Jake lay on the bed, his back toward me. A few minutes later, he rolled over to see me quietly crying.
Jake: “What’s wrong?!?”
Me: “I’m not going to see you for three weeks!”
Fuck all those people who told me you get more emotional as you get older. Fuck them for being right. It’s disgusting.
Jake’s job really sucks, right now, with a two weeks on and one week off schedule. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I got to see him for a few days out of the month, last month. We saw each other in the middle and then at the very end, only speaking on the phone in between. The times we have seen each other have frequently been shared with his family, such as when we went to the rodeo for Memorial Day, when Jake helped his sister brand cattle on our anniversary weekend, and when we spent the Fourth of July in Wellston helping clean up after a storm took out her barn. Jake just doesn’t have enough time to do all he needs to on his week off and would rather take me along than miss out on time together.
Of course, I would selfishly rather he skip all those non-Belle activities and spend more quality time with me. Therefore, a bit of the time we have together is wasted on me fighting with myself (and sometimes a super understanding Jake), because I can’t help being upset that we don’t get more alone time and more time in general. After a long weekend together, the moment he leaves is just… heartbreaking. I spend the whole day on the brink of tears.
I liked being single, y’all. I had so much fun having my One Tree Hill marathons, while crafting in a t-shirt and panties. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stated for why Jake won’t be living with me, before marriage. This is the last time I get to do these things, in excess. I’m trying to take advantage, too. I’ve been spending the time alone working on my photo album projects, having girls’ nights, watching Army Wives and old teen movies and… it’s just not fun anymore. I try to remind myself that five years from now, I’ll do anything for a week alone and it’s just not working.
While Jake and I don’t live together and won’t until we share a name, there have been a few occurrences when it’s been easier for him to stay with me for a week than drive back to Wellston every night, just depending on his job location. These snapshots of married life have really shown me what it will be like, particularly when he has a rough schedule. I know that not every night will be a romantic night out, that sometimes Jake will come home from work with just enough energy to shower and go to bed. I’m aware that during these times, I’ll be the one doing most of the domestic chores, including buying him new underwear and t-shirts. He’ll criticize my Diet Coke intake and we’ll argue over how that compares to his beer intake. I’ll have to sit through more damned Ben Stiller movies than I ever anticipated. But… he’ll be with me.
In February, I told Jake that I imagined I’d say yes after a year of dating, based on our progress at the time. I was right. If he asked me tomorrow, or more likely after his job settles a bit, I’d pull out my calendar and choose a date right then. I hate weddings. I’m sure you’ll read all about how and why in the next year, but I am not a wedding gal. I just want Jake. I’ll sign his prenup, stating that I’m not after the family ranch. I’ll argue with his mother over cake toppers and flowers. I’ll do the drama where I tell my mom she can’t come. I don’t care. I just want to get to the part where I get to see him every day, sign his name with mine, and spend our lives together.
A few years ago, I tried to explain to Gail why living together before marriage just wouldn’t work for me. I theorized that cohabitating for a marriage bound couple might deprive them of experiencing a true readiness to marry. By going halfsies on commitment, by taking on some of the duties and most of the perks, the remaining benefits could become muted and vague and wouldn’t necessarily outweigh the added responsibility of forever. When I have a bad day and long to curl up with Jake on the couch, while he plays with my hair and doesn’t ask a single question; when I wake up alone and wish he were there to roll over and kiss me on the forehead; when I eat dinner in front of the TV and would prefer to be at the table with him; I know I was right. If I experienced these little luxuries every day, I wouldn’t yearn for them as a part of marriage. As much as it aches right now, I’m really quite grateful that I’ve gotten the chance to truly recognize the readiness for marriage… and I wish the day would hurry up and get here.