I will forever remember Easter 2009.
But I’ll remember everything chronologically. Starting with our first date on Friday February 13th. After drinks at the wine bar, he proceeded to introduce me as his girlfriend. Then Valentine’s Day. I won’t forget watching the Bachelor and getting a bouquet of roses. I’ll remember him introducing me to his landlord and gushing, “This is the love of my life Catherine.”
After our fight, his card preprinted, “You. Right in the center of my everything. Right where I love you to be.”
Then his own words, “You are the most important thing in my world! Always know that… I love you! Dean”
I’ve tried to keep movie stubs and matches. This past weekend, our linen napkins at an upscale restaurant were tied up in silk ribbons and I kept both of them in my purse. We held hands and sipped wine while waiting for our courses. He would smile and look down at me. I could never look at him very long. I had to turn away. I knew the tears would start flowing. I was so happy. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.
I’ll remember laughing as I followed Dean out of a jewelry boutique in a Scottsdale shopping center. It was his idea to browse the engagement rings. I picked out my favorites: 3-stone settings, Asscher cut, band of diamonds. “Those aren’t engagement rings!” He huffed.
“Yes, they are Baby. They come in all different styles now.”
“But those aren’t the ones I’m used to. My mom and my sisters wear very simple rings with a diamond on top. Just a band and a diamond on top. That’s an engagement ring.”
The sales attendant smiled, “Sir, these are all engagement rings.”
“I don’t know what those ones are, but they sure aren’t traditional engagement rings. No sirree. I don’t like those at all.” The attendant laughed. I laughed, too, but was embarrassed we were in there if he didn’t want to see what I liked.
Dean walked out and I bumbled after him. He looked distressed. “Coffee. There’s a Starbucks. Let’s go get some coffee.” We couldn’t even wait in line, he was so agitated. “Agghh, no coffee. There’s a P.F. Chang’s. Let’s go sit down and have some tea.”
The restaurant was packed. It was 4pm in the afternoon. The hostess sat us in the corner sandwiched between two large tables of screaming kids and flummoxed adults. Before I had time to scan the menu, Dean was up. “We’re outta here.”
“What? Baby, you’re embarrassing me.”
“We’re in the middle of Chuck E. Cheese. All I want is some peace and quiet with my girl and the hostess sits us here near the bathroom and a classroom of screaming rugrats. Let’s go. We’re outta here.”
I chased after him. “Oh gosh, Dean. Please, let’s try to be discreet. Let’s walk straight out of here and not say anything. This is so embarrassing! Oh God, is there no other way out except through the hostess stand?”
It didn’t matter that I was trying to be discreet. Dean blew our cover.
“Sorry,” he piped to the hostess. “THE AMBIANCE IN HERE IS LIKE CHUCK E. CHEESE!”
I turned bright red. I mouthed to the hostess, “I’m so sorry!”
Dean explained, “Look, Baby. I’m sorry I lost my cool. I just need to settle down. Maybe I can return the ring and all they’re charge me is a mere restocking fee.” I didn’t know whether he was serious or not. “But really, I guess I’m just used to seeing certain rings like what my mom and sisters have. I don’t know why I’m so upset. I mean, it’s your ring and you’re going to be wearing it forever so you should choose what you want.”
I do have certain visions of what I want my ring to look like. I’ll fully admit, I do online searches. I don’t want Dean spending a lot of money, but I sure as hell want to adore it. Nevertheless, Dean has given me everything I’ve ever wanted without a ring on my finger. I’ve never known someone to love me so dearly as a partner.
At the Easter festivities, he had printed out copies of my published story to hand out. He was so proud. I was so embarrassed, but touched.
I absolutely love this guy.