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The Engagement- A Short Story

Last year was a very special Christmas, 2018.  It was lovely. Everything felt very Christmasy to me, the Christmas tree was up with all the shiny decorations and the ones Rebecca and Gavin made at school during their elementary school years.  I plugged in the Christmas tree lights. I turned on the green bulbs I had in the window and flicked on the outdoor wall lanterns, I have nice red party light bulbs shining through.  I had baked cookies the night before to share with Santa, and the aroma lingers. The sun was out and mixed with some very light snow flurries We already have had a foot of snow, and the weather channel was calling for another ten inches.  So a typical Canadian Christmas.

The night before, we had put Santas cookies out with a bit of egg nog, as I looked over there were only crumbs left behind and his glass of egg nog was half empty.

 I called out to the kids 

“Santa ate his cookies!”

Even though Gavin is twenty-one and Rebecca is sixteen, they both enjoy the traditions of Christmas.  One of my favorites is after the tree is all decorated I get Gavin to put Rebecca on his shoulders and she places the star on the top of the tree.  She is tall enough she can do it on her own but it is fun having them do something together and of course, my yearly picture of them by the Christmas tree. 

The Kids opened their gifts, I always say it will be a small Christmas, I have said that every year but I think this coming one will be even tighter.  They didn’t argue, no fighting, no bickering, they were just fun and seemed very grateful.  

We had out traditional Nana donuts, the best donuts around.  My mom makes her traditional Christmas donuts every year. Last Christmas my sister, Anne, came down from New Brunswick and helped my mom with the donuts.  My mom had been really sick, she has a blood disorder and so many side effects from the medication she had to take. It has to do with her platelets. Thrombocytosis, it’s called.

My sister helped my mom make them for one year.  I would like to know how to make them too, but between making the batter and frying them, I don’t know that I could do all that on my own.  Well, Anne can. My mom is really happy about it but says she makes them too perfect. My mom told me how she and dad used to make them together and when they made ones in weird shapes (not fully round) my dad would say, “Those are for Dahlia!” and would laugh.  I guess I am not too perfect either, but we all found it funny. 

Max, our sweet beagle rescue, had his treats, and the kids helped him open his presents, treats, a purple unicorn squeaky toy, and some rawhide bones.  He loves to chew. Eats everything in his sight, including underwear, socks and bras, toilet paper, Q-tips, kleenex AND cigarettes ANd Nicorette gum. Yes I know, very very dangerous.  He has gotten sick over the last two months with vomiting and diarrhea. I am not surprised, but quite scary not knowing what from. I had brought him to the vets months ago with diarrhea and it cost me three hundred and fifty dollars, for a poop smear and a bunch of meds.  When it happened again I decided to ask google what to do. And that’s how I started making his homemade rice and chicken or beef meals. When I get fancy I add peas and boiled carrots and he loves it. And that made him better.

I think Christmas is Max’s favorite time of year.  He always has lots to open and eat. But his favorite part of Christmas morning is having some donuts, so we let him indulge.

It was the first year to blend our families, Neil with his two adult boys, my parents, Gavin and Rebecca.  I was a bit anxious about that. So in my new little house, we had eight people for dinner and it was a bit tight.  I was able to only fit four at my table as I downsized tables when I moved here. I had my plate on the corner of the table with my piano bar stool but it felt like I didn’t really sit down.  Neil and his Kids sat in the lounge Neil and Eric on one couch and Alastair on the other couch.  I have two coffee tables so it worked out.  I felt a bit awkward splitting up the meal like that but I had no other choice.  Neil’s house is much larger and could have accommodated all of us at one table but I really wanted my first Christmas here at my new place.  Neil has done it at his place, but I have yet to do it at my new place.  

So Neil came over at eleven in the morning had a coffee and chatted a bit and then he started preparing the feast.  Eric helped from time to time. 

We had Turkey, two kinds of potatoes, roasted and mashed for my parents.  Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, stuffing, and gravy. I even bought cranberry sauce for my dad. Although I enjoy it too.

Now, I have had a bunch of people over at my old place.  I cooked roast beef. I made two roasts, one in the oven the other in a slow cooker.  I had all the trimmings including Yorkshire puddings. Neil’s oldest, Eric, helped me prepare dinner, which I was ever so grateful for.  It was a lot of food, all the elements where on cooking vegetables and stuffing, potatoes, the slow cooker was plugged in, the oven was on, and my golly jee there were a lot of dishes piled up high.  At least then I had a dishwasher.

I ate the roast and all the trimmings that year at my old place when I had cooked.  Then it happened. I felt like I had eaten a whole animal and I felt disgusted. Everywhere in the house smelled like meat and I hated it.  Even the upstairs. Even in my bedroom. It could have something to do with the fact that I ate too much and I probably should have made myself vomit…  That was the last time I ate meat, that was back in 2017 and I am still not eating meat. I consider myself to be pescetarian but I guess officially I am lacto- pescetarian as I eat milk products, I do not eat eggs because I am allergic.  I don’t have the same disgust eating fish as I do with eating meat. This is the second time I have gone vegetarian, last time was for five years until I became pregnant with my son and I was told to eat fish and chicken and some red meat.

Once supper was done, Neil’s boys opened a few presents from us.  The boys were drinking and later Neil told me that they were actually a bit tipsy.  They were quite chatty which they aren’t usually.

My job was to clean up.  Omg. So many dishes and they were greasy and fatty, his eldest son tried to help, but I have a little OCD and need things done the way I do them, so I thanked Eric and told him to leave it and I would get them done later.

