When grandma wrote me that she’d already bought her airline ticket, I knew I’d have to go through with it.
Everyone who knew us thought marrying Ryan was a no-brainer. We’d been dating since our sophomore year of college. We met at a Halloween party at a mutual friend’s apartment; he was a yeti, I was a big-game hunter, and the minute he took off his shaggy head I fell in love with his big brown eyes. We sat on the fire escape until two in the morning trying to top each other with all the exotic places we dreamed of traveling to.
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We stuck it out long-distance all through junior year study-abroad, while he ate waffles in Brussels and I barbequed in Canberra, Australia. Back at school, we moved in together. It was so easy and comfortable that "maybe someday" turned into "How about August?" Christmas morning, eating pancakes in our pajamas before the drive to his parents’ house, I found a small, tasteful diamond ring in my stocking. I barely waited to tell Ryan “yes!” before I was on the phone telling everyone.
Between classes, job hunting and planning the wedding, the next few months were the busiest I ever expect to live through. Since school was a couple of hours’ drive from home, my mom took care of a lot of details. But dress fittings, cake tastings, invitations and all the million other things that go into planning a wedding still had my calendar packed and my head spinning.
And then everything started to go wrong. Ryan got a job offer. It was exactly the job he wanted, with great benefits and a salary that—well, let’s just say it was more than he was expecting. Lots more. The problem? It was right here, in the small, rural college town where Ryan grew up.
“Isn’t it great? We don’t even have to move!” he crowed.
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I looked Ryan straight in those beautiful brown eyes and, suddenly, I was more certain than I’ve ever been of anything in my life that we shouldn’t get married.
I hadn’t applied for a single job in our college town. This wasn’t so much a testimony to my adventurous spirit as a recognition of the cold, hard fact that there weren’t any I wanted, and there would never be any. Ever since my first A+ in high school English, I’ve dreamed of a career in publishing. Number of publishers in our town? Zero.