Say You Will
Everyone asks, “So whats the story? There IS a story, isn’t there? How did it happen?”
And as the hushed giggles and strong hugs envelope me, I begin the story once more...
On February 27, I thought we were going on a plain date.
Just dinner. A simple dinner that we were both anticipating, since we have been too busy to spend much time together over the past couple of weeks. He’d told me that he would pick me up at my house at 4:30, but at 4:15 my phone buzzed and punching the keys, I read a surprising text message.
“Wear something nice: heels.” he said, “I am wearing a tie. But you should bring other shoes too, because we’ll be walking.”
Apparently the dinner was not to be quite as simple as I thought.
At 4:30 sharp, I made my way down the stairs to the front door. There he stood…black vest, blue tie and three red roses.
“Lets get out of here,” I said after thanking him and gently lair the flowers on the table inside the door. “Come on!”
The sky had turned the colour of melon as he parked the car and we stepped out to walk among the posh neighborhood up on a hill. The houses, and properties attached, in that part of Sewickly are both vast and grand and in the past we have driven around, looking at them just for fun.
Walking, talking and pointing to the mansions and grounds, we sauntered down the side walk, dressed to the nines and feeling like interlopers in territory not our own.
“Hey, let’s go down this alley!” he suddenly exclaimed, forcefully pulling me toward the side street that appeared to be private property.
“Are you sure we are allowed down here?” I asked skeptically, slightly turning back toward the road. A strange, dark Asian man lingered near the gate and from the corner of my eye, I saw him disappear behind the bushes and ivy.
How strange, I thought to myself.
“Look over this wall,” He said, hoisting me up to spy into the back yard of an impressive estate. When I turned back the Asian man was gone. Odd.
Returning to the main road, we continued to walk, passing more houses and a bit of woods before coming to a stone bridge overlooking a rippling creek. There was silence, save for the wind whistling through February’s bare branches. He put his arms around me and we watched the water fall from rock to rock to rock, cheerfully bubbling and flowing after finally being released from the snow and ice of the months prior.
This would be perfect, I thought to myself, so perfect…but don’t overthink things, Kate. This is just a simple date. A simple, ordinary date.
“I love you,” he whispered in my ear, repeating the phrase that has not lost any meaning in the two years since he first declared it to me.
“I love you too.”
He didn’t move; I remained still.
When I opened my eyes, he was kneeling before me, his knees deep in gravel and snow. Both my hands were held tightly in his left hand, for in his right, he held the ring.
“Will you marry me?”
Perhaps he said something more…perhaps I said something more than a mere “Yes!” But I cannot remember; the scene is blurred in my memory, lacking clarity because it was so soaked in emotion.
The ring slid onto my finger. White gold and a single diamond, sealing his promise to me. I’d said yes, hadn’t I? I wasn’t sure. Had I said anything?
“Yes!” I replied to the long-awaited question, slipping my arms around his neck as he pulled me close to him, holding me tight.
Zack Ritchie and I are engaged now; we are going to be married.
In the excited mix of laughter and heart-splitting smiles, a figure caught my eye. An Asian man stood only a handful of feet from where we stood, zoomed camera pressed to his eye, snapping moments of our engagement on film.
“Jeremy is right there,” I said, pointing to Zack’s old roommate who had sheepishly lowered the camera and stood pretending to nonchalantly gaze at the trees and sky.
Zack’s smile could not have filled his face more fully, “What?”
“Jeremy!” I said laughing, “He’s been following us and taking pictures!”
But before I could either protest or further analyze his sneaky plan, he gave Jeremy something to photograph and swooped me up in his arms, kissing me silent.
“We are engaged now,” he said, grinning.
“That we are,” I promised, returning the smile.
After posing for many more pictures and receiving our first congratulations from the stalking photographer himself, Zack and I left the posh Sewickly hill and drove to an old house that had been converted into a restaurant. Entering the through the large wooden doors, we were ushered down a flight of wide stone steps to a secluded library with a lone rose-covered table set beside a glowing fire. That chef personally came to congratulate us, and then proceeded served us a six-course meal that he and Zack had designed and planned weeks prior.
We sat beside the fire for hours, eating food that overwhelmed our senses and laughing and the strangeness of it all.
We are getting married!