I met David in the fall of 1999 through a Yahoo personal ad. It’s a long story, and you can read the whole thing in my book if and when it gets published. For now, I’m including a short excerpt about dependability.
…this [ad] was different. It was well written in plain English instead of personal ad jargon. It said he was looking for someone who remembered the Sixties, so he wasn’t looking for a trophy. He liked listening to the oldies, sailing, and motorcycle riding, so he actually had a life. He also liked to read and had just finished the third book in the Left Behind series. I was reading the same series, and since it was Christian fiction, that was another positive. In spite of my prayer, or maybe because of it, I clicked on ‘Respond”, and I met David.
For the next several weeks, we exchanged daily e-mails, going through the standard getting-to-know-you information, and then moving a little deeper. One of the standard questions I asked of all my Yahoos was if you could tell me only one thing about yourself, what would it be. Refer back to the Internet double-speak phrases for a list of the answers I usually got. But again, David was different. He said he was dependable. That didn’t sound like the bad boys I usually chose; in fact, it sounded kind of boring. But his e-mails were interesting, and it wasn’t long before I realized that dependable wasn’t boring at all. In my previous e-mail relationships, correspondence was sporadic and unpredictable, but David wrote every day and often sent e-cards in addition. When we took the next step and started talking on the phone, the phone would ring exactly when he said he would call.
My experience in my 10 years of being single again led me to believe that there were no men “in the market” who were willing to make a commitment to anything, but David proved to be the exception. Instead of we’ll see what’s going on next week, he said let’s go to dinner next Friday. Instead of avoiding talks of relationship, he initiated them. Shortly after we started dating in person instead of by computer or phone, we went to dinner.
“So, Ms. Robinson,” he said, looking directly into my eyes as if he could see what was going on behind them. “What kind of relationship do you want?”
I was terrified. I had so many hurts and hang-ups from past mistakes that I could hardly see past the protective walls I had built around myself. David still laughs at the “deer-in-the-headlights” look on my face. But he listened patiently as I looked everywhere but into his eyes and rattled on about independence and fair play. He wasn’t discouraged. He continued to be there, to provide a safe place where I could gradually tear down my walls and come out into the dependable relationship he offered. As I felt safer, he gently let me know that he wanted to make it permanent. He began to drop the “M” word into conversations, and when I didn’t bolt, he became a little bolder. One night, without great fanfare, he came out and said it.
“Ms. Robinson,” he said, “don’t you want to marry me?”
“Well, yes,” I said as I sat snuggled in a big David hug that made me feel safe. “I guess I’m just a little scared.”
On Valentine’s Day we went shopping for rings. After visiting several jewelers, we found one we both liked, but he wasn’t satisfied with the center stone. He wanted a perfect 1-carat marquis cut diamond, and he wanted to approve it before it was set.
For the next few days, I existed in a little hell of my own making. I loved David and knew he loved me, and I was excited about the prospect of making a life together, but I was still scared. I had been hurt so often, and so many promises had been broken, that I was afraid to expect too much. A week went by and I didn’t hear anything about the ring. I worried. Maybe he was having second thoughts. Maybe he had changed his mind.
His birthday came around, and I took him out to dinner. We ate at a Cajun restaurant near my house, but I can’t tell you what we ate or what we talked about. The old tapes were running in my head: he doesn’t love you, he doesn’t mean what he said, you shouldn’t have made yourself vulnerable. Then his ever-present smile widened a bit and he reached into his pocket.
“I was going to do this in a more romantic spot, but I just can’t wait,” he said, pulling a square velvet box out of his pocket. He leaned toward me, with the box extended in the palm of his hand. I held my breath as he opened the lid, and there it was, gleaming with all the shine of a promise kept. I did the typical woman thing. I burst into tears.
“Honey,” he said, “why are you crying? You knew I was going to get it.”
I knew he said he was, but I wasn’t sure he was going to carry through. I hadn’t learned to trust that he was really as dependable as he claimed. But after 12 years, I’m a believer. If he says it, I can depend on it. Thank you, David, for my ring and all it stands for, and happy birthday with all my love.