Friday, January 27, 2012

On My Florida Vaca and My Late Chanuka Present

Many, many apologies in advance - for grammar, for poetic license, etc.  I am exhausted and my head is spinning in 14 different directions at onceYou will forgive me this sleep deprived, rambling indulgence.

Florida with Sick Tova is always a treat. 

The flight was fine until the descent, when the change in pressure did all kinds of wonderful things to her.  I managed to get her situated with water while I (a) got the luggage, (b) got the luggage and her on a tram to the car rental, (c) rented the car, (d) drove us to her apartment, (e) got her and the luggage upstairs, (f) got her in bed) and (g) drove to the supermarket to get some food necessities (cereal, milk and chocolate).  But hey, that beats a trip to the local hospital for a blood transfusion!

About two hours later I drove Sick Tova to the local hospital for a blood transfusion.

That out of the way, Friday morning we were ready to roll.  We spend the vast majority of the day sitting by the pool (excellent weather) and then went to collect food for shabbos.  Then we went back to the pool. 

I was so exhausted by Shabbos that I virtually slept the entire day (half by the pool and half in a bed). 

Sunday and Monday followed the same pattern.  Sit by the pool, laugh, talk, eat when we remembered, laugh and talk some more.  Oh and swim.  Our attempt at making frozen beverages ended prematurely after  mishap with her mother's blender.  So sipping frozen beverages by the pool, a staple of any relaxing warm weather vacations, was out.  Still, it's amazing what sunshine, relaxation and spending time with your best friend can do for the spirit.

We spent time walking on the beach, sitting in the sand and looking at the ocean -  contemplating life's bizarre curve balls.  Or at least I did, I don't know what Tova was contemplating in those moments.

On Tuesday she told me we were getting dressed up and heading down to Miami (her parent's place is a little bit north of Miami) for a very early dinner at a nice place.  She told me she had a package she had to deliver to Miami Beach anyway.

"What package?" I asked.

"I have a package I promised my mother I'd take to a friend of hers, "she replied.  "She has an apartment in ______ (naming a nice building on Collins Avenue)."

I frown suspiciously.  "You hate your mother.  You wouldn't pee on her if she was on fire.  You are doing her a favor?"

She gives me annoyed  "What the fuck?  Why are you giving me third degree about the package?  She let us have the apartment during high rental season.  Not only that she kept it open just in case I would be healthy enough to come.  It's the least I can do."

"How come you never mentioned this package before?" I persist.

"Will you shut up about the fucking package already!  I didn't think it was all that important.  Had i known you'd be giving me such a hard time about it I'd have told my mother we can't deliver the package because it might put you out for five minutes."

And so I drop it (not even bringing up the fact that we are eating dinner so early.  If i wanted dinner at 5:00 I would have vacationed in Boca) and we get dressed up.  Me in the only nice things I brought and her on the only nice things she raided out of my closet five minutes before my brother drove us to the airport ("The only upside to me being sick?  I can finally fit into your clothes!") and we were driving down south along Collins Avenue.

We pull up in front of a really nice building in Miami Beach.  Tova, who is driving, hands me a taped up paper bag, like the kind you get from the supermarket, and hands it to me.  "Here, take this in, It's hot and I don't feel like dehydrating before we stuff ourselves on red meat.  Just bring it to the doorman/concierge guy in front and tell them it's for Mr. Stein in apartment __".

Immediately annoyed that she is making me get out to do this, I notice that she does look a little pale and she's glistening with sweat.  Since I'd prefer to NOT make a return trip to the hospital, I take the package.

"I'm not delivering heroin or anything am I?"  She rolls her eyes and tells me she's hungry and I should move my ass.  (Have I mentioned how much fun vacationing with Tova is???)

The glass sliding doors barely make a whooshing sound and I am in the most immaculate and gorgeous lobby I've seen in a while.  There's lots of marble and fancy paintings.  I walk to the front desk where a thirty-something brunette asks if she can help me.

"I'd like to leave this package for Mr. Stein in apartment ___" I say.

"Oh yes.  He's waiting for the package.  You can bring it right up."  She smiles at me sweetly.

"Um, can't I just leave it here?"

More sweet smile.  "Oh no.  You can bring it right up."  She looks at me expectantly, with sweet smile still fixed in place.

I see this is a fight I cannot win.  I sigh and take the elevator up to Mr. Stein's apartment.  The whole thing is totally creeping me out but I think of poor Tova sitting in the car and sweating to death so I hurry up to the apartment. 

I ring the doorbell.  "It's open," a  muffled voice calls out.  Against any sane woman's instincts, I push the door open.

And nothing is registering anyway.  Not the champagne in an ice bucket with two glasses.  Not the candles.  Not the fact that David is standing there in a black suit, white shirt and black tie, looking gorgeous and perfect. 

My jaw must be on the floor at this point because he laughs and then I do what I do best which is burst out and cry for reasons I cannot quite explain and he comes over and hugs me and tells me I'm supposed to be happy to see him not cry from it.

I'm speaking but clearly not doing a very good of expressing myself.  I'm confused and hormonal and seeing him has just turned me into a blubbery mess.  He hold me for a few minutes until I calm down.

