Four Years A Bride: The Finale

Haven’t read the other parts?

Part I  Part II  Part III

After I had totaled and flipped my car, my view on life completely changed.

As I had stated in my last post, I was tired of being lonely.  I was tired of being strong.  I was tired of being so self-reliant.  Honestly, I was just tired.

I had been working 80 hours a week for four months at that point.  When I had one day off, which was very far and few between, I would just sleep for 14 hours.  I didn’t even enjoy my days off.  When I was dating Alex, I would see him at night, and if I only had to work one job, I would usually sit on his bed with him and talk, and we talked about everything.  Slowly, he had not become only my lover, but my best friend.

After I had flipped my car, I basically lost my job at the deli.  My manager put me at 23 hours a week, which was my main source of income.  She said that after flipping my car, I wasn’t reliable anymore.  My other job was paying well, but between student loans, car insurance that went through the fucking roof, rent, and basic living expenses, I was maxing out a credit card just to survive.

My mother had told me that if I ever asked her for rent money, she would mail me a ticket to fly home.  I would ship back only the necessary stuff, and give away the rest.

So when I was figuring out how I was going to survive, I would usually burst into tears.  I liked Minnesota, but Alaska, to date, is the only place where I’ve ever felt that I fit in.  It was the only place that I could be 100% true to myself and not feel scorned for it.

And if this blog hasn’t given you any insight: I’m really fucking weird.

I remember sitting with Alex, telling him my woes, explaining that I might have to move home, and unfortunately, we would probably have to split.

I don’t do long distance relationships, we wouldn’t be able to afford to fly back and forth from Minnesota and Alaska, and I honestly couldn’t see doing a long distance.  He asked me what he could do to keep me in Alaska, and I joked and said, “Well, there’s always marriage.”

We had been talking marriage a little more seriously.  Because you obviously know someone ridiculously well after two months of being together.

I laughed, but he didn’t.  The next day, we decided to go out to eat.  It was a few days after I had flipped my car and I was still a little sore.  We went out to eat at the Wolf’s Run, which was my favorite restaurant in Alaska.  They were mostly a dessert shop, but their dinners were ridiculously good.  It was pretty early so we were the only ones in the restaurant.  It was stunningly quiet, and once we sat down and the waitress left, Alex took my hands and gave this huge speech.

He told me that his life was a puzzle, and I was the missing piece.  That he had never been in love so deeply before, that I was the other half to make him whole.  He said a lot of mushy stuff and I thought it was sweet, but I didn’t quite get what he was getting at.

“So Leah, my love, my life, will you do the honor of marrying me?” he asked me.

Because I’m so fucking romantic, I responded with, “Sure, why not?”

As you can imagine, the look on his face was priceless.  He put his face in his hands and started to laugh.  “Leah, I’m being serious right now.”

My eyes grew wide.  “Oh shit!  Uh, yes!  Yes, I’ll marry you!”

To which we kissed across the table.  The waitress came around with our hot chocolate and we told her we were engaged.  She just smiled and asked for our orders.

The rest of the night we walked around, figuring out how to tell our family.  I emailed my mom and she didn’t believe me until it was Facebook official, which is the only official that you really need.  Alex’s mom found out via Facebook.  Pretty much the whole family found out about it via Facebook.

Since most of you are probably wondering… he did not propose with a ring.  He was fresh out of basic, he was just as broke as I was.  Alas, this is likely my Alaska side coming out.  To me, rings are usually impractical.  I don’t really care for jewelry.  Alex couldn’t afford a ring and he told me he was going to buy me a big shiny rock someday.  He felt bad that he proposed without a ring, but for me, it wasn’t important.  I wasn’t marrying a ring, I was marrying him.  I knew he loved me, I could see it whenever he smiled at me, or held me, or even when he would talk to me.

My friends felt the same that I did.  A wedding ring is material, it will come in time.  I’ve met several people who didn’t get a ring until they had been together for years.  It wasn’t a big deal.

However, when Alex told his coworkers that he proposed without a ring, they couldn’t believe I said yes without a ring.  A lot of people I knew on base told me that I was stupid for accepting without a ring.  Even here in Louisiana, people told me that they would never accept a marriage proposal without a ring worth at least two grand.  Something I will never, ever understand.

So, on my 21st birthday, two weeks after he proposed, on Valentines, he took me to a jewelry store and let me pick out an engagement ring.

I went over to the sapphires because I really don’t like diamonds and I found a small sapphire ring.  It was $200, and I felt awful finding something to expensive.  However, I really liked it.  I showed it to Alex and he told me that I should pick something more expensive, and I told him no.  I liked simple.

My engagement ring and wedding band.  Total cost was ridiculously low.  And awesome.

My engagement ring and wedding band. Total cost was ridiculously low. And awesome.

So he bought me the ring and I got it sized, and I haven’t really taken it off in the past four years.

On February 28th, the justice of the peace in Fairbanks was meeting us at the chapel on base.  She was two hours late.  One of my best friends in Alaska was there, her mother was there, Alex’s shop chief and his wife were there, and my mom flew up at the last minute to be there.

The justice of the peace was awful.  She stood before us and said, “Do you?  Do you?  Okay, you’re married.”

I remember standing there for about forty seconds before saying, “Can I kiss him now?”

She looked shocked.  “Sure, if you want.”

So we kissed, and we were married.  My mom said she didn’t even have time to get the tears worked up.  My friend’s mom and Alex’s shop chief witnessed the wedding.  From there we went to where I worked and bowled a few games with Alex’s shop.  My mom bought me a cheeseburger and a bottle of Mike’s hard lemonade, and that was my wedding.

Thanks to my friend Marissa for having the thought of bringing a camera that day.

Thanks to my friend Marissa for having the thought of bringing a camera that day.

The next day, we went to the Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks with my mom, and that was my honeymoon.

About four months later we had a “real wedding” in Las Vegas, where I had a fancy ass dress and more of my family attended.  Where I had a horrible wedding photographer.

But that’s okay, because I got the best possible thing out of the entire situation.

I got to gamble in Vegas while totally and completely hammered.

Oh, I got to marry Alex too.

So yeah, that’s how I got married.

Credit to my sister in law for taking this picture.  It looks far better than any of the professional pictures.

Credit to my sister in law for taking this picture. It looks far better than any of the professional pictures.

Alex, happy four years.  You’re the Samwise to my Frodo Baggins.  You’re the Gandalf to my Bilbo Baggins.  You’re the precious to my Gollum.  You’re my lover, my friend, my husband.  I know we drive each other batty more often than not, but I love you, and I want to have at least another 40 years of happiness.

How did your spouse propose to you?  What kind of wedding did you have?  Do you lack the romance like me?  Let me know in the comments!

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