Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Ring

Manchester Center, VT
Mile 1636

There's been a scenario that I've played out in my mind, a mental image that has helped me put one foot in front of the other for these hundreds of miles. In it, I meet Monica on Katahdin and ask for her to be my wife. It seemed a suitable action-hero way to propose. The accompanying snow and wind would also provide a useful analogy to matrimony to myself. This mental image was a warm globe that I could rely on to force me up the next thousand, three thousand, six thousand feet.

What actually happened, we decided to go on a day hike during her visit in Sheffield. It was more of a rain hike. We strolled up a moderate grade to a waterfall. As we gently lowered ourselves down a slope to an overlook, Monica turned suddenly around with a tiny box in her hands. She opened it. Inside was a ring. "So- will you marry me?", she asked.

What could I say? She's been with me through my mood swings, my alcoholism, my limitless capacity for fecklessness and God knows what else, not least of which is this trip- an enforced six month absence from which she receives no physical promise of security, except for my word over the phone that I have become the best man I have ever been in my entire life.

For the past five years, she has been the warm, glowing center my life has revolved around. There's nothing I am that would be possible without her. I love her.

For a split second, I wondered how I was going to explain this gender flip to my family- Monica proposing to me, after all. I decided that wasn't that important right now. It's the 21st Century, after all.

All these things flew through my mind in that moment. "Yes . .yes", I said, as I drew her to me.

We hugged for a long time, there in the rain, me whispering, yes, I will marry you, yes. I glow in the remembering of that moment.

It's a moment I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The ring is titanium- a hiker's ring- virtually weightless, but shining on my finger, a reminder of the moment.

As it turned out, my proposal idea couldn't have happened, as Monica has a board meeting to attend on my summit date. We might have otherwise ended up proposing to each other at the same time. Although this would have been sort of humorous, I can't think of a better way for it to have happened than the way it did.

I'll make my own proposal bid later, in the year we have before a marriage date. It'll be a good one, at a random moment (don't let your guard down sweetheart). During a good hurricane maybe. Something powerful, something as unpredictable as it is inevitable. In other words, something like love itself.


Samer said...

Congrat on this new chapter in your life!!!

shepherd said...

John, contgratulations. Take care of her.