Wendy + Billy


“I promise to choose to love you throughout my life, your life, and our shared lives.”

Billy had the ring for six weeks before he proposed! I was having a bad time with my dissertation (I’m a newly-minted PhD) and constantly in a stressed mood so he never felt like it was the right time. After a particularly peppy Monday morning when I slayed a discussion with my advisor and some other grad students, I decided to take a joyful walk around Echo Park Lake, just down the street. I grabbed our dog, Kitty (a black and white Chihuahua mix that I got when I was 19) and was headed out the door. To my surprise, Billy leapt up and insisted he go with me—before he had his morning coffee! If you know him, this is an unprecedented event. I was surprised but not startlingly so, so we strolled around the lake. He suggested we take a little reprieve at the lookout point by the statue, which is uncharacteristic as well. I shrugged it off and started musing about how many dogs might have jumped into the lake trying to chase these ducks. I was so wrapped up in calculating the likelihood that I didn’t notice Billy had gotten down on one knee with the ring until he softly said, “Wendy?” I turned and he asked, “Will you marry me?” I told him to SHUTUP. We ended up grabbing bottles of champagne and wine, ordering pizza, and watching Breaking Bad the rest of the day!

It was 1996. Kurt Cobain was dead. MTV still played music videos. And Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” were on heavy rotation. Billy had a ‘59 Vespa and a warm and surprisingly deep voice for someone so young. Wendy wore white Dr. Martens wingtips, purple rhinestone cat eye glasses, and a vivacious naivety. We met in fifth period gym class on the bleachers, and our first kisses were Eskimo and butterfly kisses. We’ll wait until you’ve recovered from the staggering cuteness of that.
Okay ready?
Together, we survived high school, Billy’s frosted tips, and Wendy’s unhealthy Twilight obsession. We drove across the country with Kitty the dog, braved the soul-crushing winters of Michigan, and hollered the lyrics to “California Love” during a Fatboy Slim DJ set in Barcelona at 5am in the morning during sunrise. In other words, it’s been an epic 16 years.

Billy, you are my boo, my bona fide, the pretty, pretty princess of my life.
Poet Nayyirah Waheed wrote, “I have a life to garden. A multiverse to wake from sleep.”
I choose to garden this life with you; I choose to rouse, shake and awaken that multiverse with you, to dream and laugh and cry and Netflix and chill with you. A person lives so many lives within their lifetime, to become so many different people. Over the last 16 years, every time we grew, changed, and became different people, we had to choose to love each other. I have chosen, with deliberation, to love you for more than half my life, since we met when I was a 14-year-old, dancing around to The Smiths, thinking about you to this very day.
I chose to love you, even when you listened to Eminem and enjoyed it. I chose to love you when had frosted tips. I choose to love you because you, among so many other things, can be the kindest.
So I promise to slather sunscreen on your back so you can tan to the perfect shade of bright pink and to check your moles, and listen to your coffee-fuelled, morning diatribes and wait at the door while you change outfits for the fourth time.
I’ve chosen in the past and I promise to choose to love you throughout my life, your life, and our shared lives.
This ring means that I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.



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Carly Tia