He’s a Keeper
Couples today create a spectacle for their marriage proposals with the hope it goes viral. We didn’t. After the church and reception hall were booked, Normann handed me a diamond engagement solitaire as an afterthought. Normann and I had dated for eight years, which included three breakups. When he thought of marriage as the next step in our relationship, his feet ran cold like glacier runoff. He got timid. A bit too timid, at times, but I ignored it.
I met him when I was a sophomore in college. I was looking forward to going out for dinner with my boyfriend at the time. Dressed and ready to go, I answered the ringing phone. He’d called to ask if we could spend our evening watching T.V. in his mother’s living room, as we’d done for the past three months, so I slammed the phone on the hook, almost knocking it off the wall.
My older brother offered up a last-minute invitation to a Halloween party. I went. Marijuana and spilt beer permeated the smoky air, and one seedy man, with a skull attached to his fly zipper and a joint in his hand, approached me.
I ducked away and gravitated to the only other person who wasn’t dressed in costume. Normann, at six-foot-two, with wiry blond hair, thick eyebrows, and a scraggly beard, was a plaid-wearing earthy guy. He asked who I was supposed to be.
I answered, “Depending on the circumstances, maybe a single lady.”
Two months after we met, I was sure I wanted to keep Normann in my life. He showed me he was an honest man with a gentle heart, strong work ethic, and common sense. I was dating the bad boy who was on life’s road to nowhere regardless of how much I prodded.
For our first date, he trimmed his beard and had his hair cut. I did a double take when I saw him. He was truly a diamond in the rough who only needed a woman’s guidance in the grooming department. I hadn’t realized his lack of vanity would result in constant reminders over the years to do it again and again.
Our second date, he called to ask if I’d had a chance to shop for Christmas.
I had recently been in a car accident that left me with two black eyes and a broken nose swollen to triple its normal size. “No, I’m staying inside until the swelling goes down.”
“Nobody cares how you look. And if they do, it’s their problem. Let them stare. I’m picking you up in forty-five minutes.”
It amazed me that Normann didn’t care how I looked, when my failing-at-saving-our-relationship, soon-to-be ex-boyfriend said he would see me after the bruising faded. I changed out of my sweats and T-shirt into snug-fitting jeans and a blouse for a trip to the mall. Under the harsh florescent lights, Normann said, “Your face is really beat up.” He smiled. “You still look beautiful to me.”
I smiled at that, as my ego needed a boost no matter how far-fetched. I planned an early evening because I had to work the next day, so I kept asking him what time it was. He noticed my constant need for the time and gave me a gold watch two days after Christmas.
This man was a keeper.
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