The Proposal

Back in July, Aran and I desperately needed a vacation. I wanted to get out of Charlotte and maybe go to the beach; what I got was a loving adventure. Aran booked us two cheap flights to West Palm Beach. Neither of us had ever been there before, so I used the internet to find a hip hotel. With in two days we were off.

We flew into West Palm with light bags (and a scrabble board) and checked into our hotel to find out that their wine bar was the hottest spot for the area jet-setters. So after our first ocean romp (at an over-crowded beach), we cleaned-up and went next door to mingle with the glam and ridiculously-rich for the night. They were an odd mix of 90120 meets the Oxford club, but it earned us a hot tip about a nearby beach that was not run amuck with tourists or locals. But given its distance, we would have to rent a car and do with out a fancy dinner this trip.

So we got a car, and were off to linger amongst 750 acres of shore front and estuary for a day. We paid the mere entrance, which kept the place wonderfully isolated, parked and then walked across the half of mile of boardwalk over the mangrove estuary to get to the beach. Everything that wasn't supposed to be their before the 1600's had been removed. The preserve was like walking back into time, a true ecological snapshot of native Florida.

Even the beach had natural rock formations in the water that any hotel would have removed, but for us it was like tide-pooling in Aran's native California seaside. Shells, sea-life and special stones were awaiting discovery by us.

We were so happy.

After a spell, we sat down on the beach and ran our eyes up the ocean blue to where it changed into sky blue. The clouds were like pastel finger paints holding so many colors.

"Aran," I said, as I waved my arms in a big circle, "I give all of this to you!"

Softly, he responded, "Thanks."

Yes, we were so happy.

Well, a few minutes later, Aran told me he had to go to the bathroom that we had passed about a quarter of a mile back. "Can't you go in the ocean?" I asked.

"Not this time, no," and he was off.

I decided to keep walking after 15 minutes, and not too long after that, he came running down the beach. I guess I had gone a lot further than when he left, cause even after a few minutes together, he was still sweating profusely.

So we went back into the water to frolic and look for shells. When I went to hand him a couple shells I wanted to take back with us(I had no pockets on my bathing suit), I saw a glint of metal in his clenched hand.

I froze. Was this the moment? I knew he might ask during this trip, but here? And knowing this was the moment, this was the way he wanted it to be, he looked down and asked, "Will you give me your heart, body and soul forever?"

That sounded so extreme to me. He told me later that long ago, the Irish long traditionally asked for a woman's hand with those words exactly.

Then he said, "Will you marry me?"

Well, I knew I wanted to marry him, but I was speechless. A million poetic words to say, and none came out. I really don't remember what he said next as he slid the amethyst ring onto my finger, but it was quite a while before the shock lessened and I heard myself saying, "I guess I'm supposed to say yes?"

And my eyes said it all, as he leaned down to give me a kiss that made my legs turn to jello.

He led me out of the ocean and we sat huddled for the longest time reveling in our love and our growing future. And as we looked around, we smiled at how perfect the spot was, and silently knew that in years to come, we would visit it again and again. Mmmmmmmm.

Now on the way back to the car, he explained that earlier, he didn't need to go to the bathroom, but only said that as a cover to get the ring, sitting in the car almost a mile away over beach, boardwalk and asphalt. We howled with laughter at the thought of his 20-minute mini-marathon.

But as I look upon my ring now, I feel his smile and look forward to the day where I trade it in for another. One that comes with the same smile, the same heart, and a love that will be just a bit deeper by then.