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Open Horizons

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Screencap of Diana and Christie kissing hello.

In the morning, Christie’s gone before Diana wakes up. She’d lain awake on the couch until five, turning over the pros and cons of marriage before falling into a restless sleep. As she washes up, dresses, and heads into work, they continue to tumble around in her head.

Pro: Lifelong commitment to Christie. Standing up in front of their friends and family to celebrate that commitment.

Con: They’re already committed to each other; a wedding would be superfluous. What would the ceremony and party add?

Pro: Speaking of parties, this would be a giant party with all of their friends.

Con: It would also be a giant party with all of her parents’ acquaintances, and complicated by the security protocols of a dozen nations.

The car behind her honks loudly and angrily, jerking her out of this train of thought. She takes a second to flip off the driver before pulling onto Lafayette and looping around to the parking garage under the plaza. Inside, she rests her head on the steering wheel. She and Christie need to talk, but she doesn’t know what she’d say. The only thing she’s certain about is that she wants to be together, to stay together, but she doesn’t know how that fits in with what Christie’s proposing.

By the end of the day, Diana’s torn between going at home and staying at work. After a long day of writing up reports and filling out paperwork, she’s ready to go home, but for the thought of what’s waiting for her there. Her parents’ condo is a neutral, third option, but work has taught her that walking out on the fight will only make things worse.

The lights are on in their apartment and the bedroom door is closed again. Steeling her nerves, Diana taps it. “Christie? Can we talk?”

The door creaks open and Christie steps out, wrapped in her favorite ugly bathrobe, her nose and eyes red from crying. She moves past Diana to sit down at their dining table, and after a pause, Diana sits down next to her.

Before Christie can say anything, Diana starts. “I’m sorry.” Christie doesn’t say anything to that, so Diana goes on. “I’m sorry I got angry at you last night when you proposed.” The next part’s the hardest, but she looks at Christie as she says it. “My answer’s yes, though. If you still want to.”

At that, Christie sighs. “Why?” She sniffles and her voice is all stuffed up when she says, “If you don’t want to, that’s--well, it’s not fine, but don’t change your mind just to placate me. I’m not going to walk out over this.”

“No, I know,” Diana says, and she has to look away. “I do want to be with you, it’s just that--well, I never thought I’d get married. No, wait,” she says, when Christie’s face hardens. “I didn’t mean it like that. I mean I never thought it’d be possible, so I just didn’t think about it.”

“Oh.” Christie reaches out then and rubs Diana’s shoulder. “I didn’t realize.”

“Yeah,” Diana admits, leaning into Christie’s hand. “I mean, I had you, so I didn’t bother thinking about having more. Why bother? I’d rather work with what I’ve got.”

Christie scoots a little closer. “We can have more now, though. We can get married, we can go to City Hall and fill out the paperwork and have a big party with all our friends. We have the right.”

“Yeah,” Diana says. “I know. Last night, I was scared, though. I’m still a little scared they’ll take it back.”

“I’m scared, too.” Christie clasps Diana’s hand in both of hers, and says, “All the more reason to seize the day.” She takes a deep breath, and Diana has to appreciate Christie’s compassion and courage when she asks, for the second time, “Diana. Will you marry me?”

Diana thinks about her worries, about the shock of finding that she’d let the horizons of her imagination shrink under the weight of prejudice, and about how she hates formal events. Christie’s sitting right next to her, though, looking at her steadily with love and forgiveness in her puffy eyes, and that makes her think that they can deal with her worries together. It makes her think there’s only one honest answer that she can give.

Diana leans in to kiss her about-to-be-fiancee and murmurs, “Yes.”