Rules of Engagement

I’m not sure the specifics are necessary as to how we got to this point of the conversation in my Honors English class today:

“Did you want to marry your college boyfriend?”

It took me a second to figure out which college boyfriend she was talking about, because I couldn’t remember ever talking about any of them.

“You know, the one you talked to on the phone all the time.”

Ooh, right. That one. I forgot that I had, in the middle of a random rant about college life, mentioned that college boyfriend.

“Oh. Him. Actually, we were engaged.”

The whole class erupted with questions, and I waited until they calmed down and called on a girl who raised her hand.

“How did he ask you?”

Here’s the thing: I can’t remember. But I couldn’t tell them that, so I tried to piece together the details I did remember.

“He took me to some falls not far from my house.”

“Were there other people there? Did he yell ‘she said yes!’ when you said yes? Did you cry?”

“Well,” I stuttered, “It was cold, so there weren’t a whole lot of people there.”

“Why was it cold?”

“Ummmm…because it was Christmas Eve.”

Cue the loudest, most saccharine, collective “awwwwwww” I’ve ever heard.

“You all need to stop reading Nicholas Sparks novels.”

Luckily, the bell rang, so I avoided more questions. But I’ve been thinking about it all day. I can remember a million other moments as clear as day from several other boyfriends, but I can’t remember how I was first proposed to.

Here’s the thing, though: it doesn’t bother me that I can’t (or don’t or won’t) remember that proposal, because he was a dirtbag, and the less I remember about him, the better.

It’s been interesting reading The Great Gatsby with this group of kids–I realize more and more every year that they just can’t appreciate Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy (creepy as it might be) or feeling like a complete failure at 30, an age at which you’re supposed to have everything in life figured out.

Then again, the older I get, the more I realize not many people have everything in life figured out. Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to learn from The Great Gatsby. No matter the plans we make, there’s always the chance that you’ll end up dead in a pool.

Sorry if you didn’t know that about Gatsby.

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