Eleven days and counting…

Nineteen months have passed since I proposed to Marta. Nineteen months… Wow.

We met six years ago during a turbulent time in my life. My brother, Matthew, and a mutual friend, Jeremy (who’s since crafted our engagement ring and wedding bands), used to work together at a neighborhood restaurant where Marta and I would occasionally bump into one another. I could never, for the life of me, remember her name, but always enjoyed talking with her. It’s Marta, after all. How could you not enjoy talking to her?

One gorgeous day in late June, Marta, Jeremy, and I spent the afternoon at Montrose Beach (by this time, I’m happy to report, I’d learned her name, though I’d soon realize that my “Mar-ta” pronunciation was unique). We played Frisbee. We lay in the sun. We even looked after a youngster whose dad told him to “stay and play with these people” as he disappeared for several minutes (a favorite memory of the day). And after packing up our camp and heading home, we reconvened some time later at Marta’s apartment for dinner. While Jeremy expertly grilled our steak on the deck, Marta and I cooked together indoors. She made risotto, I sauteed asparagus and portabellas. I’m pretty sure we were both stealing glances at one another, thinking, “This girl/guy is pretty cool.”

And so it began.

Marta was very patient with me those first few months. I was still gun shy after exiting a six-year relationship with my college girlfriend, and it took me a while to feel comfortable opening myself up again. I wanted to be sure, but when in life do we ever have that luxury? Marta endured several months of my waffling before I finally realized that everything was okay. That we didn’t need to know how things would work out down the road in order to enjoy the journey today.

A year after we met, we moved into our first apartment together. It was great. Marta has learned to deal with my pickiness (okay, my borderline OCD, but you didn’t hear that from me!), and I’ve gotten better at compromising. And we’ve both learned that while we absolutely love spending time with one another, some things are just better done solo. I shop for groceries while Marta cleans. And when we fly, we meet at the gate now. Hey, when you recognize flash points, why not avoid them? (Did I mention I’m fussy?)

We loved our first apartment and met two of our (now) best friends, Caitlin and Keith, when they moved in across the hall. One of our favorite jokes was to tell each other “Get home safely,” when we’d say goodbye. Yeah, those three steps across the landing can be risky… We’d probably still be living there if it hadn’t been for the herd of elephants – er, family – that moved in upstairs. Good grief. Reluctantly, we packed up and moved – two blocks away on the same street! I’ve never lived at two different addresses on the same street before, but there’s a first time for everything. Our new apartment became home even though we sure do miss living across the hall from C&K!

Two years ago, Marta began traveling more regularly for work. Overnights to Minneapolis, longer trips to Seattle, Tennessee, Las Vegas, and Miami. I’ve gotten used to these trips now, but at first it was difficult. I missed her a lot when she was gone, and that’s when I realized that I really couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life without her. I didn’t want to imagine it. Things had never been perfect for us, but I knew then that Marta was the woman for me. I wanted to be her partner, to commit not only to relishing the good times, but to working through the difficult ones. I wanted to continue this journey with her.

I reached out to Jeremy, now a metalsmith and GG (graduate gemologist) based in Seattle, and together we began working on ideas for a ring. At first I told no one, figuring that if I couldn’t keep my own mouth shut, I couldn’t very well expect anyone else to. Then, when we visited Marta’s parents for Father’s Day, I stole a moment with Bob, her step-father, and told him my intentions. He was thrilled, but made me promise that I would tell Sherri, too, before we left. “You have to tell her when Marta’s not around, though,” he said. “She will start crying.” So I concocted a plan to run back into the house as we were leaving on Sunday, and sure enough, the waterworks started when I told her. She gave me a huge hug. I’d always felt like part of the family, but this made it official.

That summer, Jeremy and I must have exchanged zillions of e-mails and phone calls, reviewing CAD renderings of the ring, talking about tweaks, organizing wire transfers of funds so that he could source the stones and metal. Finally I got the call the last week of August: “Done!” A week later we were in Seattle for a planned visit, and when I saw the ring for the first time, I was blown away. Absolutely stunning.

The thing practically burned a hole in my pocket. I managed to wait a whopping four days, then planned a dinner out at Caro Mio, our favorite Italian joint, and a walk through our neighborhood park afterwards. With the moon shining down, standing together in a place important to us both, I asked Marta to marry me. She said, “Shut up!” followed quickly by “Yes!”

And now, nineteen months later, our wedding is right around the corner. I couldn’t be more excited to marry this woman – my best friend and partner – and begin our next chapter together. I know how lucky I am to have her in my life, just as I’m lucky to have such wonderful family and friends. You all make life worth living, and I cannot wait to celebrate with you on April 27th as I put the “ring of ownership” on Marta’s finger. =P

Sure do love you, sweetie!

ETH

About E.T. Hourihan

I am a science fiction author pursuing his dream of publication. View all posts by E.T. Hourihan

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