So, yesterday was kind-of a special day for Kyle and I. If you flip back in my journal to exactly 1 year ago, the entry begins like this: “Kyle Andrew Van Sandt asked me to marry him. I said yes.” What’s so special in my mind about his proposal is that it brought an end to a journey, a journey that lasted for an entire agonizing year, and of course, the beginning of a new one.
Go back to the summer of 2007. Kyle and I had been dating for around 7 months, living together for almost 6. (We move quickly in the Dietrich-Van Sandt household.) He had left for the summer to go work for a theatre in Oklahoma City, while I chose to stay in Decatur, work 4 jobs, and try not to throw myself into traffic. Being in the city all alone, with all my friends gone for the summer and a lot of time on my hands, I was a bit, shall we say, needy. So he might have brought it up just to shut me up. But regardless of why he did it, Kyle brought up the topic of marriage. He even started sending me links to various engagement rings. Needless to say, I immediately went batshit bridezilla crazy and spent the rest of the summer planning our wedding. I counted down the milliseconds until he came home at the end of the summer, because I just knew that he was going to jump out of the car after a 14 hour drive, throw himself on 1 knee, and present me with a giant ring. What actually happened is that he stumbled out of the car, threw himself on the couch, and spent the next 12 hours watching The Simpsons with his hand down his pants.
So we begin our senior year of college, and I forget about the whole thing until the beginning of November and our 1 year anniversary. We plan a very romantic dinner, the entirety of which I spend on pins and needles because now would be the perfect time to do it. Nothing. Maybe at Thanksgiving. No? That’s okay. Christmas is coming up pretty soon…
So the Christmas season is upon us, and we’re preparing for our trip to see the families. We’ve got our own little tree set up in our living room, and I can’t help but notice that there’s one more present than their should be under the tree. I already know what he’s getting me because he showed me pictures of it, (a Leatherman multi-tool, badass,) but there’s this little cylindrical box with my name on it, and when I ask him about it he just smiles a mischievous smile and says that I’ll just have to wait and see. So the whole trip I can’t stop thinking about that box, no helped by the fact that he keeps bringing up the marriage thing and how he’d like to have an autumn wedding. So after a week of traveling and schmoozing with the families, we finally get home to Decatur, and sit down to exchange our own gifts.
I open the first one, a Leatherman-sized box, and *woo-hoo* it’s a Leatherman. Awesome. And then I pick up the second box. And before I can open it, Kyle stops me and takes my hands in his, and says to me, “Stephanie, I just want you to know that you’re easily the most amazing woman I’ve ever met, the kind I can really see myself spending the rest of my life with. I just want you to know how much I love you. Now you can open it.” And smiling through my tears, I slowly open the box…
He got me work gloves.
Fucking work gloves! Now don’t get me wrong, I needed a pair, but not as much as I needed a fucking engagement ring! The look on my face must have been hilarious, because he immediately started laughing hysterically. Until I shoved the gloves down his throat.
So December passed without a proposal. So did New Years, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday, along with a hundred other days in which I woke up thinking, “Oh my god, today could be the day!” and went to sleep thinking, “Maybe tomorrow.” I started getting a little agitated; I took it upon myself to mention on the hour how many of my other friends were getting engaged, and that there’s no way you can plan a wedding in less than 6 months so if we wanted to do our autumn wedding we would need to start planning soon. And every time he would just smile and kiss me and say something asinine like, “Soon enough.” I started worrying that he wouldn’t ask me before my 6 month deadline; we’d set our hearts on a November wedding, and it was getting very close to 6 months away. Then I started to get depressed; maybe he was never actually going to propose, and was just saying it to keep me interested.
There was nothing special about May 14th, which is probably why I ignored the red flags that I picked up that evening. Sure, Kyle had brought home steaks for dinner, but I’d been disappointed that way before. And it was weird that he suggested that I go change into a nice outfit so we could go meet up with friends after dinner; these were some of my closest friends, I don’t have to fucking impress them. But by this time I knew better than to get excited. Except that actually, I should have. Because as we sat down to eat dinner, Kyle pulled a tiny white box out from the entertainment center and proposed to me.
Exactly 6 months and 1 day later, we were married.
Wouldn’t that have made a great ending? Too bad there’s more to the story. This is where I should probably mention that Kyle and I are incapable of having any normal aspects to our relationship; there’s no one way we could end things on such a sweet and romantic note. But it would have been cool, right?
So seeing as I’d just got fucking engaged, I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to tell friends, I wanted to tell enemies,hell, I wanted it scrolling at the bottom of MSNBC. So we left to go meet up with friends. We found them sitting out on the front steps of a friend’s house. Upon our arrival, there was squealing, there were jokes about the horrors of married life, and there were bets on who’d make the biggest ass of themselves at the reception. We sat out on the porch for about half an hour, talking and drinking beers and enjoying company.
When all of a sudden, (I’ve always wanted to say that,) there came what sounded like firecrackers, and a skinny guy bolted out of the house 2 down like his pants were on fire. 15 minutes later, there was an army of emergency vehicles parked outside the house. 25 minutes later, there was a body bag leaving the house 2 down and a cop asking us for witness statements. That’s right: somebody got their ass shot. While some might have taken this as a bad omen, we thought it was a nice gesture to celebrate the beginning of our new life together. Sort of a circle of life thing, you know? Even more magical was when we went across the street where Kyle’s truck was parked and discovered that his front right tire was magically flat. Awesome.
1 year later, we celebrated such magic and love in true Van Sandt style: with dinner, (Vortex burgers and beer,) a movie, (Star Trek, which I hated,) and dessert (brownies, which I-oh my god these things are better than sex! Which incidentally, is a good thing, since our cat peed on our bed again while we were gone, thus canceling any and all Happy Stephanie-Kyle Fun Time.) At least no one got shot this time…