Now I knew I loved Avram, and that for better or for worse, we were not going to have any precipitous break-offs before the pre-appointed time at the end of the Summer. I also knew that I was still planning to marry Dennis, and that I had no intentions of writing him a Dear John on the remaining four months of his mission. As the rest of the Summer unfolded, this inherent dichotomy became a division in my soul. I could somehow in the same breath tell Avram I loved him, and that I could not wait until Dennis sent me his next letter. But that was as the weeks played out.
In the moment, my cousin Travis was getting married in Salt Lake over Memorial Day weekend. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to introduce Avram to my family, who excepting my Mom had not yet met him. Avram and I packed for the weekend, and rode the bus and then tracks up to Salt Lake. My mother and three year younger sister Halley picked us up in her black Honda CRV, and I began the process of introducing my "temporary" boyfriend to the Family. I had picked Avram's clothes for him on this important occasion: Dark charcoal grey wool trousers with a black polo shirt. If Avram were a girl, he would be a "winter" for coloring, but being a man, he could care less about color schemes. Still, I found his stark clothing choices to be more flattering than colored ones. I thought he looked nice and intellectual, but also somewhat casual and not overbearing. Avram thought he was wearing clothes, and they fit him.
Avram tagged along to the "Wedding Breakfast" or rather, the "rehearsal dinner" - whatever name an extended family dinner deserves when it occurs the even previous, but no rehearsing is done. I remember the evening went well, and I was proud of him as he negotiated my large family. I grew up in a house with nine children, a blended family. Seven of those nine were female. Now, with eight married, and with numbers of grandchildren reaching almost into the twenties, we are completely more like a small city state than a family unit. Back then only three were married, leaving more people to meet than most families reach after two complete generations. Certainly an imposing enough group. Not all of the family was there, nor were over the weekend, so Avram did not have to beard the lion in his den quite yet. Still, to my poor boyfriend, who is socially uptight in situations he is not comfortable in, large rambunctious, talkative female families being at the top of this list, he comported himself with remarkable ease and gregarity.
The next day, Saturday, May 29, the wedding took place in Bountiful. Avram and I spent the day exploring Downtown Salt Lake and Temple Square. Avram and I had fun walking around the Conference center, taking a "couples" picture on the pedestal before the temple, touring Brigham Young's home, and eating lunch at the Lion House Pantry. Avram wore his fedora, with jeans (not black), and an Alaska T-Shirt. Rather a disjointed assemble, but Avram often points out that although he loves clothes, he could care less about the day to day. He spends his effort caring about suits and tuxedos, tails and spats. I was learning to care less about his outward trappings, and just enjoy his company. My mom called and said the family had gathered in between the wedding and reception for lunch at a Pizza place. We were enjoying each others company alone enough that I declined, even on the promise of someone else paying.
That evening we attended the reception, and danced a little together. I believe we spent Monday helping paint the basement hallway, as my parents were getting ready to sell the house, and move to Arizona. All in all, it was a fun weekend, blessedly free of any drama or long discussions of why our relationship had issues, and how our issues were doing, while they served a mission in Germany.
A week later, Sunday, June 6th, found Avram and I taking a nightly, leisurely stroll around the park at Botany Pond. It was D-day, and more memorable to me, Dennis' 21st birthday. Avram and I settled down for a chat on the lower steps of the staircase leading from Botany Pond to the southern end of the JSB building. (Why must it always be hard stone seating?) In prime social south-of-campus timing, around nine or ten at night, Avram and I got into a discussion of the hypothetical future. We knew we loved each other. We also knew that if we were to work out at all, it would be after Dennis and I somehow failed to achieve marital status, sometime in early 2005, after my return from the fall study Abroad. I will grant you, this latter supposition was more my "fact" than Avram's - he still hoped for better possibilities with me.
As we talked about these futures, I told him that if Avram and I got married, we would never have a proposal. It was simple. If Dennis and I did not work out, than Avram and I, if we were to resume dating, would know it was only for one purpose, marriage. There was no place in any future for more gratuitous dating. Which meant by our very act of a relationship, we would be mutually declaring an intent to get married, a mutual proposal of intent, if you will. All that would be then left would be picking a wedding date, and planning the actual event. I spent some time lamenting over possible lost proposals; after all, one cannot be sentimental enough, I find. The idea of no question, not even a perfunctory one, bothered me.
In classic Thora logic, I therefore declared, "Avram, you need to propose to me. That way you will have technically fulfilled the necessary functions, so that way if we ever do get married, we'll have a proposal in our romantic past." Avram thought this was somewhat unnecessary, but being ever willing to humor me, he complied.
"Thora, will you marry me?" He asked, as he sat next to me on that cold stone landing.
"Not like that! That's not a proper proposal. You need to do it on you knees, with me standing up. Proposals need something more than a casual question." I stood up, and instructed him to get on his knees.
"Thora, will you marry me?" Avram asked again, on his knees, this time more intently. Thankfully no one at this moment walked by - I always liked to imagine myself living in a bubble with my current significant other, as we spend significant moments alone at South Campus, along with approximately 2,000 other significant couples. I stood there in the light evening breeze, considering for the briefest moment. I did not realize this, but Avram (as he maintains to this day), was not just fulfilling a technicality with this question, but was also in deadly earnest. He knew he wanted to marry me, and would have been happy to have been engaged from this point on.
I, on the otherhand, was merely checking off an essential, imaginary box. "Maybe someday." Then I sat back down. Avram, reading this over my shoulder just now, said, "You were just getting back to me for that Cocker Spaniel line, weren't you? Can you think of anything less romantic than 'maybe someday?'"
What narrative causality, to be proposed to on Dennis' birthday. The whole Summer was replete with Narrative Causality. I knew from the beginning of my first faintest crush on Avram that I would not simply outgrow it, or shake it off. I knew I would like him deeply. Why? Narrative Causality. Or rather, in plainer speak, it would make a better story that way. Same thing with when we started dating. Couples get together all of the time, only to break up before even becoming serious. Not Avram and I. I knew we would become deeply serious. I knew, somewhere inside of me, that we would get to the point of marriage, or nothing. That I would have to pick between Avram and Dennis, and it would never be simply resolved on its own. That is the power of Narrative Causality. Once you start detailing this in your own life, you will find that better than choices, better than fate, Narrative Causality truly runs your life. Otherwise, what would we all have to blog about, without story lines being played out in our lives?