I was so nervous because so much could go wrong.
First, the location was weather dependant. At least my first choice at the top of a mountain. (Being me, I had a back-up plan if the first idea turned out to be an epic fail). But the weather had to be right, and by ‘right’ I mean kinda sunny. Preferably, very sunny.
So for a week I checked the weather. Lots of crap during the week, but on the weekend, sun in Whistler.
Then, what if I, like, forgot the ring? Or buggered up my little speech?
Both things were immensely probable. Hey, I’m old. I forget things. Where I put my car keys. What day it is. Things like that.
And, ever since I was a kid, I’ve had problems memorizing things. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s that I’m far more a creative person than a memorizing person. Shakespeare did an ok job, right, but I wanted to make it better. Or at least understandable.
But what if I tripped and fell and rolled all the way down the mountain becoming a big ball of snow that later appeared on youtube entitled, “Giant joeball kills a bus load of children.”
I even began to wonder if she suspected. Had she seen through my terrible lie about visiting her dad? Had I left the ring receipt out in the open? Had the boys let it slip somehow? (It was quite a debate in my mind whether or not to tell them.)
And how was I supposed to transport the ring? The darn thing is in a cute little box, but that cute little box, if stored in my pants, will give me a very distinctive bulge. Impressive, maybe, but hard to explain.
So many things to worry about.
Yet I didn’t predict the one thing that did go wrong.
The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world was sick in the morning. Migraine.
I had no plan for this. No cure.
But I couldn’t just wait and hope for it to get better. I raced out to get her coffee and bought cold packs. It was ER time. I had to do my best to get that headache under control or else…
When I got back, she wanted to go out even if her head hurt. She’s like that. Surrey tough. But I convinced her to rest a bit, have some coffee, use the cold packs. A few hours later, she was up, again and feeling a bit better.
At this point, all she knew for sure was that I had a surprise, so I told her that we were going on a helicopter ride. She was super excited.
“That explains why you forgot which car we were taking last night,” she said. “That’s why you were acting like you just got up all day, yesterday.”
It was all true. My head was not in the game. I drove like I was 97 and lived in White Rock. In a mustang. On the highway.
I think they’re going to revoke my mustang licence.
And I forgot my ‘proposal shirt’ at home. Yes, I planned out that, too. Don’t judge me. And I didn’t pack sunglasses for either of us. And… And… oh hell, I forgot or goobered up a whole bunch of things yesterday.
But the helicopter ride confession provided me with a lot of cover.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m kinda nervous about the ride, though. You know, me and heights.”
(Total bullshit but the only good, convincing lie I told in this whole process.)
“It’ll be amazing,” she said. “Look at the weather. Oh my god, this is the perfect day for it.”
So we raced out to have some food before we went on the ride. It was, indeed a perfect day. Bright blue sky. Fiery autumn colors. Barely any wind. Maybe 18 degrees, so not even cold, not even too hot.
While the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world ate, I bought a new jacket so I wouldn’t look like a homeless man on top of the mountain when I did my proposal. I’d spoken to the heli-company ahead of time and asked the pilot if he could take pictures. He could. But that meant I needed to look ok when I got on my knee and without my ‘proposal shirt’, the pictures would look more like she’d just found me after years of being stranded on the mountainside.
I found the perfect jacket.
I looked amazing.
I came back and realized, she, too, looked amazing.
I’d been so caught up in the day that I didn’t realize that she’d dressed up. She looked so beautiful. So very beautiful.
But did she know, then? Did she suspect this was more than a helicopter ride?
Maybe not, cuz I know she always likes to dress up when we’re doing something fun.
After lunch, the van arrived. I hoped they wouldn’t tell her what package I’d ordered. Hey, it was the ‘proposal’ package and that would, you know, kind of give it all away.
But no, they kept the secret, too. So did the pilot, though he seemed like maybe he forgot, but whatever, he didn’t let anything slip.
Then we took to the skies, Holy hell, was that incredible. Not the Grand Canyon, but soaring over the mountains, zipping 20 feet above the glacier crevices, seeing the mountain goat trails, zooming high above the peak to peak gondola, it was stunning!
The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world smiled the whole time, bright eyes wide open, marveling at the view.
Then the helicopter landed on top of the Rainbow glacier. We got out and walked around on the snow, breathing the purest air possible, the ground crunching beneath our feet.
I took her phone and gave it to the pilot to take a picture of us. We found the perfect spot and snapped a few pictures. Just as he was putting the iphone down, I asked him to take one more picture.
I turned to the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the little ring box.
“Oh my god, OH MY GOD, OHMYGOD!” she said.
I opened my mouth. Here is the speech I’d prepared. “Prettiest-girl-in-the-world (note: I actually used her name). Will you marry a writer who owns too many books, who like tanks more than cars, but who loves you more than anything in the world and wants to spend the rest of his life with you?”
Here’s what really happened.
“Ohhhhhhhhh” she started to hop up and down, not the safest thing to do on a rocky outcropping, but it was adorable.
“Will you ma-“
“Yes! Yes! Yes!!!”
“A writer who o-“
“Oh, yes, yes, yes!”
“owns too many books, who-”
It took a while but I got the rest out while she made all manner of cute noises.
Then she took the ring from the box and put in on her finger.
I don’t think she’s ever looked more beautiful in her life. She looked so happy. The sun shone on her face, her bright blue eyes were like the sky above her.
And she cried.
Not a lot.
But just the right amount.
A perfect day.
Why had I worried so much?