Wilf and Val were at the station to meet us. They were so happy. It was good to be home. Dad and Tony sat in the lounge chatting about New Zealand and jazz. Val and I sat in my room and she told me how handsome she thought Tony was. There was a lot to catch up on.
Tony slept on the front veranda in Papa’s old room. The heavy lace curtains were still up. Nothing much had changed.
Val brought him tea and avocado on toast in bed the next morning. He thought all his Christmases had come at once. He knew he was onto a good thing and I knew what it meant. She wanted him to stay; forever.
A few days later, we went off to get a ring. I had NO idea how much money Tony had for it. He was so sweet. “Just get whichever one you want.” It was so exciting. We had been engaged for 6 months, and now I was going to have a ring. After trying many rings, I found one that I liked. It was small and dainty with three little diamonds in a row. He kept checking that I was sure. I was sure. I loved it.
When he looked at the price, it was exactly the amount he had saved for my ring. If it had been even slightly more, it would have been too much. He was relieved. What were the chances of that?
I didn’t want a big fuss; just a few neighbours from Rolleston Place and some friends from the Full Gospel Church. We had it on the back veranda. There were some eats, some speeches and Tony put the ring on my finger. It was official.
Dave and Bev loved Tony. He never said no to food, so Dave said he was a man after his own heart. Pete was doing his two years of compulsory army training but he got out for a weekend while we were there. Tony passed the brother-test. He fitted in perfectly well.
One night we were sitting on the swings in the park. We had already talked about not sleeping together until we got married. I had boyfriends who put pressure on me to sleep with them. There were times when I actually ran away from very close shaves. I didn’t want to say yes. I wanted to wait for my husband. Now, in my fiancés arms, I wanted to say yes but had to say no. We had made the decision to wait. It was the hardest thing for us to do. We were so passionate about each other, we were engaged and we were going to get married in 5 months time; what was the point?
The point was, we weren’t married. Tony wasn’t my husband and I wasn’t his wife. We had no right to each other. We needed to wait just a little while longer. We knew we weren’t going to regret it.
We laughed about how bad it would have been if we had been together on the Doulos. We would have been so distracted and would definitely not have been able to stick to the “no more than five minute conversations” or the “no physical contact” rule.
Our long distance relationship had been perfect. God knew exactly what He was doing.