Tuesday: Yesterday, Tom and I spent a long evening together. We had dinner in the cafeteria and then dessert and coffee at home. I told about visiting my family and that I had told them about our rings, and so we somehow came to the topic of engagement rings and I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic, namely that Americans go crazy with proposals and that this seems to have spread to our country, and that I don’t like the complicated, public, artificial thing it seems to be. But now I worry that Tom might think I want him to propose, when I want just the opposite! But maybe he thinks I was trying to give him hints, and maybe he feels trapped or pressured into something. I really hope he doesn’t, even should he love me and want to be with me forever. I would feel really flattered, but also really scared and trapped. But I can’t say, ‘Please don’t propose to me’, because what if he hadn’t wanted to? Or what if he is hurt? At the moment, I do want to be with him and can’t see an end to our relationship, but I know that people and feelings can change. That’s why I can’t say I want to promise to stay with him. All I can promise is to be true to him right now, and be honest about how I feel.
I also told him about the films I had seen, and especially the one about heartbreak. I told him roughly what it showed, and how touching and painful it was to witness the protagonists’ heartbreak, and how it scared me. I wanted to share my thoughts with him and it is a subject that concerns us. But again, I later worried that he might have misunderstood me. Maybe he thought I was worried he might leave me and was begging him not to? I told him I was afraid of heartbreak, but that I had consciously chosen to risk it when I started dating in order to experience love. He rose and came over to hug me and told me not to be afraid, he wasn’t like that (meaning, I suppose, that he wouldn’t leave me. But who knows what can happen?) I am just as much afraid of breaking his heart and causing him that agony. I embraced him and told him that I had just wanted to tell him about my experience and my thoughts, because he was my best friend (‘And you are mine,’ he said) and I said, ‘I never want to break your heart,’ and he said the same. Nevertheless, one of us probably will, one day…
As expected, Tom finally was a little more passionate again yesterday. There had been two weeks where he had been tired, nervous and ill and we hadn’t done anything besides cuddling and innocent kissing. We watched a short documentary about love and sex that I had watched before, but wanted to watch with Tom. I had asked him and he had said he would watch it, and yet I wasn’t sure if he hated it or not, or if he only watched it to please me. He wouldn’t tell, I think. Oh, why do I feel as if I had to look out for him all the time?After that, we cuddled and I was wondering what would happen. I longed to feel his passion again, but didn’t feel much desire in my own body. He ran his hand down my side a few times and seemed tentatively open for more. Maybe we both wanted to wait for a sign, both didn’t want to seem intrusive or risk rejection. I certainly felt that way. Tom had taken off his jeans earlier because they stain the sheets, but I was fully dressed. He asked me if I still wanted a massage (we had talked about it at dinner) and I said yes and took off my tops. Tom massaged me a little, but it didn’t help my back pain. I stopped him gently and he briefly held me and kissed my shoulders and then came around to kiss me. But it seemed random and awkward and we both didn’t seem to know what the other wanted. We talked a little and it was getting dark. We both agreed it had been a long time since we had last shared passion, and I said I had missed it but had to get used to it again.
Wednesday: Very sweet evening yesterday. We ate together and hugged and then closed the shutters and hugged in the dark room, where I felt his presence more in the dark. I told him, ‘I care about you sooo much,’ and he said the same. I didn’t want to say I love you, because that seems to be for romantic love, and in that moment I felt not romantic love, but deep affection and appreciation. I hope he doesn’t think now that I don’t love him. We wanted to go early to bed, so we turned off the light soon and tried to settle down to sleep. Nevertheless, we talked some and caressed each other’s faces and shoulders. I stroked his jaw, his eyebrows and lips and whispered, ‘You’re so beautiful.’ Of course, he said it back. It also suddenly struck me as unreal to lie in bed in the arms of this person, this man, who was so close to me, but was not me. This sounds crazy, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I told Tom that I sometimes asked myself if he was real. He said he was real, and I tried to explain that when I had imagined love stories, I as the author had always known the thoughts and feelings of both parties, and now I knew only my own. He said I could always ask, and I said, ‘That’s what I do.’ I am constantly asking him questions. I said he could ask me, too, and he said yes, but that he thinks he can feel me quite well. I didn’t know what he meant by this and asked him, and he said he could perceive my mood most of the time. I liked that, but had to think about it a little, as it surprised me. His statement made me aware of his great sensitivity, which I love. I told him that I was trying to be open and not act, and he said the same.
The next Monday: Not sure if it was on Wednesday or Thursday, but Tom and I were in bed before turning off the light, and I was stroking his eyebrows, his jaw, the lines around his mouth and his lips with one finger. It struck me how precious and wonderful he was, and I told him, ‘I love you.’ ‘And I you,’ he said, and then kissed me passionately before adding, ‘So much.’ We held each other very close for a moment. I think he must feel just as touched when I tell him that I love him as I feel when he tells me. His reaction suggested it, at least.
We both couldn’t wait for our rings to arrive and followed the parcel through the tracking website. They were delivered on Thursday, but nobody was home, so the parcel was taken away again, with no possibility of getting it until Friday afternoon. That meant we wouldn’t be able to open it together until Monday, which was very disappointing. I was afraid of spending the whole weekend with a tempting parcel and not being able to open it. I collected it on Friday after work, and opened it because the box was huge, thinking there would be a smaller box inside. But the rings were there in a bag, with the empty jewellery box beside them, so I accidentally saw them. I confessed to Tom, who said it was no problem, and after taking a picture and showing them to June, who spent Friday evening with me, I put them away in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. It worked quite well and the temptation wasn’t very bad. We will open the bag and put on our rings tonight. During the weekend, I felt strangely ‘still free’. Once I wear Tom’s ring, everybody will think I’m married. This somehow makes me feel a little sad, because any man who might find me attractive will see the ring and consider me off-limits. Not that I would ever want to cheat on Tom, and nobody ever tried to flirt with me, but I would still like to be admired now and then.
It definitely was on Thursday that I had a very hard day at work. Tom and I met right after for a quick dinner in the cafeteria, before going to a lecture from a guest professor from Oxford. I felt very clever and sophisticated to be going to a lecture on ancient philology with my boyfriend, even though my latin is very rusty and ancient greek is a mystery to me. I also often think that I am stupid and have a lazy, simple brain, so I wouldn’t consider myself to be well-educated. Still, it would be interesting to see another aspect of academics than what I am used to. Tom’s friend, Anika, who also works with him at the casino, and to whom Tom had told the story of our first kiss (and other things about me) would also be there, and we would officially meet for the first time. It surprised me that she was already there at the cafeteria when I arrived. Tom introduced us and we shook hands. She said she had seen me at the train station when I had met Tom there after their excursion to France, but I had been so nervous then and only had eyes for Tom, not knowing who the others were. Anika went to eat at another table with a friend, and later didn’t sit with us, so we didn’t talk anymore. The lecture wasn’t very good, and Tom apologised for taking me. I was glad he didn’t like it, because it had seemed terribly irrelevant to me. There were many people at the lecture who looked intimidating, very different from the people in my field. I imagined they must all be very sophisticated and clever. Many pretty young women, too, with lovely, slender bodies, well-groomed yet natural, with expressive faces. Just like I would love to look. I wondered once more why Tom had chosen me when he meets such women daily. I asked him, too, and he said most of them had boyfriends anyway, and that there was nobody for him but me. Now I felt silly, as if I had betrayed jealousy or insecurity, but it had really been mostly curiosity. To be honest, I had also seen some very attractive men, with more height and hair than Tom and a more tasteful style of clothing.