Where we left off...
But unfortunately for me, J could not read my mind. All this time things weren't traveling at quite the same light speed for him that they were for me. He was still just adjusting to the dawning realization that there might be something in this talkative, weird-ish, opinionated young woman that he just might not be able to do without. And so, you know what he, in all ignorance of what it might mean to me, went and did?
So, as we said our goodbyes in the parking lot of the lodge. Souvenirs had been purchased, final pictures had been taken, all the gear was packed. Just before we hopped into the van, J handed me a brown paper bag rolled up in a bundle.
"Here, I bought you this"
"What is it?"
"Open it on the way home."
I scuttled to the back of the van and secured a seat away from the prying and curious eyes of my siblings. After it got dark enough on our evening drive, I slowly unrolled the paper bag and pulled out a beautiful silver and malachite ring.
A WHAAAAAT???? Hoooold the phone....
I blew a gasket.
A here-I-bought-this-for-you-in-a-paper-bag RING.
Of course, in his mind, it was simply a sentimental memento of a memorable weekend spent in the delightful company of one another, but for me!! It was a Ring. I mean, I'm only a woman. Rings mean one thing and one thing only. Am I right? Back me up here, sistahs. And here is a will-you-marry-me without the GUY and wrapped up in a paper bag and opened in the back seat of a van with all my siblings oogling at me over the backseat.
I think I may have cried for a week. Maybe two. I cried because I was confused and in love and only seventeen. I cried because I had hoped for a kiss and a promise with my ring and somehow I felt a little cheated. And then I cried because I heard that J was going to the prom that weekend. With someone else.
Head's up to you men (both of you) reading. Neverevereverever give a woman a ring and then take someone else to the prom. It sends mixed messages.
Of course, to do him justice, making me cry in those days was fairly easy. So don't think too badly of J. I mean, really. What's a man to do? He saw me admiring the rings in the gift shop, so he bought me one. Logical and thoughtful, right? Of course, right.
But in the meantime, here I was with this ring and no proposal, no prom, nothing. What's a girl to do? If only I was brave enough to read you the journal entries of the next several looong excruciating weeks!
P.S. J says it never occurred to him that going to the prom with another girl would upset me, since both of us knew my dad would NEVER have let me go with him. And he says "our relationship wasn't really at the point where we were technically "exclusive".