I had to drive my parents home because I picked them up.  They are in their eighties, and I didn’t want my dad to drink and drive and I wanted them to be able to relax and indulge and have some wine without worrying, without me worrying…

When I got back home from dropping off my parents to their home in the east end, where I had lived until I got married, Neil and his sons were still at my place but they were getting ready to leave.

A few minutes after being home, Neil took my hand and guided me to my room.   I thought this is strange and then he closed the door.  What is he doing now? I wondered.  I thought maybe he wanted a quicky, just one of those, drop your drawers and bend over kind of moments.  My heart started racing. I couldn’t believe he was thinking this with a house full of kids. Then to my shock, he got on one knee and said;

 “Will you marry me?” 

I shrieked with delight,

 “Really?” 

 I was so caught off guard.  After all our joking around that he would never get married again after his last two marriages, and joking around about never living together, this was a total shock and an astonishing surprise.  I couldn’t believe that he was doing this. “Really?” was not what he thought he would hear, 

I leaned over and  I placed his face in my hands,

 “Yes of course!”  I exclaimed and kissed him gingerly on the lips.

He had not been drinking so I couldn’t blame that lol. 

He told me about a tv show he had been watching and the man surprised the woman by asking her to marry him.  Neil said it made him stop and think about what he wants to do and how he wants to see his future. 

He said to me that we have been together six years, that he decided yes, he did want to spend the rest of his life with me.  He then kissed me and told me he loved me.

We opened the door and went back to the lounge where his boys were waiting.  We didn’t speak a word of this while he put on his boots and winter jacket.

 Then he left.  No chit chat about any details, when we will, what kind of wedding we will have, no ring.  We had discussed before that we weren’t flashy people to do the whole ring thing and it was very spontaneous.

 We already had matching rings since we started dating again after our break, of b/f g/f and became friends with benefits (My way of keeping hold of him.).  The rings are made of tungsten carbide. He has one for his middle finger on his left hand and I insisted on one for my wedding finger. I like to be marked “taken”.  They are beautiful rings, shiny black with a grey stripe going around. I would like this in blue if we were going to stay in the same style as what we have. There is a small part of me that longs for an engagement ring, but Neil really likes matching rings, so we will have to see.

After Neil and his boys left, I paced so much back and forth in the house I didn’t quite know what to do.  I grabbed Rebecca by the shoulders as she walked by.

“Neil  just asked me to marry him!”  I exclaimed.

“Oh I could be your bridesmaid, I can do your makeup, I could do your hair!”  She squealed excitedly.

I was so happy with a positive response. Gavin too, was happy for me but at twenty-one, he doesn’t bounce up and down like Rebecca.

 I called my mom and dad and told them.  They were shocked and so happy for me. I then called my sister who was just as shocked as mom and dad. Even my best friend was shocked when I finally got a chance to call her.  Everyone, I mean everyone was shocked. They know too much of our story of “Neil will never re-marry and Neil said we will never live together”.

I debated writing something on facebook, maybe I shouldn’t have until Neil told his family back in England, but I did.  I had stuff going on with Rebecca and I wanted to take my time and word it beautifully to post on facebook. I told Neil how shocked I was.  I didn’t really believe him at first I thought he was just being funny. 

My “Really.” was more like a why are you joking about this.  But he wasn’t.

We didn’t really talk much about it after that for a while.  I am not even sure I felt like it actually happened, I think I am still in shock.  I had so many questions and we just didn’t have the time. By the time I realized Neil was serious, I went on my laptop and searched  “Getting married.” I had a whole list of things to figure out.

After almost 6 years, Neil took the plunge.  I think he is nuts. To want to marry me. Then again, why not?  We get along so well and we have the best times together. And we don’t argue or bicker like so many other couples we know.

Earlier that December he bought tickets to go see Joan Jett in Cleveland Ohio.  I had been in a very intense “phase” that included obsessing about Joan Jet, cutting my hair to be like Joan Jett and constantly listening to her music and watching her videos and interviews…  We have gone on many adventures. Maybe it was driving for nine hours when he realized he wanted to be with me for the rest of his life. We have fun traveling, we always have fun on our adventures.

 Ohio was one of the biggest adventure we have gone on.  England, two years ago, was splendid and the most time I have spent with Neil. We were away for two weeks.  I was able to meet his sister, his mum, his friends. We drove passed his childhood home and schoolHe took me to all the hotspots, London, Tower of London, Church of England, Buckingham Palace,

 I was in awe, my mouth dropped open several times. Things are much different, the cars are different, the roads and directions are different, people know how to drive, and they drive fast.  The weather is different, spring happens sooner in England as we saw some crocus blooming.

We traveled highways, country roads and cities. We took the bus and the train and the tube. We walked forever it seemed, and guess what?  One day it snowed. I actually brought Canada snow to them. How kind of me.

 I also enjoy the simple things we do, like camping, (I have so many stories), like playing pool, (and I have even won some), like karaoke ( I am the best I swear) and hanging out with friends. 

We just do it better together.

We are life mates. I have always known that.

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Christie F.

Welcome to my blog. I have been journal writing for years. I took a course in Creative writing and found I enjoy writing short stories and poetry. I write more when I am hypomanic or manic.
I went into Rehab for Alcohol Addictions and have been sober for fourteen years.
Shortly after I quit drinking I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, I have since been diagnosed with Bipolar 1.
I enjoy talking about my story, for people to learn or relate. I try and have a healthy lifestyle and try to use my coping strategies. Life is just too boring without Bipolar, it is a blessing but yet sometimes a curse.
I am currently working on a book and dream of publishing one day.
I am so excited to have found Wordpress.
This is my new adventure.

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