“It’s so quiet,” she remarked, mostly to herself.
He “Mmmhmm”ed, unsure if she meant the sailboat, or the town in general.
Or her mind.
Her face was all smile and sunglasses.
He knew the winds. He knew the harbour. So he swung close to the red buoy — which looked even smaller up close — as they rounded the edge of the small island.
“Bird poop,” she noticed, was decorating the floating guide.
He tightened the main. A little.
She took a deep breath.
He stopped looking at her long enough — just long enough — to cast a quick peek at the jib. It looked perfect.
Everything looked perfect.
She turned side to side.
She attempted to take it all in.
She tried a little to hide the fact that, from the water, she had lost all sense of where she was. And of how they drove into this place. And how to leave.
And she liked it.
“You should be wearing a hat,” he told her. Softly.
“I forgot it in the car.” Sadprettyface.
He took his cap off and tossed it to her.
She put it on.
It was too big.
It was way too big.
She kept wearing it. With ponytails hanging down on either side, framing her lovely face.
And not just any ponytails. The kind where the elastic is located halfway down.
He pushed the realization that he spent a lot of time pondering her hairstyles out of his head, and gripped the tiller.
They passed an opening between the trees on the little island. The boat tilted slightly, with a gust of wind carrying the aroma of the rows of pink flowers — she’d later claim are “magenta” — lining the field.
They looked at each other. She crinkled his nose.
She kicked off her “formal flip flops,” stuck her legs out, and put her feet on him.
“Cute toes,” he said.
“I know it,” she wiggled them.
She long-exhaled as she leaned back.
She stared at the sky.
She had given up on looking for clouds.
“I don’t know how this day could get better,” she said.
“I could marry your adorable ass.”
She looked at him. She grinned.
“That would make YOUR day better.,” she replied, saucily.
“Then maybe you should do it,” she said, tilting her head back to the blue sky.
An older, but still in great shape, speedboat roared up behind them. People he knew, but not really, waved to them. They held beer bottles aloft, as The Eagles’ “Tequila Sunrise” blared through crackling speakers.
He waved back.
She kept looking at the sky.
The speedboat sped up and zipped off into the distance.
She watched a bird. She decided it was playing. She wondered what they looked like from up there. She worried about it pooping on them. She giggled quietly that at least she had a hat on.
“Thirsty?” she asked him.
“Yeah. Can you grab the cooler?”
“If I haaaave to.”
She climbed down into the cabin.
“Man. You must hit your head a lot down here,” she said.
“I spend most of sailing season mildly concussed.”
“What’s your excuse for being dopey the rest of the year?”
“Smooth,” she laughed, as she returned with the cooler.
She pulled them each out a cold bottle of water.
“What’s in this plastic bag?” she asked.
“Dunno. Open it up.”
She held a small box up to him.
She looked confused.
“Open it,” he said.
She pulled out a small, but gorgeous ring.
“You… But…” she said.
“You’re speechless? Money well spent.”
She hit him on the arm.
She teared up.
“So, lady, I’ve thought about a million different things to say in this moment. I wrote, at least, fourteen different proposals. But none were enough. So I’m just going to say this… The thought of any future that does not involve me being married to you completely and utterly breaks my heart. Will you marry me?”
Tears streamed down her face.
She nodded some more.
“You should hug me now, woman.”
She jumped on him.
He squeezed her back.
She kissed him all over the face.
She sat back down.
She stared at it.
“What were you going to do if I didn’t get thirsty?”
“Ehhh. Some girl I took sailing would eventually want a drink.”
She kicked him.
Then she put her feet back on him.
She stared at the ring.
She moved it around in the sun, which she was sure was shining even more brightly now.
She looked at him.
He looked back.
She kept staring.
He flashed her a faux Billy Idol snarl.
“That island over there,” she began, “pretty secluded behind it?”
“Maybe we should go there. You’re about to get luckier than you could possibly imagine,” she half-whispered.
“Sigh. If I must.”
She deliberately removed her long white t-shirt, showing him her new bikini.
He gulped. He pulled the tiller.
“Coming about!” he yelled.