"My dear damsel of constant distress. I hope this epistle might find you in a bright mood of sunshine and flowers. Our love is as the turbulent sea in a mighty wind with crests of love and happiness that take us meters above the surface of mediocrity to the troughs of bitterness, and loneliness and sometimes almost hate. . .Ralexwin and I began seeing each other around October 1999. It was all very hush-hush and Ralexwin made a good display of trying to convince himself we were 'just friends.'
I have [only ever wanted to be a man] strong in testimony and faith of the simple truths of the gospel of Christ. And by me I see a woman equally alive. Physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Whose eyes burn with an inner strength of conviction and courage. A woman rugged, who can withstand the trials of the pioneers but refined enough to dine with queens. . .
Let's try again. I think you are sick of trying but I can't give up the right. Please don't be mad at me."
Dating Ralexwin was rough. No one knew we were seeing each other, so I got the distinct pleasure of watching other girls flirt with him while I stood by simmering.
We fought... a lot.
Our relationship teetered on the brink of disaster month after month after month. We were two kids selfishly fighting for what we expected out of the other and never taking the time to look at what we could fix within ourselves, and yet we kept coming back to each other.
In May of 2000 Ralexwin packed his bags and moved eight hours away from me to Phoenix, Arizona to go to school at ASU.
Our relationship didn't change much. We still fought, we still broke up every other week, but lack of finances on both of our parts restricted our long distance calls and required us to write letters. This was, quite possibly, the saving grace of our love. We were forced to make sense of how we felt and we were able to do it without sarcasm, interruptions, or anger.
We thrived at letter writing.
Sometime later that summer, however, I decided to go visit Ralexwin in Phoenix. We planned it all out. His little brother was going to be coming down the week before I was and would need a ride back to St. George. Ralexwin and I arranged for me to fly down stay a few days and then all three of us would drive the eight hours back together.
I imagine that this is one of the worse memories that Ralexwin's brother has (we'll call him Wearwin).
The trip was a disaster. We fought horribly, and at one point when Ralexwin got on the phone and talked for an hour I actually tried to walk back to my hotel by myself (I had no idea where I was or where it was).
I was livid at his behavior to me. I wanted more commitment than he was giving and I was absolutely fed up.
The time came for the drive home. Ralexwin and I sat in the front seats and cheerful Wearwin climbed into the back.
We started driving.
An hour or two out of Phoenix I announced I was hungry. I directed Ralexwin to pull into a Subway coming up at the next exit.
Without batting an eye he drove past it.
Okay, how about that McDonald's?
Ralexwin refused to stop until we needed gas.
I stopped talking to him. He stopped talking to me.
I started being rude and sarcastic. He got sarcastic with me.
Wearwin starting squirming in the backseat.
(it might be noted at this point in the story that I get irrational when I'm hungry or tired....very irrational)
I threatened death if he didn't pull over. He stubbornly (and wickedly) dared me to try.
Dust was settling on a desolate stretch of the Navajo Reservation when Ralexwin pulled into the most broke-down gas station I had ever seen in my short life. It was five hours later.
"Now you can get food."
"I don't want any from there!"
I was so mad I could barely think past my anger. Visions of lunging across the car at the man I was supposed to love raced through my head.
He seemed to smile cruelly.
"Fine, don't get anything."
I sulked in the car.
Wearwin came back and offered me some of his food. I graciously declined.
Ralexwin came back and offered me some of his food. I threatened to throw it out the window.
Three hours later, when Ralexwin dropped me off at my apartment I slammed the door and swore I'd never talk to him again.
This was a major turning point in our relationship. I realized that in no way did I want to be treated like a second class citizen and I felt as if that's what I was getting from Ralexwin.
I made it very clear that if I was to be the one he loved, then I needed him to show me. I started dating other people-- and brutally told him about every single one of them. I wanted him to understand that I could move on, I had just chosen not to.
Tears were shed on both sides (I've only seen Ralexwin cry maybe twice ever... this was one of them).
For his part, I think he was desperate to get me back, but I didn't feel it. I was tired of our relationship being secret, I was tired of watching him let girls flirt with him. I wanted more than anything to be his #1.
Finally... in August of 2000, Ralexwin called me at work one night and said these fateful words:
"Fine, you want to get married, then lets get married."
"I'm not saying yes or no until you tell your parents you proposed to me."