Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Proposal

The Red Dress Club has decided on a new venture focusing on writing memoir. Our first assignment was this: after you have died, your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see?

•    •    •    •     •    •    •

The Barbecue at the Summit contest had just ended. We went back to the cabin where we were staying with his best friend and his wife. After showering away the mingled hickory, cherry and maple smoke from our hair and skin, and changing into fresh, though travel-rumpled, clothes, he told me he wanted to go for a drive to give the other couple some alone time. We parked in a lot by a scenic point near a trail that we had visited the year before. I was surprised he remembered it.

We strolled along the rocky path, listening to the breeze rustling in the evergreens and chipmunks scampering along the branches, enjoying the majestic peace that always seems to find us in the mountains. An overlook jutted out from the trail providing a rock wall perimeter to lean against and look out on Lake Dillon. A family walked up just as we did, so he suggested we climb down a little way to a ledge nestled against the side of the mountain. Once we reached it, he turned and pressed me against the warm rocks, kissing me deeply. I breathed in his scent as we shared a few more intimate moments, then leaned back and enjoyed the view from our private spot. It was picture perfect with rich hues of jade, azure and cerulean swirled with ochre and straw.

As the summer sun continued to lower in the sky, he began rocking his weight from the ball of one foot to the other and glancing at his watch. I asked him if we needed to get back since we were planning to go to dinner with our friends. He said he wanted to give them a little more time. Stepping forward, he rested his right foot up on a boulder. He fished a tube of Chapstick out of his jean pocket, and after applying some, read the ingredients aloud to me while avoiding eye contact.

I smiled to myself. I would have felt uncomfortable if it had been anyone else, but instead my fondness for him grew. Finally, he turned to me, unable to postpone any longer. He asked me to sit down on a large stone that made a natural seat. He got down on one knee and started to speak several times but stopped. I was amused at his nervousness. At last he blurted out, "You know I love you, right?"

I was tempted to tease him by saying, yes, but why don't you tell me more about that? I could see how difficult it was for him, though I didn't know why. He already knew the answer. We already had the church reserved for March 19th.

He took the antique, gold band adorned with a round diamond and two baguettes from his pocket. Instantly, I felt tears well-up. How could I be crying? A moment ago I had been in awe of his traditional fears, and here I was succumbing to the exact same scenario. The fact that I have no memory of what he said next makes me glad that he didn't make the speech he had prepared as it would have simply been lost on the water rippling far below us. I just remember the view from that haven, the sound of his voice as it broke with his love for me, the smell of the dry Colorado air, the taste of my tears, and the feel of his lips as he kissed me after I said, "Yes."

**I wrote this from memory and then went back to find a photo to include with it. Here's the view from our little spot on the mountainside.


Pamela Hutchins said...

That was BEAUTIFUL. I don't know you guys but my eyes welled up. :)

I'm glad to have found you!

By Word of Mouth Musings said...

What a beautiful memory, and what a view .. .and damn good thing you didn't fall off ;)

Nichole said...

Oh, how I adore a love story!
You did a beautiful job of describing him...I could see him standing there with his Chap Stick, nervous and brimming with love.

Such a great post, Jennifer.
You weren't heavy handed...you let the love shine through your words.

Jessica said...

Beautiful, just beautiful, the view and the story. I could picture every moment.

Miri said...

I love that part about wanting to tease him-- I was the same way with my husband, but when he actually proposed I had pity on him.

Visiting from TRDC :)

Angie said...

Jennifer, this is so beautifully written! The vivid descriptions of the smell of the barbecue smoke, the colors of the water. Just gorgeous.

My favorite detail is the chap stick. It grounds what might otherwise be a too-perfect scenario; it makes it so real and brings the reader right there to that rock with you.

Seriously, this is wonderful.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thank you all for your kind words! He's an amazing man, and I wish I could have put so much more in the story.

Jessica Anne said...

So good! I loved the smoke details. So funny how nervous they get.

erin margolin said...

ooooohhhh, chapstick. that element made his nervousness more palpable and the whole moment more real. tremendous job with all the imagery & description!

Anonymous said...

I rehearsed my proposal in the mirror 100s of times. I still choked. I think I barely managed something like: "You. Me. Marry?" Followed by a series of grunts.

The Flying Chalupa said...

I can never get enough of proposal stories - NEVER! Man or woman, who doesn't get caught up in the romance of this special occasion? Lovely.

Elena @NaynaDub said...

Such a great post about a wonderful memory. I always love hearing about how people got engaged!

Liz said...

What a perfect memory! And a perfect choice to recount.

Kelley said...

That was so sweet to read! I think that would be a perfect few minutes for your children to witness. Loved it!

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Oh, happy sighs. LOVE the picture and your story. Isn't it amazing how the tiniest details make a story more real, more human?

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks! Yes, it really is. The funny thing is that I knew the proposal was coming, I thought it might be on on that trip, but I didn't think it would be the same day as the contest. But when he pulled out that Chap Stick? I knew he was stalling. So adorable. :)

Kris said...

Oh, a lot of good stuff here, but the Chapstick?

That moment just killed me. I can so picture him in my mind, stalling by reading you the ingredients in the tube of Chapstick. That's fabulous . . . a detail that made this whole post come to life for me.

Happy sighs.

Love that.

The Empress said...

A moment frozen in time.

You did this perfectly.

and that photo at the end?


Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thank you so much!

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