"So, come here often?" I ask, still sniffling, wiping my eyes with a tissue.

He smiles.  "Only when I need to bring my girlfriend her chanuka present." 

And he hands be a black velvet box.

Of course, at this point it clicks for me.  The way everyone's been acting so weirdly.  Tova's insistence on coming no matter what.  The "package" we need to deliver. 

One.  Big.  Setup.

Inside the box is the shiniest, most beautiful thing I've ever seen.  I gasp and take it out. 

It is the absolute culmination of my life to this point.  The high point.  Everything I have worked so hard for.  The therapy, the quitting drugs and bad behavior.  The end of my rebellion.  Repairing relationships with my family (most of them anyway).  It's all for this moment.  To hear the words he is telling me as all these thoughts are going through my head.

 - I must have planned ten speeches. 

 - None of them worked right.

 - I decided to speak from my heart. 

 - I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.

And now I'm the one laughing and saying yes, yes, YES I will marry you, of course I'll marry you.  I love you more than anything in the world.  You are my dream come true.  And curtains are billowing and we are opening a bottle of champagne (he checked a bag just so he could bring this from New York, worrying he wouldn't be able to get a bottle in Florida) and we are sitting on the most magnificent balcony and eating the most magnificent meal and talking about nothing and everything.

About how he's been planning this for months with Tova (that little two timer).  About why he decided he wanted to do it in Florida because that way it would be about the two of us, not allowing my mother to somehow turn this into a thing about her.  He told me he had spoken to my father and how gracious my dad was in that conversation.  That my dad told David that he and my mother couldn't be happier about adding David to the family.

And then he's on the phone.  Calling his parents, his siblings, his friends.  I call Tova.  "I'm engaged."

"No shit.  I left your pj's and a change of clothes for you at the front desk.  Though I bet you won't need to pj's, wink, wink."

"Shut up you pig."  We laugh.  "Are you going to be ok?"

"Of course I am.  I think I can make it a day without you."  We agree this is so.  "Hey Cym, mazal tov."

"Tova - thank you.  For everything."

"Yea yea."  She hangs up.

I leave David to his seemingly endless calls and take the elevator to the lobby.  Brunette is there with a big smile and a knapsack with my clothes and toiletries that Tova has somehow managed to sneak into the car without me seeing.  "Congratulations," she says with that same sweet smile.

I walk outside and call my dad.  We talk for a few minutes.  He tells me how happy he is for me and how he thinks David is a really, really wonderful guy. He tells me I should talk to my mother.  I hedge.  But I know he's right.  It'll be worse for me if I get home before i speak to her.  She comes to the phone and I tell her I'm engaged.  She is as gracious as I can expect.  It's two minutes of awkwardness but I know I've done the right thing. 

I stand out on Collins Avenue in front of the building.  I let the events of the last two hours settle in a bit.  I stare at the ring on my finger and smile.

I'm happy, I realize.  I'm overwhelmingly happy.

When I was a rebel, I wanted to marry a non-Jew at age 30 and have a child.  When I was "recovering", I figured I'd marry an non-observant Jew at 25 and have a couple of kids.  Now I'm 21, engaged to an orthodox guy and the future looks open.  But open in a good way. 

I smile again, shoulder my backpack and head back upstairs.  I take his IPhone away from him and we have some serious Us time.  I know things will never be the same again.

 But for the first time, that's a good feeling.


  1. Mazel tov!!!! Wohoo! So excited for you!


    Btw, I knew what was going to happen right away!!!!!!! But kept reading on anyway!!!!!!!!1

    Awesomeness! SO happy for you! Many blessings for you and your bashert!

  3. mazal tov! May you have many years of happiness to come!

  4. Mazal Tov! Great Story! Many years of happiness!

  5. Mazal Tov! Thats pretty amazing.

  6. Mazal Tov!!!

    This blog is starting to read like a fairy tale! Happily ever after is on its way.

  7. Thank you thank you well wishers!! I am exhausted and excited! I have to say, my life generally feels more like a nightmare than a fairy tale but yes, this was pretty awesome!

  8. I totally didn't know what was going too happen, and now I'm sitting here and deserve your fairy tale. Congratulations princess cym

  9. Hahaha! Mazel tov! I totally called it, but I have no proof, but I totally guessed that David Weirdness + Nice Clothing = Proposal.
    Gchat me when you have a mo, and I'll give you more celebratory arrogance :D

  10. Ahhhhhhhh!!! Mazal tov!!!

  11. That is so beautiful. I am so happy for you.
    May the two of you have a wonderful and happy life together and may he treat you like a queen all the days of your life!
    It is truly amazing where life can take you...may you be in for only good surprises from here on!
    Good luck with all the wedding preps!

  12. Mazel tov!! I LOVE happily ever after.
    I'm so, so happy for you.

  13. Mazel Tov! That is soooo awesome. May you and David be happy forever and ever!

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  15. You know that feeling when you are reading a book, or watching a movie, and know how it ends, but keep reading/watching anyways.

    Well, when you reach that special point in it, you get tears in your eyes, and that happy/goofy grin on your face.

    Even though this is almost a year and a half ago...since I just reached this point in the story: Mazel Tov!