My friends Kelly and Dana have made posts on their blogs about Valentines memories. Valentine's Day in the past always included a card and candy from my parents, but never anything special from the opposite sex. Since I met Patrick, Valentine's Day has been celebrated on the 5th, so this day has been just another day in the life of us. That will change, now that Mallory is here, but I digress. There is one Valentine's Day I will never forget: V-day 2003. Though most Valentine's Day stories between boyfriend/girlfriend are often sweet and filled with stories including candies, roses, cuddles, cupid, white, red and pink, this story is not. Well, not at first.
Since Patrick and I had already celebrated our Valentine's Day on the 5th, we weren't planning on doing anything special on the 14th. We did have a date planned on the 15th, though, and we really just wanted to have a fun time that night. So, we ended up getting together with some of our friends (from our Sunday School class, of course) and attended a hockey game that night. It was lots of fun and it was one of the only hockey games I had ever seen...all I really remember about the game was that it was LONG, as most hockey games tend to be (side note - I'd rather go to a hockey game than a NASCAR race...at least you can TALK at a hockey game). After the game, Patrick and I went to Jackson's Java to have a cup 'o joe, play a game of chess, and talk.
At this time in our relationship, we had mentioned the "m" word and had talked about when we might approach the alter, but nothing was ever sure. While we were sipping our coffees (and I was beating Patrick in chess, but we won't go there...), I asked him when we would possibly be married. I mean, let's get to the truth, here. I was 24 years old, I was getting more established in my career, I was about to close on my first home purchase at the end of the month, and I was wondering when I'd finally be married. I loved Patrick and wanted to know when I could anticipate a wedding. I knew he was interested...or so I thought!
Before I continue, I need to give you a little background on what was happening with Patrick at this time. He graduated with his Masters in PT in '02 and got his first job in the summer at an outpatient clinic up in Concord, NC. One day in Jan '03 while he was working with a patient, the FBI came into the office, told him to finish with his patient, and shut the doors. They apparently were investigating his boss for insurance fraud and interogated Patrick for almost 2 hours that afternoon. Needless to say, Patrick did not want to work for his employer anymore and he quickly turned in his 2-weeks notice and quit his job at the end of Jan. So, at the time we were having coffee and I asked him the question about marriage, he was still unemployed and looking for a job.
OK...so, here I am, asking my unemployed boyfriend when were going to get married. Patrick looked at me with all seriousness in his eyes and told me that he wasn't sure if committing to marriage was something he should do at this time. He needed to find a job, get more established in his career, and just take some time out for himself. *blinking in surprise...trying to to choke on my coffee* WHAT?!?!?!?
I was so furious with him for not giving me any clue as to why he would do and say such a thing. I mean...just a week or so earlier, my sweet roomie at the time had asked me what my ring finger size was. I mean, why would she have asked me that if he wasn't planning on asking me to marry him? How DARE he string me along and not let me know that he wanted to have some "time for himself". Needless to say, I wanted out of the coffee shop and away from Patrick, but I also wanted to hug him, not let him go, and ask him why he didn't want to be more serious with me. I was so discouraged. And we were supposed to go on a date the next night? Ugh! He told me that I was overreacting and he just wasn't ready to talk about marriage at the time. He still wanted to take me out the next night because he enjoys being with me.
He enjoys being with me? And after over a year of dating, he still wasn't ready to get married? Should I still go out with? I mean, was I supposed to wait for him until his "life got all settled" again? I was plagued with the questions. But I agreed to go out with him again. At least one more date.
And what a date it was.