It was about six months in, the first time I heard Darren refer to marriage being in our future. I remember that I had made a conscious decision in my prior relationship to never bring up the topics of love or marriage before whoever I was dating, and so I was blindsided when he first made that reference to “when we’re married” in passing conversation with friends. I didn’t really acknowledge it at the time, but I was smiling on the inside.
We’d had a few struggles during what I refer to as the “middle” of our relationship (details later), but it went on pretty much as normal until the summer of 2007.
In the spring, we decided we’d outgrown my small basement suite and we moved into a bigger house closer to downtown, where I worked. It was an older home, but it had gorgeous granite counter-tops and a big backyard and garage where Darren could have some “man space”.
We spent a lot of time outside that summer. We attempted to plant a garden which turned out to be a complete disaster. Darren had tried planting pumpkins which took over half the yard, and I hadn’t really read the packages of the flowers I was planting so I ended up with this crazy tall thick stemmed purple flowers right smack in the middle. Then, there was this random asparagus that grew in the back of the garden. We found out later that it had been planted several years earlier and kept coming back up annually. It was about three feet tall and we had a lot of laughs over it. Darren built a swing in the back yard when we were babysitting for my BFF one weekend, and we invited a couple of friends over and had a water fight with the kids. He even built his own meat smoker in the back yard that summer, and we perfected a recipe for slow-cooked ribs.
There were a lot of big hopes for that house, but even though we had some fantastic times there, that was also when things started turning upside down.