You can tell me all you want that fairy tales don’t exist. They can’t come true. Wednesday was the day I stopped believing that.
Wednesday, we went to Tinker Nature Park for a light, breezy stroll. I brought along my camera, as usual. I stopped frequently to take in the scenery and plan some good shots. I wasn’t aware he had done some planning himself.
As we made our way around a tight bend, a Radio Flyer wagon gleamed in the distance. A toddler played in while her mother rested on a nearby bench. A hat partially covered the girl’s fine, doll-like hair, and her blue eyes sparkled as beams of light danced across her face. She smiled sweetly at Jeff, and I could see his cheeks morph to a deep pink.
A few paces away, I asked “How would you like to try for one of those in a year?”
“One of what?” He sounded as though he genuinely didn’t understand my question.
I pointed back at the wagon and responded, “A little Jeffrey May.”
Red returned to his cheeks. “I thought you didn’t want one.” It’s true—we had been back-and-forth on this issue for the past year.
I shrugged. “A year is a long time, though. But we’d have to be married first.”
“You still want to marry me?”
Our relationship had been tested numerous times over the past almost three years. We pulled through and have been happier than ever recently. “Well… yeah, if you still want to marry me.” I looked him in the eyes to try and get an idea of what he was thinking. I couldn’t tell.
“Why wouldn’t I want to?” It almost sounded like a rhetorical question, but I still felt an answer bubbling out of me.
“Over the past few months, I’ve been a little…” I thought of an appropriate word. “Crazy.”
“All women are crazy,” he chuckled. Before you jump down his throat for feminism advocacy, relax, he was joking.
We continued along Fairy Trail where the huts are. “You already took some pics of those,” he reminded me as I stopped and analyzed the scene.
“I know.” The object of my appreciation at that moment was not a fairy hut but a group of trees with large roots that resembled huge gnarly feet. They reminded me of Tolkien’s Ents. I took a couple of shots while Jeff stood around with his hands in his pockets.
We continued our discussion for almost a quarter mile and turned down the path toward the boardwalk. For some reason, I almost always take the boardwalk for its sense of mystery.
“I think if we got through the past few months, we can get through anything,” he said. “We’re stronger now.”
I turned and gazed into his chocolate eyes. “I agree.” I meant it, and I wanted to tell him that he meant everything to me. I couldn’t find the words.
Finally, I told him, “Most men would have broken up with me any time over the past few months. I would have broken up with me.” I stared at the ground, ashamed of my recent behavior.
He wrapped an arm around me, pulling me into him. He stroked my hair for a few moments before releasing me. When he did, our view through the sparse trees revealed a crisp, clear pond in the distance.
Further along boardwalk trail, we spotted a birdhouse amidst the cattails. As I lined up and snapped my shot, I couldn’t see what Jeff was doing behind me. When I turned to face him, he was rolling his eyes.
“What?” I knew stopping every ten steps annoyed him slightly, but he put up with it. I was becoming self-conscious about it.
He took a few steps toward me. “You know I love you, right?”
“Yes.” I smiled. “I love you too.”
“I want to be with you for the rest of my life.” He pulled a small white box out of his pocket and dropped down onto his right knee. My heart thudded in my chest as my brain finally caught up to what was happening.
He opened the lovely white box, and my jaw dropped. I saw a platinum band with a pink sapphire garnished with two small diamonds on either side. It was sparkling in the sunlight, just like the fairy tales describe.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
The questions erased in my mind, and I immediately knew my answer. “Of course, I’ll marry you.”
He wrapped his arms tightly around me. We lost track of time as we held each other. After few moments, I asked, “Are you going to put it on my finger?”
I packed the camera away and replaced it with my new fiancé’s hand. With the excitement of a sparkly new symbol of the next stages of our life together, the park was now the furthest thing from mind.
See? Modern fairy tales do exist, even for a moment.