We drove to the small café where you took me on our first date. The entire ride I could feel my pulse vibrating. I knew you were going to ask me to marry you. I had this hunch swelling up within me. My nerves were wretched, tingling all across my fingertips. I tried to hide my smile – to pretend like this was another Friday night; pretending like the biggest moment in our lives wasn’t about to change everything. Of course – I could’ve said no. I could have told you that I wanted to work on my writing career. I could’ve told you that I plan on moving to New York – and wedding planning would probably hinder that. But I didn’t.
I refused to – because all of those plans would mean nothing if I didn’t have you beside me to help glide me through them.
We grabbed a table close to where we sat all that time ago. I remember the shallowness of my breath as I drove over to meet you that fateful night. We had met before, but suddenly, it was going to be just me and you, alone, over piping hot pumpkin spiced lattes. I wondered if you’d run away when I said I was divorced, or if you thought I had too much baggage. I had worried if my jokes stunk, or if I rambled on about my job, or what kind of shenanigans me and my best friend got into that may have turned you off. But they didn’t – you sat, perched across from me, clasping your fists together and laughing at every word I said. The coffees cooled but the attraction between us burned.
You grabbed my hand and told me that you loved me. I had looked around at the people who would witness what was going to happen next: the mom and her young daughter reading the latest gossip magazine while her daughter toyed around on her cellphone, the elderly man who sat cross-legged reading that morning’s paper, the barista who cleaned out the pastry display setting out day old donuts in the cart outside the register for a discounted price. Would I remember their faces?
You took a sip of your coffee and fidgeted in your seat. I knew that this was happening. My body radiated with excitement. I wanted to scream to you, yes, yes, yes before you had even asked me. I saw your finger reach down inside your pocket and then stop because you remembered you wanted to say something. You told me that you loved me and I could feel every word. Your swooped knee hit the wooden tiles, and your hand, shaking as if you were worried I’d say anything than what you wanted to hear, slipped the ring on my finger. Your words of “Will You Marry Me” lingered in my ears. I had forgotten about anyone who was gathered around us. All I could focus in was you and the outline of your face that I would peer at sixty years from now. All I could see was your beaming smile – your flushed cheeks – that bounced off your porcelain skin.
You were my forever before we had promised each other to be. You were my light at the end of a long, winding tunnel.
So long ago, I feared I’d never find you, but now I fear of spending even the briefest second without you.