We were painting what was then my bedroom.
In a house that must have felt like a ton of bricks on her soul, I was trying to create weight-free oasis. Someplace that could feel hers.
We’d already moved well beyond talk of "possibly" moving in together. The "ifs" were long gone. Our conversations landed solidly in the "whens" column.
Then again, as we were working and dancing and singing and joking and smooching, I knew something she didn’t know. Or at least I thought I did. Turns out she knew it was coming, but not quite at that moment. Come to think of it, I didn’t really know it was coming quite that day, myself.
Yet, it wasn’t a concept to me. It was a certainty. And only after all was said and done, could I share with her, for example, why I was so quiet, like "such a freak" all New Years Day, just a month earlier. It was because, if I opened my mouth, it would spill out. There simply was no holding it back.
But back to painting. It was another day like New Years. Every brush stroke seemed to whisper it to me: "Say it. Say it…" As the walls came to life, they called out: "Tell her. Tell her…"
We were taking a break. We were tired from going at it (and I don’t mean "in the good way") all day. Exhausted, in fact. We were sitting on the couch having one of those intense and yet quiet conversations. You know…the ones you have with…well…the one.
And I am sitting there, and I am thinking, "Oh, my god… This is the moment."
Plans be damned!
Hadn’t showered in two days? Who cares?
Dressed in dirty, smelly painting clothes? Whatever…
I got down on one knee, and I started talking. I have no idea what I said. I am guessing that I was babbling. I am guessing Robbye thought I was babbling, too.
But I caught her attention when I said this…
"Will you do the honor of marrying me? Will you be my wife?"
There was about a three second span where I thought she might say, "What the hell are you talking about?!?"
Turns out she was a little stunned.
In the next second, though, I got my relief.
"Of course! Yes!"
At this point, I would say that the rest is history. But there is one more movement to the story that not many people know. Not enough people, anyway.
Robbye, Lucy (her dog), and M.P. (her cat) were staying the weekend at the house. Kind of a "trial run" for the pets. See how they would fare in the insanity…not to mention with the three other animals already running the joint.
Robbye didn’t have kids before all this. For the most part, she’d lived on her own. Robbye, her dog, and her cat…in a little pink house in St. Paul, in an apartment that was about the size of my living room. Needless to say, life was a lot quieter. A lot simpler.
Okay, then…on top of that…add…you know…THE HOUSE. THE HISTORY… Ack…
When I talk about our coming together, I tell people that Robbye is the bravest person I know. Yes, because she said "yes" to the "Will you marry me?" question. But more significantly to how she answered the next question to tumble out of my mouth that day.
"Now, will you just stay home?"
To which she answered, "I guess I’ll need to get some clothes."
I tell Robbye that the three smartest things I ever did in my life where these:
I called the girl, I asked the girl, I married the girl.
Two years ago today… Proof positive, Baby. Proof positive.