This past weekend, Gina decided to throw a party in my honor. It's not my birthday, but I haven't been in town for most of the last month, and apparently people were missing me. I was also missing these people. My married-with-kids friend Wendy went out of town for a few weeks and Patrick was housesitting, so with Gina's permission from Wendy, she planned a little get together at their absolutely perfect house with their absolutely perfect yard and beyond absolutely perfect dog. I was thrilled - a party which I didn't have to plan, cook for, worry about... it was all Gina. I was impressed.
Party day (July 14) went off well - we had a really busy morning, as I was leaving the next day for Tampa for work. I had errands, a guitar lesson, shoe shopping, and a pedicure to get out of the way before I could even start to pack for the trip. Not to mention - we're moving this coming Saturday, and being the FANTASTIC girlfriend that I am, I'm going to be out of town the whole packing week. Needless to say, I was feeling incredibly guilty and wanted to pack something, ANYTHING, in prepartation for the move. (Let me insert here that Gina has been nothing but a rockstar about the fact that she's doing most of the packing by herself. Perhaps she's cursing me right now as I type, but she hasn't let on at all that she's upset. Reason number 643 why I love her, you see.)
After a trip to the grocery store for party food, we arrived at Wendy's where I promptly threw in a load of laundry. (Let me insert HERE that when I get back to Los Angeles, we will forever more have free laundry in our own house!!) Allyson and Lisa were the first to arrive, and they started decorating the back yard with white twinkle lights. I was becoming more and more impressed at how much thought went into this little party - all for me! Loving it.
We started drinking, and more people arrived. We were listening to music in the back yard, courtesy of a playlist Gina made specifically for this party. I looked at her like a proud parent - Gina is NOT one to plan parties. That falls under my duties and responsibilities. I was proud of her newfound party-throwing ability. Everyone was having fun as the night went on, and they even started dancing! It was a sight to behold - a bunch of gay singles and couples dancing, and one straight couple in the middle. When the song "At Last" came on, Gina finally pursuaded me to dance with her.
We have a running joke (although I use "joke" really loosely) that we don't really have an anniversary. We were long distance for so long, and then broken up, and then confused... so Gina often will tell people we've only been together six months - even though it's been on and off for about five years. As we were dancing, she said, "I think we should make today our anniversary." I thought for a second and shrugged: "Okay. 'Cause of Bastille Day?" "Sure," she said.
She then reminded me that we had talked about having some sort of commitment ceremon/not-a-wedding-but-sort-of-a-wedding-...-an-illegal-one-at-that, and she said she thinks we should do it next year. This was something we had discussed several times in the past, and once again, I agreed that this was a good idea. She then spun me around in that little dancey way you spin people, and when I turned around, she was on her knee and gave me a diamond ring. A Diamond Ring! And asked, "Would you be my... um... partner... of... uh, domesticity?" - at a loss for what to call me. I looked around to all of my friends as if to say, "Would you look at this? She's proposing! Can you guys believe it?!" But they all looked at me with knowing smiles, and then it dawned on me - they were all in on it. Every one knew about, every moment was orchestrated just so, and it was all done without me knowing. I have never, ever been more surprised. There's a line in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, when Clark sees his cousin Eddie on his front yard. Eddie asks if he's surprised, and Clark says, "Eddie, I wouldn't be more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet."
In one surreal, amazing, unforgettable moment, I became Engaged. My first reaction when I saw the ring was to say, "What is that? Is that REAL?" Gina assured me that it's very, very real. When I told my friend Chrissie, she said, "Have you set a date?" Me: "A date? For what? Oh, the ceremony? Uh, no... I guess not." I'm still reeling at how well Gina pulled this off, and how surprised I was, and how perfect that night was. And every time I look at this ring on my finger, I am surprised again. It's gorgeous and unexpected, just the way life should be.
I wanted to take a picture of it to show you. Turns out, it's not easy to take a picture of a diamond ring. And the more I think about it, the more I think that's appropriate. The event, the gravity... it's something you'd never be able to photograph anyway.
Here's an attempt, with my iPhone: