27 Jan 2011, 5:58pm

a love story / engagement announcement

i could tell you that A and i met at our college graduation, and you would probably believe me. it makes a pretty great story. we were seated next to each other by virtue of our last names and interdisciplinary majors. we were the last two undergrads to graduate from reed college in may 2007. but we had met a time or two before, i’m sure, and anyway the only thing i remember talking to him about at graduation was the fact that i’d just broken up with my ex-boyfriend the night before. and at the time he was dating jess. jess and i have, um, several ex-boyfriends in common, dating back to our freshman year of college. and really, A’s and my meeting didn’t stick until we met again at a midnight picnic in march 2008. i went to the picnic to hang out with an ex-not-boyfriend (hah) of mine who was throwing it. A went to hang out with jess (they were broken up by then, but you know how it goes). somehow, we struck up a conversation while walking towards home with our bikes. and the rest, as they say, is history. or facebook friendship. one of the two.

he sent me a facebook message inviting me to come see his band play, “if you’re not doing anything.” the prospect of some fun dates or a fling appealed to me, so i managed to convince a couple of my friends to come with me to the show. i pronounced the name of his band wrong, and my friends left before the end of the show (it was a sunday night). i stuck around, and afterwards i tapped him on the shoulder and i asked if he wanted to maybe get dinner sometime, and he said sure, and i told him to call me. then i walked home alone, happy and calm.

a few days later A and i went out to dinner and then we fell in love. then a lot of stuff happened, the way it does in any relationship. on one level, our story is very ordinary. this stuff happens every day. challenges are overcome. love saves the day.

i got hit by a car and then, exactly four weeks later, A got hit by a car. it sucked. both of us were mean and self-centered for awhile. eventually we broke up. for some reason, we didn’t stop talking. he went to india as planned and i cancelled my plane ticket and went to hawaii instead. 7000 miles apart, we started to forgive each other. it was five months before we saw each other again, which was enough time for us to figure out some of where we went wrong and practice going right instead.

a year after A left for india, we moved in together. there were ups and downs, of course. the next summer, we rode our bikes to colorado together. it was totally awesome. but after that—who knew? A was moving to berkeley for grad school, and i wasn’t sure i was ready to move away from portland or, for that matter, move anywhere for a relationship. when A flew home to the west coast, we decided not to talk about our future for two months. we lasted six weeks (’til i was in berea, kentucky), and then i confessed to A that the further i got from portland the less strongly i felt about staying there forever and ever, and that i’d been doing a lot of fantasizing while riding endless miles in the midwest about growing old with him. he said, “ok, but we should wait to make any decisions until you’re here in berkeley.” then, over the next few weeks, he kind of flipped out. and i kind of flipped out. there was lots of flipping out. i spent a lot of time while i was visiting friends and family on the east coast thinking about the big decisions to be made. in manhattan, i listened to my mom’s friend talk about tough times with her husband and what marriage means to her. in woodstock, i listened to my aunt talk about her recent divorce after forty years of partnership. on vinalhaven, i watched my grandparents play gin rummy together. A and i remained somewhat aloof. by the time i was in chicago in november, i was telling my friends there that i thought we would probably break up. (i even had a plan b—i was gonna move to boulder!)

and then i got to berkeley.

oh yeah.

A met me at the bart station and we walked back to his apartment holding hands. the next day we went into san francisco and made our way to the beach at the end of the N muni line, arriving just as the sun set. we looked at each other and said, “so, i guess we should have that talk, huh?” and “we probably shouldn’t get engaged tonight. it would be a little embarrassing to tell all our friends, when we’ve been so wishy-washy to them for the past couple months.” we laughed a lot. (we also talked about a lot of important stuff. like you do.)

when i finally arrived back in portland for thanksgiving, it was clear i was just visiting. i slept in my parents’ basement. when my brother went out of town, i slept in his room and took care of kepler (his cat/my cat/mine and A’s cat/his cat, in that order), and once when i was up there hanging out with kep i decided to make a painting. then i started making this super-ultra-cheesy book thing. first it was just silly sketches of key moments in our relationship. (the first one was a drawing of kepler with both of our hands petting him—our second date. there’s a thought bubble above kep’s head that says “just make out already.”) i thought it might make a sweet christmas present. then i wrote some text for it. then i decided to ask A to marry me. then the project took on a life of its own. it was not done by christmas. it was not done by new year’s eve, when A came to portland to visit. it was not done by january 18th, when i got on the train to berkeley. eventually, i kinda had to tell A that i was planning a proposal, so he wouldn’t steal my thunder.

in the meantime, we talked about What Marriage Means to Us (public ceremony/ritual demonstrating to our community our commitment to one another, our decision to choose over and over again to love one another even when it’s difficult, partnership, support, adventure, et cetera) and worked our way through a book called ten conversations you must have before you get married. (yes, really.) (it was pretty fun, actually.)

i told my family and got their blessing, and i asked A’s mom for her blessing as well (she was really touched—i’m really glad i did this). my favorite part of A more or less knowing my plans was that i got to talk to him about how we both felt about all of the above. but i was still determined to surprise him at least a little. all he knew was that i was working on “a project” and that i couldn’t propose until it was finished. i hid the book i was making in the corner of his room underneath a scarf, and worked on it while he was at school.

ultimately, i made this book as much for me and for A. by the time i finished telling our story to myself in this way and got to the “will you marry me?” at the end, i knew i wanted to ask the question.

here it is (wrinkled cover and all):

i didn’t tell him when i finished it. i suggested we go into the city on wednesday when he got out of class. he asked if i wanted to make plans with any of our friends who live there—”nah, let’s just go by ourselves. maybe we could go to the beach?” i thought for sure my cover was blown, but in fact we were walking the last block to the sand before he turned to me and said, “oh! are you going to propose?” apparently he was joking—he still thought i wasn’t done with my project. but even if i hadn’t sheepishly said yes, i think my grin would have given me away. we walked up onto the dunes and i sat him down and gave him the book.

when he got to the last page i gave him this box:

which contained:

a silver guitar pick stamped with “i love you i love you i love you” (you know, from “michelle,” by the beatles? heh) and our initials. it was either that or a pipe cleaner ring!

then we watched the sun set and walked on the beach drinkin’ a bottle of fancy raspberry wine.

and went out to a fancy dinner. when we got home, A sang a super-ultra-cheesy (and wonderful) song that he wrote for me.

the beginning.

(p.s. YAAAYYY!!!)

Sweet! Thanks for sharing. Love you. Congrats again.

i was randomly looking at new peektures of yours on flickr and ran into these. that book looks amazing and i’m sure it’s even better in person. congrats congrats congrats!

katie g

p.s. it took me years, but i finally got around to reading some tom robbins (jitterbug perfume this time) & recognized the erleichda and connected it to you immediately. the book was lovely and i have plans to read more. i imagine i’ll likely think of you each time. (:

In the spirit of the complete openness and honesty of this blog, which I’ve never been able (ok, never even been able to contemplate trying) to do in my own, I’ll tell you that I’m rather surprised at how happy I am for you. I honestly would have expected a different reaction from myself at hearing about an ex getting engaged, perhaps no reaction at all. Instead, hearing you tell your love story is like watching Amélie: I feel an upwelling of joy at seeing love work out. (Of course, part of that is the hope of finding someone so compatible myself, but I think a lot of it is wanting happiness for someone I care about.) I’m glad we dated for a while before you met A., and I’m glad we broke up so that the two of you can be together from now onward.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Leigh Walton, stacia fuchsia. stacia fuchsia said: slow glowing: a love story / engagement announcement http://bit.ly/fWvbg6 [...]

hey, do you remember that one time in 2006 when you and me and judith were sitting around a table at the Pied Cow drinking honey wine and saying we felt like we had become the people we’d always wanted to be? that’s a favorite memory of mine, and i think the best thing about it is how glad i am that “who we want to be” changes all the time, and that we keep rising back up to meet it.

less than three.

29 Jan 2011, 10:33pm
by Adrienne

How totally wonerful, beautiful & moving. Big hug & love from NYC

Oh I love this! Thank you for sharing, Stacia! And, as always, your pictures are amazing. Congratulations to both of you.

30 Jan 2011, 6:01pm
by Liz (Andrew’s mom)

Beautiful and tender – thank you, Stacia. This put a big smile on my face, just like the one I felt happening when you asked for my blessing. As you know, I felt honored to be asked. The best always to both of you!

30 Jan 2011, 7:35pm
by Lizzie (Andrew’s mom’s friend)

aw… Liz forwarded the link to me, and I’m so glad she did! I’m grinning ear to ear. I’ve heard about your relationship w/ Andrew over the years, and it’s so wonderful how Love Conquers All. Marriage is a wonderful, amazing, and incredibly difficult thing.
Blessings on your union,
~”Lizzie” in Atlanta

31 Jan 2011, 7:41pm
by Judy Mincey

Liz forwarded to me as well. Loved reading your story and the pictures reinforce the message of a love already tested and proven. I met A. when he was 8 or 9 and have been delighted to watch him become such a wonderful young man. I wish you both great joy and a long, growing togetherness.
Judy in GA

2 Feb 2011, 11:22am
by Dale Holditch

We are very happy for you both and looking forward to getting to know you. We are a small family and are happy to have a new cousin! I hope you and Andrew will find your way east again, and we look forward to seeing you on the west coast.

Best wishes,
Soon-to-be Aunt Dale and Uncle John

28 Dec 2011, 6:22pm
by George (Andrew’s Dad)

What a perfectly wonderful write-up of a perfectly wonderful story! It’s a gem, and so are you! I’m really looking forward to the Big Event.


Soon-to-be father-in-law George



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