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I remember sitting in the kitchen, when Anne used to live in The Atrium, that old apartment complex where I could never get in without jumping the fence or following the neighbors inside like a stalker. Sitting at the kitchen table with Josi and Rachel, with her roommate Alayna, in front of my syrupy breakfast plate, talking, talking, talking. I was being intentional, taking that trip into the city to hang out with my girls and some days, I was so sick of talking and talking about James. I was selfish. I am. There were days we talked until there was nothing left to talk about. And even hours and minutes beyond.

I remember: I didn’t want to talk about him anymore. The syrup hardened to my plate and the edges of my heart hardened in their selfish ways. But it needed to be talked out. We needed to explore the emotions, the mental complications, the way it all felt. For Anne. For us all. It’s exactly what I’m expecting them to do for me. What is , some days, lacking. Where the Body is not always perfect. Where we remember that we are, in fact, human. Unfortunately.

And it was then, I realize, that I did not yet love him like I should have. I didn’t love him then. I didn’t love Annie’s fiancé during all that talking talking talking. I do now, but I didn’t then. It’s been a slow process for me to understand how he loves and cares for Anne in the lifetime-together kind of way. He does, I know that now.

They’ll be married soon. This is real. Name-change, move to Indiana kind of real. When Anne told me, I felt the joy spilling over and out of me. My feet were socked and curled up in my driver’s seat, the pedals driving themselves. I was squealing like I don’t usually, sounding like a girl. Sounding like a little girl because I love him now. And I want him to be the head of her, her husband, her leader. I want him to have her.

Betrothed was a definition that my middle schoolers needed to remember a few weeks ago. Many of them made a mistake and thought it meant “rejected”. Which is so far off. So far from the promise and commitment and lifetime sense of stay that betrothal elicits. Come May, they will be betrothed. And, I’m alright with that.