It was a dark and stormy night. Ok, it wasn't stormy, but it was foggy. And threatening to drizzle. The night was Saturday, July 28th, 2007. The location was Osiers, the local gas station/good-place-to-get-lobster-rolls-and-steamers. The time was 7:15pm, fifteen minutes away from the last call for steamers, and just past the time that I whipped David at backgammon. Much as I wanted to propose to him in the moonlight, which was nightly becoming a full moon on our backyard aka ocean...
...the opportunity was clouded by the fog, forcing me out of the picture-perfectness of our oddly comforting smoky house (Nana smokes Merritts throughout the house, and the smell of them really completes a meal or night of cocktails). Saturday was our last night, so it was easy for me to demand steamers (steamed clams) even though Dad had been raving about his twice-thawed-store-brand pork chops on the grill for the family. Which was even better, because that meant that Dad was sure to not want to come with us. My mom and sister were madly shopping in Freeport, and Nana boycotted the pork chops with her microwavable stuffed shells. Plus, she knew of my plan, so made other dinner arrangements.
Getting to this point was a little questionable, because just two days prior, David and I drove into Damariscotta, sunburned and sweaty from 9 holes of golf (my annual gift to him...no, not the half round of golf, but my presence of course). In Damariscotta there are many shops, including a little jewelry store called Stars, in which my sister and mother and I annually wander in to daydream over unique pieces displayed behind themed glass cases the couple who owns the store finds from London and wherever else they go. There are the estate pearls, the carved mother of pearl, the royalty inspired fake gems, the birthday stones, the tiny silver baby shoes...
Diamonds are the woman owner's passion. I slowly circled the cases around the store, landing at the last case, or the...Case of Large Sparkly Rings. David took his que, put down the random Maine magazine he was reading, and walked over to ask if I liked anything. An hour later, we leared about cuts of diamonds, the bogusness of paperwork and hearts of fire or whatever, and my favorite, the Mine Cut, which was the irregular cut performed at first by minors in the mines in attempt to make a circle.
I would say this was quite a bold step for Katie and David. We'd never looked at Large Sparkly Rings before. But he was strong, and even asked questions. Dare something be around the corner?
Back to my dark and drizzling Saturday night at the gas station/clam place.
This night was the Top Secret Mission night. I waited until the end of our family vacation just in case David had a Top Secret Proposal of his own up his sleeve. But here we were, on Saturday night, with no proposal.
We drove the 5 minutes down to Osiers, which is the fishing town of South Bristol just on the other side of a swinging bridge. David could not have parked the car more carefully, with no other cars around. When we went into order, he sat down at a table to read a paper that was already at the table (aka didn't have the buy the paper).
Upstairs in Osiers are deserted picnic tables with umbrellas on an upper deck. It was really deserted because it was practically drizzling. I thought I could squeeze in my question and explanations of my thoughts on marriage before the waitress brought up our clams. But David sat with the paper inside with all of the other fishermen and local kids. And he sat. See him sitting in the window?
There he sat, looking for the article on the kid who murdered his father, who was a local pottery store owner, and a local girl classmate. He looked for anything in the Sports section. He folded and refolded the paper. Arms crossed, after having taken pictures of every angle of Osiers, and of my dream cafe that I would love too own because it is SO cute (see below) I actually tapped my foot for him to get a move on upstairs.
Once up there, David was overcome with taking pictures of a seagull.
The seagull, quite accustomed to having it's photo taken, like a raccoon in Central Park by New Yorkers who don't know to fear racoons, the seagull posed and offered different angles of its wing span.
Then David was overcome with taking pictures of the lobster boat harbor.
I finally pulled him down by his shirt to sit next to me on the picnic bench. I said:
"David. The time has come for me to tell you that I am overcome with the desire to make you mine."
David, looking right at me: "Oh, when?"
Me: "Next September."
Me: "David, I have brought you here, to this smelly fish dock, to ask you if you will marry me. For real."
