Sally bent down on one knee, holding up the ring box. Her blue eyes were glowing sapphires in the shade under the trees.
Penny’s mouth gaped for a moment, taking in the scene. Hot and sweaty from the hike up the mountain, she had stopped to take a break and gaze out over the beautiful view; she had not anticipated this.
Wordlessly, she reached into her pocket, pulling out a similar ring box. She fell to one knee and held it up, imitating Sally’s posture.
They looked into each other’s eyes, matching sapphires frozen for a moment in time. Then they started laughing.
“I’m asking you to marry me!” Sally said.
“Well, I’m asking you, too!” Penny answered.
“I asked first, so you answer first!” Sally insisted.
Penny rolled her eyes and leaned over to kiss her girlfriend.
“No! Answer me first!” Sally again insisted.
“Um, don’t ya think it’s pretty obvious?” Penny replied.
“Say it!” Sassy Sally said saucily.
“Yes! Alright? Yes, I want to marry you!” Penny said, exasperated.
Sally rewarded her fiancée with a kiss. “That wasn’t so hard now, was it? And I say, ‘yes’ to you, too!”
The Real Story
That’s not how it really happened, but that’s how I had envisioned it. After all, Sally had teased Penny for months, letting her know that she (Sally) was ready for a ring.
For example, at the mall, Sally said, “Oh look! There’s a jewelry store! Let’s go look at rings.”
Penny would look the other way and pretend not to hear, or point at something in another store. “Oh look, shirts!”
Penny always wore solid color, basic button ups or t-shirts. It’s safe to say that she isn’t a big shopper. Sally actually forced her to try on some shirts which had patterns on them, which was way outside Penny’s comfort zone, but she dutifully tried on the shirts, anyway.
Another time, when we were chilling at home, this convo happened.
“I have a Pinterest with all my wedding ideas,” Sally had told me.
“WTF?! I don’t even have a Pinterest account,” I answered. “Does Penny know about this?”
“Yes,” Sally said. “I started it so that she’d pick out the right ring, when the time came. It also has bridesmaid dresses, and my wedding colors, and…”
I stared at the alien sitting next to me, the alien who had almost certainly taken over my daughter’s body. Unless it was a doppelganger, and my daughter’s real body was locked in a closet somewhere. Although some myths state that the doppelganger uses the bones of the person, in which case there wouldn’t be a body to find.
Later, I casually questioned Penny about her feelings on the topic. “Are you going to pop the question? Are you even gonna ask her parents’ permission first?” (For the record, I think asking the parents is old fashioned and I didn’t really expect to be asked. I was just giving Penny shit.)
“I’ve told Sally,” she said, with what sounded like long-suffering patience, “that when the time is right, it will be a surprise. But it has to be a surprise.”
My daughter is a lot like her mother (and yes, that’s me), in that patience is not her strongest virtue. So I wasn’t extremely surprised when we had this phone conversation.
“Mom, I spent a little money—not too much, I promise—and I bought Penny a ring. I’m going to propose to her when we’re on our romantic vacation in Colorado in two weeks!” Sally said, bursting with excitement. I could see her big grin and how she jumped up and down, even over the phone.
How it went down
Sally and Penny spent the morning hiking around Engineer Mountain, until they were tuckered out. They drove to lunch, then back to the hotel to wash the mountain dust and sweat away.
“What do you want to do?” Sally asked.
“I dunno, I don’t want to move very much, I’m sore!” Penny said.
“Ok, I know what to do!” Sally said. See, Sally (like her mother), is a planner. Plus, she’d been on enough hiking trips with me to know that this moment would arrive, so she pulled a wrapped box out of a drawer in the dresser where she had hidden it. “Open your present!”
“What’s this?” Penny said, opening it to find the Lego tie fighter kit. “This is great!”
The ladies took turns putting the pieces together, following the instructions, until they were down to the last piece: the windshield.
“Where is it?” Sally asked innocently, hiding it in her pocket. “Oh, here it is, under the bed!” She pulled out a ring box, and told Penny, “You’re my missing piece!”
And she said yes!
Congratulations to the newly engaged couple, Sally Strawberry and Penny Pineapple! They plan to be engaged for three years, allowing Sally time to graduate with her undergrad degree. Since both ladies are so very patient and…
I can’t even finish that sentence.