Once the ring was ordered, the feeling of calm prevailed. We went through the next few days as normal. Sightseeing. Cooking together. Purse shopping (we did eventually find the perfect one). Spending every possible second together.
And discussing the future. Though there were many questions to answer, two in particular loomed over everything:
When (and where) would we get married?
Where would we live afterwards?
There were so many issues to consider. Families. Work opportunities. Schedules. Cultures. Languages. Visas and citizenship processes. Economies. Possibilities. Both Mario and I wanted to make sure that we were making the best decisions for our future, not just the easiest ones.
Then, Saturday morning, the call came. The ring was done. As I was adamant that I didn’t want to see it (I did, after all, want there to be some element of surprise), Mario went to pick it up. Though I couldn’t see the tangible evidence of the ring when he returned (as he had tucked it away), the knowledge that he had it in his possession settled like a weight.
And panic finally hit.
Were we rushing into something? Mario was leaving in a few days! Were we really ready to make this commitment?
I wasn’t the only one feeling anxious. Apprehension (and a good dose of nerves) made us both fidgety as the ring presented a heavy dose of a reality to our situation.
It was time to defuse the situation. While my love for Mario was growing with every passing day, and while I knew that I wanted to marry him, I didn’t want either of us to feel like we had allowed our situation – specifically the fact that his departure date loomed over us both like a heavy cloud – to push us into anything.
In the middle of one our many conversations about plans – both for the next couple of days as well as for the future – I knew it was the right time to release the pressure. As Mario held me in his arms, I assured him that he didn’t need to feel forced to do anything. Yes, we both knew he had the ring. Yes, we had both felt like this was the right path. But that didn’t mean anything needed to happen before he left. I wanted him to know that no matter what happened over the next few days, we were going to be fine. If the right moment arrived, and the proposal came, then that would be wonderful. But nothing was going to change between us if he left without putting a ring on my finger. We were already planning my trip to see him, and our relationship would continue to progress whether or not we were engaged. The most important thing is that we felt right about every step we took – and about the timing of each step.
Mario held me close as I explained my thoughts. I could feel the tension slowly leave his body as the weight of the decision dissipated. Kissing my brow he murmured a quite “grazie” and pulled me even closer. As we passed the next few minutes quietly lost in our own thoughts, I felt at peace. While I didn’t know what was going to happen over the next few days, I knew that I belonged with this man. And that was all that mattered.