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our engagement


our engagement

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M, 

It's interesting to think that when I met my fella' we wanted opposite things from the relationship. I had been dating for a couple of years, keeping my eye out for 'the one'. There were some interests, but none with mutual reciprocation. So I kept on, with my eyes and heart open, waiting for the right man to come along, using almost exclusively a phone app to filter out contenders.  He messaged me almost as soon as he was back in the state. Having just ended an ugly relationship across the continent, he wasn't interested in anything serious, just casual friendly company (as he kept reminding me the first few times we hung out).

Our first date actually turned into three. I had suggested we meet at a pool hall, semi-private with something to keep us occupied, but conversant. Our game wasn't very impressive, and neither was the food. After a round or two he suggested that we go bowling. I don't remember if we ate there or not, but we bowled, though that game wasn't very impressive either. It didn't really matter that our games were lacking, because the company wasn't, and we continued to another event downtown, a hair show a friend of  his was advertising. 

It was held in the upper level of a sports bar. We tried each others drinks, or am I mis-remembering that, and danced to the music in our own little world. There were a few other people milling about, but our interest was fixed. We continued to hang out a few times a week, sated in each others company every since. Even though he wasn't interested in a serious relationship, I was happy to have him in the way he was willing to give himself, as a close, intimate friend. 

With his work for marriage equality, the question often came up "When are you two getting married?" We'd been dating for about a year by the time the movement hit its stride, and for most of our socializing we were known as a couple. My fella's response to the persistent question was "I'm not the marrying type." quickly followed by "but if I ever did, it would be to this guy" (meaning me). My response was usually delivered out of his earshot. "As soon as he decides he want to!". Early in April, after a year and a half of snugly evenings, social outings, and trips in the mountains and on the road, I knew that if he asked I wouldn't hesitate.

In July I had decided I needed to get out of Utah, and our relationship was a bit uncertain. Would he move with me? Was his mother independent enough after her stroke for him to leave? We weren't particularly conversant on the subject, both uncertain of how independent the other wished to remain. A few months passed before we finally addressed the issue, and finally expressed to each other that staying together was a priority for both of us. Even if there was a period of separation during the transition, we would end up together.

Marriage still seemed like sort of a tender subject for him though, so I was tentative in my approach. At the beginning of October, in our cabin overlooking Mt. Shasta, I asked him what about marriage he didn't like. This would be our big moment, I thought. We had just had a fantastic time explored our future home, survived a treacherous drive up a narrow road,  and were in as romantic a place as there could be. In our conversation I learned that the big issue for him is the conventionality of it all. Well, not being one for convention myself, I didn't have any issue in shunting all of that. Really, I only wanted to celebrate our relationship in a way that has direct meaning for us. But he still seemed a bit disinterested. I had made clear my position, but didn't want to push him. It was a week later, as we drove around looking for an open restaurant, that I asked "If we were to get married, how would you like to do it?"

I expected that he might have given it some thought, considering my seed planting the week before, but not really. He did ask what I'd want to do, and I presented a couple of suggestions, one of which he latched onto right away. In this mundane, backstreet setting I took the hypothetical a step further. "When would you want to do it?" and we had the date set less than five minutes later, on the four year anniversary of our first date. There was no need to even ask the real question. Just:

"So, whadda' think"

"I always said, if I was ever going to, it would be with you."

"Okay then."