The weekend was here, all the planning, all the dreaming now was reality.
We boarded the plane on Friday evening, a little weary and dirty after a day of work and the rush to the airport. But waking up to the sea would make the rush worth-while.
Landing in the dark, the few lights we could see were twinkling, welcoming us to the coast. A short taxi ride and we had arrived. The hotel was ready and waiting for us, a cold fruit cocktail as we checked in, and then following the luggage we arrived at out suite. Alone at last we opened the door to the balcony and listened to the sounds of the sea. We reluctantly abandoned the sounds to opt for a shower we said would be quick, but somehow took a lot longer.
Dressed in sarongs and with bare feet, we phoned for room service. Champagne to celebrate the weekend away, just us. Then a light meal; just perfect on our balcony. Then to bed, perchance to sleep.
The unaccustomed sea sounds woke us early. We lay in bed watching the sun rise shining across the ocean, making gold and silver dance there.
We made it to breakfast early, excited to be going out to the reef. A hearty breakfast, a guarantee against sea-sickness Dave insisted. Within an hour we were fetched by the tour operator, along with several other couples. The ride to the departure point took a while, but as the scenery was lovely we just sat holding hands and enjoying the trip.
The day was perfect, smooth water, ripples rather than waves. We opted to scuba dive along the reef, with a couple of guides who took us off in a smaller boat. What a pleasure, crystal clear water, smaller fish and a sense of freedom. The sheer delight in just spending time together, swimming along holding hands, pointing out little scenes of interest.
By the time we returned in the evening, we were pretty sunburnt and windswept. Back to our room and a long bath, then sundowners on our our private patio. We had booked for a restaurant in town for dinner, but still had some time.
A lovely dinner and a long private night in the wonderful fresh big bed together. We talked as we haven’t for some time. The usual rush and pressures of life fell away and we were Dave and Mary as we had been when we first met, unable to take our eyes off each other, always touching, holding hands.
Sunday we went for a day on the beach. Sometimes lying in the sun, sometimes swimming. Always together, usually touching. I have never felt so close to Dave.
We returned to the hotel in mid-afternoon, we had to catch the evening flight back home. A shower, dressed and packed we still had time to sit again on the balcony, watch the sea and have a cold drink.
Dave went inside and returned with a silly little smile on his face. He only looks like that when he is being shy about something. He stood in front of me, then suddenly he was down on one knee. He took my hand in his and asked me “Mary, will you do me the honour of marrying me?”
I almost chocked. This was so unexpected. Then I looked in his eyes, full of love and that warm crinkly smile that always makes my heart turn over when it’s aimed at me.
“Yes” I breathed “Yes” I spoke, “Yes” I yelled, my heart pounding so hard I could hardly hear myself.
He let go of my hand and from his shorts pocket drew out a small box. He opened it and took out a ring, sparkling in the late afternoon light. He took my hand back again and carefully put the ring on my finger. Then he kissed my hand.
We stood holding each other, not wanting to let go, talking briefly. “Soon please” Dave said. I just nodded, too happy to talk.
All too soon the hotel staff arrived to collect our bags, and we drove off to the airport.
The same aircrew were on the return flight, which was almost empty. One of them noticed my ring and the fact we were holding hands. Dave smiled and said “Mary has just promised to marry me”.
In the middle of all the congratulations when they were asking when we would be married, and Dave said “Soon” my heart froze.
How soon will be soon enough? Soon enough to marry the man I have loved for 30 years, whose children I have borne. Soon enough so that I will have hair at my wedding, before the chemo takes it all again. Soon enough needs to be quick, they warned me I may only have two or three months left.
Even if we don’t manage the wedding, it was enough to have the weekend when he finally proposed, back where we first met.