As we tucked ourselves into the car to begin the winding drive out of the city and down to the bay, my hand nervously felt around for the little box in my pocket. Ever since the ring had arrived in my life, I had been looking in on it more often than was probably necessary. I mean, it couldn’t grow legs and walk away now could it? Regardless, I was desperately worried that Elayne would find it, or that it would somehow disappear. 

Elayne and I had been dating a little over two years now, and all I wanted was for those two years to turn into forever. When she and I had met, I had been with someone else. I had been with the person that I thought I would spend forever with, and I never thought of Elayne as more than a friend. Then, Elayne was there when I learned the earth-shattering truth that the person who I thought was my forever was nothing more than a liar. She was there when I drunk cried all over her, wondering what I had done wrong. She was there to coax me out of my dark and lonely apartment, back into the sunshine, back to life. And when she thought I was ready, she was there to set me up with people because she wanted to see me happy in love again. I’m not really sad that none of those dates ever worked out.  

Now, here we were, driving down to the water, the ring clutched in my super sweaty hand. I always knew I would ask at our spot on the beach. We would eat at our favorite restaurant and watch the sun set as we climbed the rocks that were just being kissed by the waves. And then I would ask! 

Please God, let her say yes.


I think I had checked my purse about 5 million times while we were getting ready to leave the house. I knew I would check it again immediately upon our arrival at the restaurant. Having my bag all the way in the back seat was simply way too far away. Based on how much I was focusing on it right now, I was surprised it hadn’t gone nuclear and started burning a hole in the seat. However, I couldn’t keep it in my lap like I wanted to. Katie would have found it way too weird. 

Katie and I had been dating a little over two years now, and all I wanted was for those two years to turn into forever. When she and I had met, she had been seeing someone else, so we were just good friends. It didn’t stop my heart from twinging with jealousy when I had met her then fiancé. It definitely didn’t help to see them together when I had just been left by my then partner after uprooting my whole life, moving to a new city to be with her, and turning down other good job offers in the process. It was one night after work when we were all at the usual bar that I could really tell something was bothering Katie. We hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks because she had been traveling for the holidays. My heart broke when she told me with a shuddering breath that over Christmas, she had been dumped. Her fiancé had been cheating on her for months and was choosing the other woman. Over Christmas! Katie cried in the bathroom for a long time that night. 

It took a while before she really started to seem happy again, but I didn’t blame her one bit. I knew how that heartbreak felt. When it had happened to me, I was honestly surprised that I hadn’t succeeded in drinking myself to death. I had just never wanted to wake up and face another day alone. I eventually tried to set her up with some people I thought might be good for her. I’m not really sad that none of those dates ever worked out.  

Now we were driving down to our favorite place by the water, the ring (hopefully) still in my purse. I would normally be ravenous, the restaurant being one of our favorites. Tonight, though, my stomach was in knots. Hopefully I would be able to eat enough to not arouse suspicions. I had thought about having the ring hidden in the dessert or something like that, but had decided it would be better to wait until our usual walk after dinner. I didn’t want all those people to see it happen. I wanted it to just be us. 

Please God, let her say yes.


Dinner had been delicious…I think. I had managed to eat it all, but barely tasted it. Why was I so nervous? Maybe because I was worried that the person I loved would rather run screaming into the ocean than say yes to marrying me. Ok, that won't happen. Just breathe. I think Elayne had picked up on my weird vibe, because she hadn’t eaten much. Please let it all be ok…

“You ready?” 

Elayne smiled her beautiful smile, and nodded. I took her hand and we walked down the back stairs that led to the beach. I was trying desperately to think of something normal to say, to keep up a conversation until we reached the spot I had in mind, but I couldn’t find the words. I breathed in the ocean air and turned my face to the sun, hoping that it seemed that I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the evening and was content to enjoy it quietly. Could she tell my heart was racing? What if she said no? Oh no, I was out of time! We were there! Now or never. I turned to her. 

“Elayne, during one of the darkest times in my life, you showed me the light again. I would never want to change any of those dark days, because they brought me to you. You fill life with so much potential, joy, and adventure. You’re my best friend. I love you so much, and I don’t want to spend a single day without you.”

My hand emerged from my pocket, that little box finally out of the dark. I clicked it open. 

“Elayne, will you marry me?”

Elayne started to sob uncontrollably. 


We had been quiet walking out to the rocks. I think Katie had noticed me not eating as much. I could tell she was worried, and was desperately trying to think of something to say to make everything ok. I had so badly wanted this night to be perfect. 

We were at our spot on the rocks in no time at all. I was trying to tell myself that this was it, it was time, when Katie turned to me and started speaking first. It wasn’t until she brought the small box out of her coat pocket that my brain really caught up, and I understood. We had the same plan all along and all I could think to do was cry.

Through my heavy sobs, I saw Katie’s face fall, uncertain. She didn’t know yet. She didn’t know I was crying with joy. My brain, seeing this, finally got in gear, but I still couldn’t form words. I frantically reached in to my bag, brought out my own little box, and clicked it open. 

“I love you so much too. I will absolutely marry you.”

And so started our piece of forever, with two secrets and two rings. 

August 19, 2020 22:21

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