Still talking to his steering wheel enroute home after proposing to Jenny, Hank mumbles more and even voluble expressing courtship memories.
At their ‘champagne episode’, Jenny justified virtual virginity as her lifetime dedication to herself and insisted it to be irrevocable. His plan for premarital conquest went up in flames, plus she dumped in his lap responsibility for their future together. She said her piece, confirmed her peace with or without him, and left him in charge of whatever happened next.
The nub was reached. Unless he took charge, only the stub of memories was left.
From eloquence to reality, does he want her, or does he not? Is she worth it, or is she not? Their courtship follows a process meant for her to determine if he was worthy of her; he earns her to prove he is good enough. Now, it appears he proved it, and she makes herself worthy of him; that is, she earns him by virtue of her virtues, especially that of being as close as practical to the virginal. She did it for herself, but it’s available to him with her blessings. Ball in his court.
It all fits together, makes him curious, and stirs his imagination to consider new options for his life.
He sees that marriage is the only way, if he wants her. Will he do it? Can he do it? Can he succeed where so many others seem to fail at marriage? Unable to convince himself one way or the other, he develops a new plan.
Calling his closest friend, he asks for a favor, to ask John’s parents for permission to use the family cabin next weekend. Assure them it will be only him and no others. It’s a private retreat for personal reasons. John says do it; if not okay, then he will call it off.
Loading his car with soft drinks, beer, uncookable food, laptop, and an old five-iron, Hank retreats to the cabin intent on making one decision and maybe two plans. Shall he or shall he not? Will he or will he not? Is marriage right or wrong for him? Can he or must he do without her?
On the way, he maps out his weekend into three phases: Do I jump off the ledge into marriage and most likely with Jenny? If yes, how do I step up and handle the new responsibilities? How do I take over our lives together and get Jenny’s buy in and promises that will stand up for a lifetime together? Other men may not care enough, but I do not intend to fail.
Driving to the cabin, he reminds himself of previously making tough decisions; it’s a simple process. Make a list of pros and cons, and then analyze each item for its implication to his life in both emotional and reasonable terms. By the time he finishes, his answer will be evident. Or so, it worked before.
Being a morning person, he starts the list early Saturday. Pro: living together, frequent and convenient sex, she pleases me, I love her, she loves me…. Con: lose my independence, unneeded responsibility, how to handle double incomes, unexpected children, disasters unprepared for, …. Running out of mental steam about an hour later, he takes his five-iron outside to chip and plink rocks over the hill. His mind continues stirring opportunities for the gold buried within thoughts of Jenny—still working with the pros and cons.
After noon he tunes into a football game with laptop handy to post and refine the pros and cons. After the game, he begins to analyze and synthesize each item into meaning for his life. His multi-tasking effort satisfies him. He produces promising results. He watches the night game and then sleeps with his conclusions to disturb it.
Early Sunday, he confirms his basic conclusion; I can and will marry Jenny. Then he moves on to second phase of his retreat plan: How do I step up to and handle such new and unfamiliar responsibilities? He concludes: I have to shape those responsibilities to fit me, my nature, my persona, and my fitness for living with another. It’s no piece of cake but….