Late last Monday night, lying in bed beside my gradually-recovering-from-swine-flu girlfriend, I found my head beating and beating at me with something I'd been wanting to say for ages but had never intended to say there and then.
"Will you marry me?"
Turns out she will. I held her tightly and she cried a little. The sap. I just shook. We kissed and we talked, thought what exactly we said has long since left my mind, so addled was I by the heady concoction of joy and fear. Fear, not of the commitment that we had just made to each other, but that, once we started the task of telling all the important people in the morning, even one of them might express the tiniest doubt or misgiving.
I needn't have worried. We let the night tick into the wee hours before deciding that we'd burst if we didn't tell someone and that there was a chance my brother might be awake. He wasn't, but he received the news with delight. The following day he told me that he lay awake for the next hour or so, composing the opening lines of the best man speech he knew I'd ask him to give and crying a little. The sap.
We lay in bed and listened to one of our favourite records, laughing at how we've managed to wear the vinyl down already. I don't know what time I got to sleep at, but she was even later, for once.
My brother's reaction seems to have set the tone thus far, thankfully. The Fiancée ( I love saying that) made the important family calls in the morning and then sent a blanket webtext to almost everyone who would care to know. She lost her already fragile voice in the maelstrom of excited calls that followed. So uncomfortable am I with an inundation of attention I chose to do my informing in drips and drabs, soaking up the enthusiastic responses at a manageable rate. I wondered if my heart would ever stop racing.
It was nearly 24 hours later before I was able to lie calmly in bed, thinking about how incredible it is that someone should choose to wake up beside me every morning and how wonderful it is to be gaining a second family, that it all fully sank in. And I smiled, and I woke her up at stupid o'clock babbling about what stones she should get in her ring (her very talented jewellery designer sister will make it) and I knew that every day from then on will feel like a celebration of that one.
P.S . That's what she said.