David died. He leaned forward, silently shaking laughing, like he does when I start to pick insane fights with him, like about how he steps out of the shower with full rivers of water running from him onto the floor because he doesn't like to lean far enough out of the shower to grab a towel to take into the shower to dry off.
David, recovering: "Are you going to get down on one knee?"
Me: "No. That's for boys."
More laughter. With his head in his hands, David said: "You're doing this all backwards! I'm supposed to do it to you!"
Me: "And I even have a gift for you!"
I pulled out the little penguin cuff links that I had been carrying around in my purse all day, and reminded him about how when we saw March of the Penguins, we learned about how those little penguins marched right into each other from across the Arctic. Granted, we shared a wall the whole time before we started dating, but it was still a journey getting to New York to even do that.
David took my gift and really liked it. He asked if he could wear them in the future, at the actual event. Of course! I said.
Me: "But you haven't given me an official answer. Are you giving me an answer?"
David: "I am not giving you an answer, because I am the one who needs to do this."
Me: "But you're not doing it, so I am."
David: "Katie, Katie, Katie. I have to be the one."
Me: "Well, I need some sort of indication of direction."
David, laughing: "Did we not just go into a jewelry store for an hour?"
David: "Well, that's your direction."
Me: "Fine. Well, we've been up here for a long time. I think they think we left since they have not brought us our clams. Let's go down and get them."
So down we went, and I made a few declarations along the way, like about where I want to live (Maine, Charleston, Arizona, the list grows monthly), and how marriage is an exciting adventure thing. Back inside the dry restaurant, I picked up our tray of 2lbs of steamy clams and an order of mozzarella sticks and sat down at a slimy table and dug in. David, meanwhile, disappeared to his car. He came back in and asked why I was sitting inside, since I was so adamant about being outside.
Me: "Because it's over! I already did it, so we can just eat now inside and not in the drizzle."
David: "I can't keep up. You change your mind all the time. Get back outside."
With half a mozzarella stick in my mouth, we went back upstairs. When we sat down again, David looked at me and put a little box on the table. Right in between my marinara sauce and his new cuff links.
David: "THIS is my direction. It's nothing big, but so you know."
A box! I wiped the grease off my fingers and opened it. Inside were the prettiest hand blown glass earrings I'd ever seen. And hand blown glass somethings were on my list to do/get in Maine. Every time I go to Maine I have to get a little piece of blown glass. Delighted, I asked David if he knew this. "Yes!" he said. Wow. How did he pay that close of attention? Then he confessed that he did not know, but emphasized how much he knows me that he would be able to get me exactly what I want. See David's proud face, and see the blown glass earrings in the upper left:
I put on the earrings - his glee-inducing and unanticipated match to my proposal. He got them from Damariscotta earlier that day while secretly scouting a Christmas present that my Nana wanted to get for me. It was this cute little possibly new shop that has all sorts of special little things in it.
After the whole event, we did pull into a "Price Reduced!" piece of property in town that was an old firehouse. It's a real fixer upper, and is the ugliest former firehouse I've ever seen, but has a huge deck on the water and could be fixed up. With the right people. ;) Stay tuned. Apparently these proposal things are supposed to happen when I least suspect it.
The story sort of ends there, waiting for another climactic ark. I am officially still a bachelorette with a bare finger, but with pretty ears and a hited at intent. We drove back home, ate buckets of Ben and Jerry's with my Nana, caught glimpses of what my sister got in Freeport, I worried about Gerdy because earlier I had given her a raw bone of pork chops, and called it a night. We went to bed, as we did every night, to the waves hitting the prehistoric rocks about 80 feet below, and woke up to pack the car with luggage and gifts, and then pack our stomachs with fierce blueberry pancakes before driving back to New York. But do you know what? If you fall asleep to the sound of waves, and just when you are 50% awake in the morning, you actually don't hear the waves at all, until you remember that there are waves somewhere out there, and then they fade in. Totally cool.