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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.