"Where are we going?" I was mildly curious as to why we were turning around, I was in no hurry to get home.
"I want to check that park out back there."
We had been on the motorcycle for a total of about an hour and had stopped about twenty minutes back for fountain pop, it being a ridiculously hot day. I had been ribbing him to take me on a long bike ride for a while as I hadn't been on the back of the bike nearly as much as I would like this season. In spite of the heat coming from mechanical parts I don't begin to understand, I was happy to be sitting behind him with the wind whipping at us at 55 miles per hour.
Even when I'm tired of sitting back there after a trip, it's always a bittersweet end.
He pulled into Lexington Park, one I had heard of but never been to. I hopped off the back, took off my helmet, removed my earplugs, and stretched. We headed in the direction of the lake and found some steps down to the beach.
There were about twenty-five people in the water, not too many. The shore was small and littered with driftwood, not a great place for sunbathing. However, the depth was shallow for quite a way out with no current, making it an excellent place to take children. In fact, half of the beach's occupants were waist-high, climbing on large rocks in the water, pretending they were private islands.
When I had seen all I thought I needed to see, I looked at him and saw him still studying the beach goers. So I waited.
I could hear nervousness in his voice when he looked at me and said, "I brought you down here for a reason."
I stopped breathing.
"I have something for you in my pocket."
With that, he fished for a little gray velvet box in his pocket and dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him.
And even though it had been a couple of months since he took me to the jewelry store to pick out a ring, he surprised me. I had no clue and my body felt the physical symptoms of minor shock. I began shaking, fighting back tears, and generally feeling like I couldn't stand up by myself. I nodded my head, I maybe said the word "yes," and I threw my arms around his neck while he was still on the ground and kissed him.
When he got up, I told him I loved him and I put the ring on my finger. He was as shaky as I was and we were both laughing and saying little nervous things that I already can't remember three days later.
I do remember one important thing he said, "Yep, you're just different."
Then, to lighten it up, "you're the only one who I wanted to marry." Or something like that. It was one of those silly, nervous things.
In the end, he did everything right. I will remember Independence Day of 2010 for the rest of my life. He didn't say anything contrived to be magical. He didn't take me to a fancy dinner. Instead, he took me out for one of my favorite ways to spend a day, something that wouldn't tip me off as to just how wonderful this day would end up. His tiny bit of anxiety, so uncharacteristic of him, said more than his words ever could. So, maybe just this one time, I will acknowledge that language is arbitrary. In very little speech, everything I could ever want to have spoken was, indeed, said.
I just finished reading:
The afterword was dry but the narrative and addition of supplemental documents was terrific.