Trip 4 – day 6, hands (cont)

Read the first part of this post here:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/28/trip-4-days-5-6-hands/

As Wildcard told me about his brother’s predicament and what seems to be an abusive marriage where his brother is the victim, I could see how marriage and a move to another country would be a scary prospect for Wildcard. He has made comments previously when his parents have argued, or even a rather disastrous marriage for his cousin where his wife turned out to be pregnant with another man’s baby.

I condemned what was happening to his brother but I’m not afraid to say that I took the opportunity to put my beliefs across in my favour. I want him to be happy, I would NEVER stop him from contacting his parents and I’m definitely not violent.

His parents arrived home from the shops and our conversation ended. Whilst his game resumed, I thought over everything he had told me.

I turned to him and said, “you know I am not like her, don’t you? All I want is for you to be happy and I would never hurt you like that.” As she is Irish and I am English, I hoped that he didn’t associate the behaviours culturally.

He playfully teased that I hurt him every second of every day and again and in that moment I saw that his way of dealing with difficult situations is to use humour. I don’t know why I haven’t noticed this before.

I finally took my shower and contemplated everything that we had talked about, everything that had happened this week, past snatches of conversations and my ever-constant anxiety. And there, in the shower, stomach churning and body trembling from fear, I decided that I needed to push a conversation possibly neither of us was going to like.

Luckily, when I got out of the shower he was in his room and I busied myself with drying, dressing and make-up application whilst plotting how to broach this conversation.

Was I tempting fate? Was now the right time? It was time to find out.

Moving my now packed bags, I sat on the bed next to him. He put away his laptop, and then got up and left the room temporarily. He asked if I was ready to eat and I said no, I wasn’t.

I could see he was a little concerned – not like me to turn down his mum’s wonderful cooking – and he sat back down next to me.

“What baby?”

I could hear the concern in his voice. Now was indeed the right time.

I moved to sit on his lap and we kissed a little before he made his usual cheeky comments about me, and whether I had finished or not.

I huffed a little and lay back down, back turned, until he wrapped himself around me and kissed my cheeks.

“Why do you do that?”

“Do what baby?”

“Pull me in then push me away. Love me, then take it back. Why?”

He was a little stunned, once again rolled out the humour, but I stood my ground.

I told him that so many of the ‘problems’ I have, the ones where he says I’m making a problem where there isn’t one, comes from my not fully knowing how he feels. I reminded him that he has admitted he doesn’t show his feelings and so I have to guess, and often I guess wrong. I told him I was talking seriously, and he needed to be. He wasn’t, but tried a little.

He asked me what I thought, then. I refused at first: knowing that I could be wrong, hoping that this didn’t end badly and conscious that he may just try to make light of it, as he does. As usual, he pushed: as usual, I caved.

I told him that I knew he loved me but had no idea what his plans were for the future. I reminded him that we had now been together 2.5 years and we had not had a serious conversation about our future for some time. What was the waiting for? He said “next year”, half joking, and I told him he had said this before and reminded him of the June trip last year where the promised conversation never happened. He was surprised, and laughed a little, but I could also tell he was listening and my words were hitting home.

I told him that I knew he was afraid of marriage and he didn’t need to be, and I said I also understood he worried about coming to the UK and starting again, he was concerned about his parents…at that, he told me he didn’t want to talk about that now. He also told me that lots of people ask him why he is not married and that he is only one of two in his friendship group who aren’t.

I asked him again what he was waiting for and that if he had no intention of marrying me, he should let me know. By now, he should know. I reminded him of his jokingly pushing me away when I had mentioned it the evening before, and said that had made me feel like he didn’t want to marry me at all. He was shocked and said he couldn’t even remember the conversation- as he’d been half asleep at the time. He genuinely sounded surprised but I can believe it only to a point.

He denied not wanting to marry me and said we could get engaged when I next came and asked me about a ring. I told him that I did not care for expensive jewellery as such, and pointed out that the ring I was wearing was little more than twisted metal and a pearl and that I loved it. He took it off my hand and tested it on his own fingers to gauge its size.

He also continued to joke a little – hardly unexpected as this is his go-to in most situations. But then he asked me to marry him with my own ring, hesitating putting it on my finger multiple times in jest before sliding it on to my finger. He told me he would buy me a ring next time and we kissed.

I can’t pretend I fully believed him: he’d had moments of sincerity amongst the joking but he had put my own ring on my finger -hesitantly – and I knew no more in that moment than I did before. Often the situation which caused my overthinking. We stood up for dinner and as we did, I began to pull off the ring to put it back on my right hand. He turned and exclaimed, and I started crying… when he asked why, I told him that I still didn’t know anything.

He held my hands to stop me from moving the ring any further, kissed me and told me that he loved me and that we were engaged. I dried my eyes and followed him into the dining room, still shocked and confused. I didn’t know what to think. Was he serious? Appeasing me?

As I sat down, I pulled the ring off my finger and played with it, unsure what to do next. He came back in the room as fate would have it when I threw it on the sofa beside me, and he asked me what I was doing. I replied that I didn’t know where to wear it so I wasn’t going to wear it at all.

He asked which hand was for engagement and I told him, and he again told me to put it on that one. So I did, and there it has remained.

I’m not naive to believe that this is official and there has to be an element of him appeasing me at this point. To be official, we would need to tell parents and that didn’t happen as we ate across the table from them.

This is what I know. He would not have gone as far as he has unless he wanted to. He doesn’t do, or say, anything that he doesn’t want to. He could have shut down the whole conversational at any point but didn’t. Whilst he was his usual humorous self, there was some sincerity there. So all I can do is be appeased with this pre-engagement commitment and hope than whenever I go back, there is indeed a ring and an intention to tell people. Until that point, I can be happy that there has been some clarity between us, I’ve called him out on a few things and I feel better for it. But, I’m not telling anyone until that ring is officially on my finger.

No, it wasn’t the romantic proposal that my head constantly conjured, hoping that each opportunity would be met with a planned declaration of his commitment. I wonder whether, if I had said nothing, he would have kept this status quo until forced to do otherwise by another force. He is aware that this happens in my own country- people live together, unmarried, and even commented on my own mother’s situation which gave me this idea. However, he has always said he wants to marry me in the future. How long in the future that may be, is in his hands.

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