My mother took it well, although she would have been justified in asking us to wait. There had been a thirteen year age gap between her and my father, so she was not shocked by that, but I was only nineteen and we'd had an odd and unhappy three years since my father's death, so it could well be thought that I was not in a good position to know my mind, let alone decide my entire future. However, she said how pleased she was, and the next morning, which was a Saturday, I went off to work at the town library.
I didn't tell anyone. At lunchtime, the Sprout and I had arranged to meet in his office, which was five minutes walk away. He had been over to his parents' house (which was here, where we now live) to tell them. He mentioned an engagement ring - would I like to choose one, or would I like a family ring? I said a family ring, and he produced a box from his pocket. In it was a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring, set in platinum. He placed it on my finger, and it fitted.
Afterwards, I went back to work. I didn't say anything, but it wasn't long before someone noticed and I became the centre of attention.
When we discussed a wedding date, I wanted to make it soon, and a small occasion. The Sprout was unsure. He thought it would be expected that we'd make a bit of a splash; his brother had got married in Australia a year or so earlier and not told anyone until afterwards, and he knew his mother had been disappointed. In the end, it was decided that we'd get married in August, with a reception at the Yacht Club and a honeymoon in the Seychelles.
Most of you will probably wonder why I did so blithely tumble into matrimony. I hadn't had it on my mind at all, up until then. I'd have been quite horrified at the idea, in fact. But I hadn't hesitated for a moment, and in the weeks that followed I had no doubts at all.
I'm sure my father's death and subsequent disasters did have something to do with it - not that I was looking for a father-figure; I really don't think that was it at all. It was more that it had jolted me out of my age group and I was quite impatient with adolescent interests. A Latin teacher, a year earlier, had said (regarding a Roman writer) "I've always liked Horace. They say that you have to be middle-aged to appreciate him, but I think I was born middle-aged." I've blogged about this before - it gave me a shock of recognition, that your mental age group doesn't necessarily reflect your age, and I found this reassuring and comforting when I felt out of kilter with people.
I've always made the most important decisions in life quickly and instinctively. As I said before, I knew the Sprout as a friend already. I'd had casual relationships - and knew that they were; there had been one chap I'd rather fallen for, but it was leading nowhere and I didn't expect it to - and one more serious one; but I knew in my heart that we were only playing, as it were. When that finished (he finished it; his mother thought that I wasn't a good influence, heh heh*) I wasn't actually too bothered. Although he was four years older than me, he was a boy and I wasn't a girl. The Sage was different. He was interesting, well-rounded, he knew a lot about a wide range of subjects, and could talk to anyone about anything. He wasn't after a casual relationship and neither of us was the sort to waste time. We're not impulsive, but we are both decisive when it matters, and cautious the rest of the time.
Marriage, though - you might wonder why we didn't live together. Well, this was out of the question, for one thing. My mother and his parents would both have been horrified. My mother, for a start, would ask how much he actually loved me, if he didn't want to marry me? And I would have too. I have high expectations. I want and expect to be adored, and that includes total commitment. And I'd found the man who met my expectations and I saw no point at all in waiting.
*Actually, she had a point. I was a bit reckless. A bit of an Ado Annie at heart - though don't read too much into that. Head ruled heart, even if I was impulsive.
I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a turrible fix.
I always say "come on, le's go"
Jist when I orta say nix!
When a person tries to kiss a girl,
I know she orta give his face a smack.
But as soon as someone kisses me,
I somehow, sorta, wanta kiss him back!
I'm jist a fool when lights are low
I cain't be prissy and quaint
I ain't the type that can faint
How c'n I be whut I ain't?
I cain't say no!
Whut you goin' to do when a feller gits flirty, and starts to talk purty?
Whut you goin' to do?
S'posin' 'at he says 'at yer lips're like cherries, er roses, er berries?
Whut you goin' to do?
S'posin' 'at he says 'at you're sweeter 'n cream,
And he's gotta have cream er die?
Whut you goin' to do when he talks that way,
Spit in his eye?
By the way, I don't have an Oklahoma accent. Read this, please, in Received Pronunciation.
PS - I've changed this post several times, so if you get a previous one via a RSS feed, bear with me. And if you didn't, don't worry - you haven't missed any spectacular revelations.