Thingvellir National Park, Iceland, 1944.
Axel suddenly hits the breaks on the rental bike out of the blue, causing me to come to an immediate stop.
“What’s wrong?” I stare at him wide eyes, looking for any injuries on him.
“I can’t wait any longer. I have to do this now.” He scratches that head of hair, his forehead shiny and his blue button-up, linen shirt soaked through. He lets go of the bike, letting it drop in the dust. I cough.
“Axel? Are you really that unfit? I need to get you to exercise more.” I chuckle, rubbing my clammy palms on my bare knees.
He almost trips over his bike, stumbling his way over to me. I frown.
“Axel, what is going on?” My tone that of a mother catching her toddler drawing on the walls.
He pats his pockets, searching for who knows what.
“Oh no…I lost it.” His face becomes stone-like, color escapes those flawless features at once.
“Lost what?” As I say the words, both our eyes catch find a little red velvet box in common. My head snaps up, looking at him. His eyes slowly travel towards mine.
I let out an incredulous gasp, throwing my hand over my wide open mouth.
“Adah, will…will you…” He stutters, clearing his throat. Wiping his hands on his pants, he scratches his head again.
“Yes! Yes, of course!” I throw my bike down and dive him into the ground.
“No, stop it. You have to let me finish.” He says through his teeth, cupping his hands around my shoulder and helping me up to a sitting position.
He wipes the dust off my dress and then pulls his soaked shirt away from his chest.
“You can’t take a proposal back. I already said yes.” I kneel down back down to level with that set of eyes.
“And I haven’t proposed yet. Now stand back up.” He orders.
“Fine.” I flutter my eyelashes and throw my hand on my hip.
“My sassy girl.” He smiles. “I love you.” He gazes up into my eyes and then pauses for a few seconds, taking the moment in. “For the first time, I’m not scared of growing old anymore. In fact, I want to grow old as fast as I can, because fifty years from now I will love you fifty times more. I will have known you fifty years longer and fifty years better. Will you make me the happiest and luckiest man alive by becoming my wife?” My eyes linger on the spark in his eyes.
I look upon a face of perfection and realize that I have never been happier than this moment…right here. I allow my knees to collapse as I fall hopelessly into his arms. I have always been such a hopeless romantic and believe that this moment could not have been more perfect.
“Is that a yes?” He warm breath brushes along the length of my.
“Yes. Of course it’s a yes.”
He pulls my head against his chest and I feel the vibrations of his heart beating faster against my ear. He kisses the top of my head repeatedly until I pull away to look at my ring.
“A pearl.” I burst back into tears. “You remembered.”
“Of course I remembered. It was on our first date when you told me diamonds make you think of money and pearls make you think of romance. You were wearing a white linen, button-up dress, your hair loose and a mess I might add. You tried hairspray for the first time.” He chuckles, slipping the ring onto my finger and sighs relieved.
“The most beautiful romance stories are those of the people we know.” ~Jean-Maré Gagliardi