Any sleep I got was restless at best. I was nervous, that’s for sure and the wheels in my brain were running round and round, over and over, reviewing every detail of The Plan. In my head I rehearsed the speech a hundred times with each time just a little different. Some versions were better and some were worse but I was struggling to make it perfect. Looking back, it is funny how I thought she’d care if I got the words exactly right. Make no mistake, though. The importance of the moment was clear so rehearse I did… But silently… over and over and over. Who needs sleep anyway? Occasionally, but very quietly, I’d sneak a peek outside. Yup, it was still snowing. That was my signal. Today was the day.
Before the sun came up I quietly slipped out of bed. Previously that night, late, late after she fell asleep I had prepared the bathroom on the other side of the house with the necessities: soap, shampoo, razor, toothbrush, cologne, tuxedo, and the ring. In the fridge sat one red rose waiting for its moment to shine.
I showered, shaved and cleaned up spiffy but quietly, occasionally peeking out from my bathroom hideaway to make sure my absence went unnoticed. Showered, hair done, tuxedo donned, and with just a hint of cologne, I was ready. Or was I? As if to check my sanity, I looked again outside. Yup, it was still snowing and yup, there was snow on the ground. Who was I to argue with Mother Nature? It was time.
The large front doors here at the house squeak loudly. Maggie and I had a running disagreement on whether this was a good thing or not. She was clearly in the “not” camp; she thought it made the house sound cheap. I, the pragmatist, thought the noise, along with one sharp-eared Niko, made for a good burglar alarm. This morning, however, it made for a real challenge.
I grabbed one of the chairs from the dining room and placed it near the front door. The chair at this moment was less like a chair and more like a throne. Very, very, very slowly I unlocked and opened the front door. Move too fast and the door would squeak and the dog-alarm would sound. In all of my life, this moment was the most important slowest movement ever. Thus, gently and slowly I pulled. No squeak. No dog-alarm. Whew. With the door wide open, out went the chair into the front courtyard and into the snow.
It was almost morning light now. Snow was still falling nicely and around two inches had accumulated on the ground. It wouldn’t last through the day, of course, but it was a perfect backdrop for The Plan.
I grabbed the single red rose from the fridge and placed it on the chair outside in the snow. For a few moments, I stood outside in my tuxedo watching the snow fall, looking at the chair and the rose and enjoying the moment. My heart was pounding and the butterflies in my stomach were threatening an Aliens-esc escape. Wow, this is it – THE moment of a lifetime! This is going to happen!
It was time.
Ever so quietly I tip-toed into the bathroom and retrieved her wonderfully soft, thick robe and slippers. I feared that Niko would hear my sneaking and sound the alarm. Or that my cologne oddly placed in the morning air would wake my sleeping angel. All my worry was for naught; she never even stirred. That girl could sleep through a train.
Robe in hand, I knelt by her side and gently stroked her face with my hand. She awoke with a look of momentary confusion. But it didn’t take long for that wonderful smile to pop out and attach itself to her face. (It was never far away.) I’ll never know now what she was thinking that moment but I won’t soon forget how her eyes twinkled. It’s a moment frozen forever in my mind.
After silently dressing her in her robe and slippers, I led her outside into the snow which was, thankfully, still falling. (Were it not, I would have called the whole thing off for sure.) I picked the rose up off of the chair, gently guided her to sit, presented her with the rose and smiled. By now, no doubt, the girl knew I was up to something.
I took a moment, my hand on her shoulder, and looked at the snow-covered scene. I’ll never forget her sitting in her robe looking up at me while smelling the rose and smiling. She was glowing. Or maybe just cold. She was definitely the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Overwhelmed, it took me quite a bit longer than I expected to regain my composure. I stood there for quite some time trying to relax enough to talk. Funny, I had rehearsed this speech laying horizontal hundreds of times in the hours preceding but this time… THIS time I had a live and very, very important audience. THIS time was different.
And I said:
“I’ve always loved the snow. It comes suddenly and leaves nothing untouched. It coats everything with newness and makes everything shiny and sparkly. Everyday things become exciting again and the things that were already great become magical. ”
“To me, you are like the snow. You came into my life suddenly and changed everything. Everyday life, because of you, became great. And the parts of my life that were already great became absolutely wonderful. Every day I’m with you is magical and I don’t want the magic to ever end.“
After wiping a tear from my angel’s face, I slowly kneeled down on one knee in the snow in front of the chair where she sat, rose in hand, snow falling silently around us both. From my tuxedo jacket pocket I pulled the large ruby-colored candy ring I had bought from HEB a few days before and presented it to her.
“Maggie Mae Pilat, I can’t imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?”
As more tears flowed, she took the candy ring from my hand, placed it on her finger, licked it, smiled and said “Yes, Chris Weaver, I will marry you.”