I don't know why I was so surprised. I don't know how I didn't see it coming, but I truly didn't. I think there were two major reasons why. First, I was wearing overalls, and a girl just doesn't get engaged while she's wearing overalls. Second, since we were both sitting on the ground, Dave had to kneel up on both knees, rather than get down on one knee. It threw me off.
"Will you be my wife?"
I felt like I was falling and flying at the same time. I don't think I could've remembered my own name if you'd asked me. But I was suddenly aware that I was repeating "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!"
Grinning, he opened the box to reveal a thin gold wedding band, and explained that he hadn't wanted to wait for me to choose a ring. He wanted to propose. We could get a fancier ring later. He slid it on to my finger, and I don't think any 1 carat diamond has ever been more beautiful than that simple ring was to me that night.
Jumping up, he said that he had more surprises and that he would be right back.
While he was gone, I stood up and leaned against the railing and looked up into the still night sky. And I started to cry. Surely tears of happiness, but also tears of amazement. The unthinkable had happened, after all that time. I whispered, to myself, "I'm getting married..." and then uttered the shortest, simplest prayer of thanks.
Dave came back out with a bottle of sparkling cider and a dozen deep cream roses. Trailing behind him were Mike and Sarah and a camera. To this day, the picture that they took is one of my favorite of Dave and I. We are grinning like idiots, in the best possible way.
After they took our picture, Sarah said "Can I hug you now? We're going to be sisters!" That comment, that welcome, just completed the evening for me. I could not have been any happier.
The only thing left to do was drive over to my parent's house, even though it was almost midnight, to show my mom the ring.