Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bestest hardes thing ever

"What do you want for Christmas?" he asked.

For months, possibly years, I have been trying to build up the courage to tell him the real answer to that question.

It started out a private thought, one which played on my mind like a butterfly. The imagination, the image of wearing a wedding dress again, the constant urge to no longer battle with the question, "is that Mrs or Miss?". Does it matter? You choose. If I'm Miss am I desperate or a fraud? If I'm Mrs, am I a liar? If it's Ms, I am clearly a divorce or trying to cover up for still being a Miss at 38.

It became a voiced desire when Silver Lining and I went for a walk together. One of those great gossipy walks that are as much about the talk as the walk. "you should tell him how you feel", she said. I didn't want things to change though. I didn't want my world to cave in around my ears if he didn't feel the same way. So it remained unsaid and filed under "another day".

I continued to think that I'd do it but then there was PBP to get through and my job in France and then not my jo in France and everything was too fraught and depressing and then better but up in the air. 

Then christmas arrives and the daily discussions about what I want for Christmas. I've pretty much made my mind up by now that there's going to be a paradigm shift here. My lovely tiger is, by now, pretty convinced that I don't want to get married.

I still hope that nothing will change between us. I hope he doesn't misread this as some sign that I want babies or to become a domestic goddess... and therefore run a mile or more.

I could wait for February and do the right thing but we're beyond romantic proposals and gestures and into the territory of adult discussions and paradigm shifts.

Nevertheless, I'd planned to raise the subject in a romantic location. I mean if things go well you don't exactly want to be the couple who got engaged at the Sainsbury's checkout. Not even Waitrose really!

A christmas shopping trip might be just the place. Fairy lights, happy surroundings, glittery decorations and joy. We had quite a quiet train journey to Leeds. The question of what for Christmas came up and I dodged it.

Walking down the high street we came across a shop selling moomin merchandise. As you know, I am the hippo and hippos love moomin stuff. I wouldn't let him buy me a moomin bag or a hot water bottle or a knitted moomin toy.

We went to the corn exchange where I wouldn't let him buy me a poncho. We got something for sissy instead.

We went up to the top floor where the architecture was impeccable and pretty breathtaking, like looking through the canopy of an air ship.

We were in a quiet place without anyone to hear my words flop - if they were going to flop. I opened my mouth and no words came out.
We walked away to the other side away from the few people who were there but still no words came out. Finally I could not put off staring at the architecture any longer so we headed out in to the cold to check out the rest of town.

We walked through the most romantic streets, arcades filled with sparkling light displays, a massive tree made from glitter balls and arrays of tinsel and fairy lights, dripping from the corners of expensive shops.

We walked through the market with its vaulted glass ceiling and traditional stalls and great big slabs of meat which Yorkshiremen in white coats slapped with pride. 

I could have said something here but there were too many people, busy with their shopping and their meat, all trying to listen in on my conversation.

We headed over to the Christmas market where we searched for a glass hippo on the stalls and bought some chips because by now I was even getting pissy about food.

We ate our chips next to a fountain. We looked at the hand prints of African children representing Nelson Mandella's freedom and christmas shoppers milled about somewhere in the periphery, too busy to be concerned with us. I thought I could do it here but there was a woman wailing to another woman on the bench and it just didn't feel right. I didn't want my big moment to be interrupted by a wailing woman.

After chips comes coffee but we couldn't find a quiet coffee shop with a quiet corner or even one with sitting down space so we headed back to the beautiful Corn Exchange.

I had one thing on my shopping list for me - a little note book to use to organise my time. I went into paperchase, a shop I love, and couldn't even get excited about stationery. This was getting serious. I was going to get more and more frustrated and get no Christmas shopping done whatsoever.

In the basement of the corn exchange over a coffee and a very delicious lemon cup cake, he asked me again what I wanted for Christmas. I started to sweat, blush and get all coy at once. The people next to us seemed quite occupied with eachother. I could do it now but they might be listening in. Of all the things that I had thought I would say, I thought it most prudent to warn him of the surprise and came out with, "Can I surprise you?"

He was quite amused by this, that I was going to surprise him with what he was getting me for Christmas and took the time to point out it isn't how it's supposed to work.

Some people came to look at the menu and I clammed up again.

Outside on the steps he asked me one more time what it is that I want for Christmas and how I am going to surprise him. There was no one around.

I grabbed his hand but I talked to the buildings. Blurting out that I really did want to get married to him and all I want for Christmas is his hand.

"Do you?" he said, his voice filled with glee.

We started walking down the road together in no particular direction, diverting off down an alley way because it was deserted, because it was interesting - brick built, cobbled streets, a shiny Leeds bar called The Mook - a cross between a Moo and a nook.

"Shall we do it then?" he said.  "Can we?" I said.

"Yes we can".

To say I whooped would be putting it mildly. 


just a girl said...

I keep reading this post and it just makes me so happy for you guys :)


Ian said...

I heard this news from Silver last week.
Hugs for one of you and manly back slaps for t'other :-)