The ironic part is that it was such a terrible day. It was rainy and chilly outside for July, and one of my new gold sandals got stuck in the mud. The sky was the color of a fading bruise, and Jared and I had gotten into an argument in the car about where we would go that day. I wanted to go to a flea market, search for something beautiful that I hadn’t even known I needed. He insisted on going somewhere else, somewhere “fun”, he pleaded, but he wouldn’t tell me where. I grew increasingly frustrated, my bangs plastered to my forehead from the rain, the ends beginning to frizz from the humidity. We eventually found our way from petty arguing back to love again, and he held my hand while we bumped along in his truck, the raindrops our only soundtrack. He somehow convinced me to keep my eyes closed before we reached our destination, claiming a “surprise.” I sighed, smirking at my boyfriend’s endearing attempts at spontaneity, and leaned back, closing my eyes agreeably.
The best part? I had no idea.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw we were at a local lake where we had spent one of our first dates. Looking up at Jared through my still-damp bangs as he moved to step out of the truck, my initial thought was, Ya gotta be kiddin’ me. But I decided to be a trooper, and he carried me through the rain on his back, tiptoeing amusingly around mud puddles in his bright white sneakers. He was headed out for our “island,” I figured, a small peninsula containing a bench and gazebo overlooking the lake. Squinting, I noticed a speck of red in the distance. What is that? I wondered aloud.
Probably a kid lost their coat or something.
Once we arrived there, I turned to see a wilted-looking picnic. A rain-soaked checkered blanket, flowers quickly turning brown, and some bread and cheese glistening with drops. What? I thought. What is this? I turned again to see my boyfriend down on one knee in a mud puddle.
I want to spend my life with you.
My eyes stared down at that beautiful ring in his hands, and those beautiful eyes, and time stops for a minute. My eyelashes were wet, and I couldn’t tell whether I was crying or if it was just the rain. The ends of my hair dripped when I nodded frantically, answering the question that hadn’t even been asked yet.
I still haven’t stopped smiling.