day.
I didn’t know what love was until I went to my hometown one night for a wedding and Sarah stayed back in San Antonio. The night I was there, I had a dream where I watched her die. I’ll never forget the horror of that moment, of what I had lost. I had lost a best friend. A best friend I can have really great sex with, but a best friend nonetheless. And it killed me inside. I must have called her at least twenty times that morning. Finally got hold of her, and she was ok. But it didn’t stop my mind from dwelling on that emotion.
When I got back to San Antonio, she came over with her friends. I burst into tears as soon as I saw her face. Fortunately, she has long hair so I just acted like I really wanted to hug her to hide my tears so as not to ruin my macho man image. That was when I knew what love is. It’s when imagining your life without someone is worse than death itself.
I promise, I’ll never get this sappy again, ever, in one of my FTTW posts. But this is what has been on my mind this week. No drunken midgets, no petting zoo expulsions. What I realize is that, basically, this is just the beginning. I don’t know where it’s going to go from here, but I’m excited. And I know I have my best friend along for the ride. I love you Sarah.
Next week: Drunken midgets going batshit crazy at a petting zoo run by a Bob Barker lookalike who makes his own moonshine and throws knives at squirrels for fun.