“See that one there? That’s a blacktip reef shark. Interesting fact – they actually give birth to live babies rather than…”
I stopped. What was I doing? There was no way he wanted to hear me ramble on about shark gestation. “Sorry, god, that was really boring…”
“No, no, not at all! I really like…”
“Honestly, you don’t have to…”
He grabbed my hand. Instantly, a feeling of calm rushed through me. I glanced at him, embarrassed, only to find him grinning warmly.
“So they give birth to live babies? That is ridiculously cool. What else can you tell me?”
We end up circling the streets for over an hour so we have enough time to talk, even though it’s the middle of November, and my nose is turning red from the cold. He walks right alongside me, our arms and hands brushing against each other, and I don’t move away.
We stop. “So, this is me.”
He nods, and then my breath gets caught in my throat because I notice that his face is so close to mine.
I stand there, wondering what I’m supposed to do with my hands. Seriously, what do I normally do with my hands? My mind is spinning. I end up twirling the sunflower he gave me earlier between my fingers.
He’s still so close to me, and I can’t tell if he’s about to kiss me or if his personal space boundaries are just way off.
And then he does.
“Can you stop? I’m crazy about you.” He leans forward and places the dumb thing they’ve been fighting over – a stupid, dirty sock – in between them.
“And I’m crazy about you.”
He breaks out into a smile and exhales, thinking, maybe – finally – their first fight is over.
It’s moments like these, like when “Dave (Tinder)” becomes just “Dave” in the phone, when you know you’ve truly found the one.
“Let’s go for a walk,” she said. “It’ll be fun!” she said.
We were up that mountain for six bloody hours.
First Time Meeting the Parents
“Don’t mention the fact Dad’s team is losing. He’ll spiral into a childish sulk.”
“And try not to make too many puns, all right? Mum doesn’t think they’re funny.”
“OK, but don’t PUNish me if I slip one in.”
“I know, I know. I’ll be on my best behaviour. Seriously, babe, your parents are going to love me.”
“I’m not so sure about this, Jane,” Tony called out. She had already drifted out past the surf and was gently bobbing upon the surface, casually draped over the bright yellow ring, seemingly aglow in the sun’s rays.
“Come on darling, it’s only knee-deep here, I promise!” she called back.
Tony didn’t like the water. He didn’t trust it – one minute calm and tranquil, and the next, angry and violent. But he loved Jane. He was madly in love with her. And so with a deep breath, Tony clambered into his rubber ring and glided out to meet his girl.
Blanket? Check. Picnic? Check. Toys for the dog? Check. Water bowl in case Bruno gets thirsty? Check.
Beautiful summer day? Double check. My gorgeous girlfriend? Triple check. Our adorable, dream puppy Bruno? Ch– wait, where is he? Bruno?!
Please don't have found a picnic, please, please, please...
(A sudden burst of screaming and puppy barks.)
I couldn’t believe it. There I was, holding a cardboard box labelled “Sadie’s underwear” and standing outside my new home. I was about to start the next chapter of my life with the girl I met only two years ago!
Did I think we would even get this far? Who am I kidding – of course I did.
“Bernard, stop fidgeting.”
Bernard couldn’t help it. He was nervous. He was 70 years old, survived a world war, and beaten cancer – yet, somehow, in this very moment, he had never been more terrified in his life.
He looked at Mary. His Mary. His mind transported him back to the first time they’d met here, at this very spot, two years ago. He, shuffling along, late for the doctor, she, sprinkling bread into the pond, mourning her loss.
Bernard smiled. This was it. This was the moment, and boy was it perfect.
He sat on the bench because his arthritis wouldn’t allow him to get onto one knee. Clutching the tiny box as if it were the only thing keeping the tears from flowing, he exhaled. “Mary, I have something to ask you…”