The beach was beautiful as the sun set. The sand was mostly broken, crushed shells that sparkled in the pale orange light of the sun. Small waves rolled lazily, quietly onto the sand at low tide. Just a few clouds were spread in the darkening sky, dissipated from the storm clouds that had threatened rain just an hour ago.
I pulled my camera out and tried to capture the beautiful night. As if on cue, dolphins broke the surface of the water. We had been watching for them all day and suddenly there was a group of them, right as the sun was sinking below the horizon.
We had walked off down the beach a little bit, to a stretch where there were fewer people, umbrellas and chairs. Better view of the sunset this way.
I was busy trying to snap photos and get the dolphins in the shot, and then before I knew it the sun was gone and the sky was just quickly fading pink. I turned to put my camera’s lens cap on and put it back in my bag. Jim had a big book in his hand and was telling me he had to give it to me. My first thought was that it was his mom’s or Lauren’s book. It had been in Lauren’s bag, and I was wondering why they needed to bring this big book down to the beach and now why Jim had it.
I was still fussing with my camera and Jim insisted he had to give this to me, so I stuffed the camera in and turned to him.
He started to read what he said was an important poem on the first page. I stared at him, confused, not even realizing at first that the poem was about us. It was our story.
My heart was pounding as, halfway through the poem, I started to realize what this was.
It was about how we met and how we fell in love. And it ended with us living happily ever after and with Jim, down on one knee, opening the book to reveal a cut-out compartment, where there was a box, and in the box was a ring. And then he asked the question that I’ve been waiting to hear from him for years. “Will you marry me?”
And I was suddenly and completely aware of how quickly the moment was passing and that it was actually basically over and I hadn’t even known it was happening.
I was crying and nodding my head and I somehow managed to say “Yes” out loud, and for some reason, I asked him if this was real now. I was trying to keep everything in my mind, to hold on tightly and never forget that moment.
How he was reading softly, nervously, his words picking up speed as he went along. I was vaguely aware of the group of people on the porch of the house that we were in front of, asking each other if he was proposing and clapping when they saw him on one knee. I was laughing through the tears as I hugged him and my tears dried on his shirt. I couldn’t stop smiling as I pulled a gorgeous sparkling ring out of the box and slipped it onto my finger.
The best part was that I had absolutely no idea that Jim had been planning to propose.
When I see proposals in movies, it seems so predictable. It seems like a moment that is obvious and perfect and it plays out like anyone would expect. But when it was happening to me, it’s like time sped up. The moment was there and then it was gone. I was wondering why he had Lauren’s book in his hand and then he was on one knee with a ring and I was nodding my head. And then we were in the car and I realized I forgot to call my parents or take pictures of the ring. The moment was over, but I was so thankful that Jim’s sister was there to take amazing pictures of the whole thing.
The family on the porch had come down to congratulate us and they brought a bottle of wine. They took a picture of all of us and were so happy for us. I think it was probably just more of a novelty that they got to see a proposal on their beach while they were on vacation.
I’d been waiting for what seems like forever for this moment. And it couldn’t have been more perfect.