By ZANNI LOUISE
I spent three weeks with my husband before agreeing to marry him. True story. Here is how it went.
We were both flown in to help install artwork for the 2006 Sydney Biennale – he from Europe, and me from Melbourne. We met under the largest chandelier in the Southern Hemisphere.
He invited me to a steak house one evening, after telling me how he had been a practicing Buddhist for six years, and vegan for most of that time. We ate the biggest steak I have ever seen.
He looked me up in Melbourne a few days after the opening night of the biennale. His moves were swift. He assured me later that he honestly had no intention of sleeping on the swag I had rolled out for him in the living room.
He was easy to be with. Straight forward. There was no game-playing between us. It was the first time a relationship didn’t feel like hard work. He told me that he liked me straightaway. You could do that? I had no idea. I was beginning to enjoy the European way.
After a week together, he told me he loved me, and it wasn’t cheesy. He had just come out of a meditation, and it felt like he was cutting to the chase – saying what was on his mind.
After our brief affair, I had to say goodbye to my European lover. His return flight was booked. I won’t deny I was bereft as I drove him to the international terminal, but we were leaving our options open. Would we see each other again? It was possible. How? We weren’t sure.
After a series of emails and phone calls, we realised we couldn’t live without each other – or at least, we owed it to ourselves to give our relationship a chance. Transcontinental relationships aren’t uncommon these days. But we were in a hurry to be together. He was over 30, so couldn’t get a working holiday visa. I had just started a new and exciting job in Melbourne. Our options were fast decreasing. Once more, he cut to the chase and proposed over the phone. I said yes, and we got to work with temporary visa applications, and marriage preparations.
Friends and family were worried for me. Had I thought about this – clearly? Was this relatively unknown European man worth the fuss? And weren’t we undermining the sanctity of marriage? I remember one friend solemnly lecturing me about the fact that marriage is a step taken only by those who are very serious about committing to each other.