A Surprise Engagement

Ever tried to catch a thrown brick? It ain’t easy. First, you prepare for the heavy weight, which often has sharp edges, and then you try to position your body so that you can buffer the shock and try to prevent bodily harm. But in almost every case, you end up dropping it because it’s a lot heavier than you think it is.

Such is what happened to me last evening. It started innoculously enough — a simple phone call from Chris. Well, “simple” in its simplest meaning, but loaded with a lot of “something big”. It went like this:

Me: Hello?

Chris: Hey man, what’s up? (Standard opening to a phone call for us.)

Me: Not much, the usual hell of my daily life. (Standard answer to the question.)

Chris: You doing anything tonight?

Me: Nope. (Knowing full well that I was supposed to meet with an insurance agent, who never ended up showing.)

Chris: Great! Kaz and I would like to meet you for coffee.

That’s when my “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” alarm went off. Chris has never, EVER, asked me to go for “coffee”. And if he would ask, the question would be posed as follows: “Wanna grab a coffee after work?” or something similar. The question was too formal, and loaded with the “Kaz and I”. Immediate thoughts ran through my mind:

  1. Kaz is pregnant.
  2. Chris has decided not to go to Japan, and is moving in with Kaz.
  3. Chris and Kaz got engaged.
  4. I’m overreacting, and it’s nothing.
  5. Kaz is going to Japan with Chris. (She’s Japanese by birth, so it’s not that big of a stretch.)
  6. After I move to my new house, Chris is hoping I might take Kaz in as a roommate.
  7. They’ve eloped and are married, bought a house, and Kaz is pregnant with twins. (Like with all things I do, even my paranoia follows the adage: Go big, or go home.)

These flitted through pretty quickly, and none stuck. I figured it was just Chris being a little strange because of having a new girlfriend (Chris sometimes gets like that).

That evening, I ducked out shortly before 6pm and headed home. I was hoping to meet up with the building manager to try and swing a May 31st departure. But the manager I needed to talk to wasn’t in. I instead went up to the apartment for a few minutes before heading out to meet up with Chris and Kaz at the Starbuck’s on 17th Ave. (which was where I was supposed to meet the absent agent) for 7pm.

Although I didn’t notice it at the time, Chris was a little … nervous. And for good reason. We took up a seat next to the fireplace, and almost immediately Chris and Kaz held out their left hands. On their ring fingers were matching (but differently sized) plain white gold rings.

Number three.

There are few things that will shock me. There are few things that will surprise me. There are even fewer things that will stun me so completely that for about a minute I can’t think of anything to say. I finally had to force out “My most sincere congratulations” and stifle the “Are you out of your collective minds?!”.

Once we’d gotten by the uncomfortable silence that followed the “announcement” (it took a little while for it to sink in), I had to start asking questions. As one of Chris’ friends, one of my responsibilities is to be his conscience, whether he likes it or not. The trick is not to ask questions that could be construed as insulting. Chris knows me well — I can ask him literally anything and he’ll understand it’s just me checking my own sanity as much as his. Kaz, on the other hand, is only just getting to know me. Having caught the dropped bomb, I now had to be careful about laying the landmines.

A lot of people would sit back and suggest that they’re moving too quickly (which is a perfectly valid thought), that they haven’t thought things through, that this is inherently risky (especially since Chris is going to Japan for a year), and there is no way they could possibly know each other well enough.

Any question you ask, they’ve thought of. They’ve considered it. There is no fear, no doubt, no hesitation. And above all, there is sensible thought about all of it. That was one of the first things I checked. Having been engaged in the past, I know what kind of pressures they’ll be under, and having popped the question so soon after meeting each other (about three weeks, by my count), they’ll be under way more pressure than most.

Needless to say, I’m totally happy for them. I think it’s great that they were able to find each other, and able to realize very early in the relationship that this wasn’t just some iffy thing — they could see it in themselves that they were ready to be with each other for the rest of their lives. I will be lucky if I have that happen to me. I’ve seen it a couple of times before, but I guess with my own history, I’m not too optimistic for myself.

So as if my anxieties about losing Chris weren’t bad enough, now he’s getting married (no plans beyond coming back from Japan, sorry). That means more isolation for myself, and the inevitable sound of little feet (though hopefully, no time soon).

I’m too young for this shit.