I have a very active imagination. Usually I consider this an asset, as every writer needs an imagination, and also it’s like having a personal tv in my head for when I’m bored. I can stage full on dramas in my brain which pass the time nicely.
However, one area where my imagination gets me into trouble is with boys. Since I had my first crush at twelve, I propelled myself into a daydreamed future before the guy even knew of my feelings (and subsequently failed to reciprocate them). I have matched my name with his, pictured our wedding, counted our kids.
Of course I did the same thing when I met him. Before we met in person, I was already wondering what if. What if this worked out? What if we got married? I rejoiced over the idea that if I did marry him, my monogram could have *four* C’s (three for my name and one for his). I couldn’t help but think he was just perfect and he might be the one. It was nothing more than what I had always done, but it felt different. Perhaps because this time I knew he felt something the same.
When I first told my NY friends about him, we had a rather drunken argument about it in front of a bar. My friends were full of words of caution because they had been burned so many times before. Just go and have fun, they said. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Why are you putting all that pressure on a relationship before you even meet? You don’t know anything about this guy.
At the time I fought them, grew teary and made a speech about how I had the good fortune to hope at last and why couldn’t they let me have it. But at the same time, they planted a seed of worry in my head. Maybe I was jumping in too quickly. It was hard to argue with their points, because I had done that every single time before. So when Dolly (aka my best friend and our matchmaker–hence the name) started teasing me about helping him pick out engagement rings, I freaked out, asked her to back off. I was afraid of jinxing it, and my fear overrode all the positive signs. We hadn’t kissed. We hadn’t even met. What if I’d got the wrong end of the stick yet again?
But I hadn’t. I can’t help daydreaming, and even though I banished crazier thoughts from my head, the little daydreams I allowed myself started to come true. He held my hand. He put his arm around my waist. He kissed me–in public, even. So slowly, I let the bigger daydreams start to creep back in. Dolly teased us about a future and I blushed and hoped.
Dolly continued to push us closer together. Before we dared say anything aloud, she was happily chattering about wedding plans and fitting in our wedding around her baby. I half expected him to put her off, but he didn’t.
Instead, something even more miraculous–he started dreaming with me. I saw his pictures of the Maldives and sighed over them; he hinted we might go there for a honeymoon. One night as we were lying in bed together, we started to cast ourselves into the future, and said one day he might want to put a ring on it. He mimed slipping a ring onto my finger then, and I swear if I hadn’t been lying down I would have swooned. We’ve started joking about our kids’ names. Granted, when I say joke I really do mean joke–he’s pulled for both dinosaur names and Stormageddon. But still…you don’t joke about having kids with someone unless you’re thinking it’s a possibility. Wonder started to seep away, and I was left with the certainty of fact.
Then last weekend I went up to my alma mater for alumni weekend and spent the time hanging out with my college roommate. Like me, she’s been unlucky in love, but has recently found love. I happily chattered away about my boyfriend all the future I saw with him. I told her to prepare for a wedding, and that we were definitely going to move in together after next summer, on one side of the Atlantic or the other.
She then talked about her relationship. She and her boyfriend have been together about a year, and they seem to be progressing at a normal, sensible pace. They’re just beginning to talk about a future, and still in hazy and uncertain terms. I’m imagining specific wedding venues. They’re possibly considering moving in together, but have no set date. Now they are beginning to say the other is the one.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being crazy and getting carried away. Was I jinxing my own future by creating a fantasy version of it instead of waiting for reality? Maybe I was even imagining how he felt. I approached the next few conversations with tiptoe caution. I tried not to mention all the future stuff lest the word marriage freaked him out. I stopped speculating about kids. I convinced myself I had gone too far and worried he wouldn’t like it.
But here’s the thing–he didn’t stop talking about that stuff. He still joked about the kids’ names. Moving in together is still a dead certainty. He thinks there is a future here, and I know this because he says as much. Maybe I am a bit crazy with my imagination, but if he is as crazy as me, isn’t that all we need?
I had a friend in college postulate the idea that a month of dating in college is like three months in the outside world because you get so much exposure to each other. Perhaps some of that is at play here. We spent most of August in each other’s pockets because it was our only chance to be together, so things naturally accelerated.
But then, maybe it’s nothing to do with the exposure theory. Maybe when it’s right you just know. There aren’t any more questions. Instead there are answers. But it’s like being in a room full of funhouse mirrors and finding out where the truth is, figuring out how much I’ve distorted things with my own fear of jinxing things and trusting that I haven’t freaked him out because he’s on the same page.