By Jessica McAnally
The shoreline was brilliant in the evening sun, and the usually cold and windy beach was calm and warm. It was a scene from a painting; the sea birds, the crashing waves, the way the light played across the rippled surf. Adding to the unique nature of the picture was that instead of being populated by a mass of tourists enjoying the brief moment of clear skies and warmth, only one couple walked along the shoreline, slowly strolling with their feet in the breaking tide.
The young man and woman were quiet and reflective, each immersed in their own thoughts. There was both a familiarity and a tension in the air, and it was obvious to both parties that something important was about to happen, and their relationship was going to change.
The man paused briefly, and knelt to one knee. The young woman’s heart raced and if it weren’t for the waves, the sound of her gasp would have been clearly audible.
He looked up into her face and smiled. She smiled back as her pulse continued to rise. “I found a good one.”
Smiling, he showed her an unbroken sand dollar. She returned the smile while trying to swallow her stomach, which had somehow ended up in her throat. “It’s beautiful. I’ve always loved sand dollars.”
Handing the shell to her, he continued down the beach, her keeping pace at his side. She lovingly traced his profile into her memory. His windswept hair, boyish grin, and deep brown eyes had become so familiar over the years. She knew it was him. It would always be him that made her feel whole.
He looked at her and grabbed her hand. Pulling her close he kissed her forehead and smoothed the hair from her face. He looked deeply into her eyes and knew that this was the moment. There in the setting sun, with the sand and sea was the time he had chosen.
Her breath stopped and she rested her head on his shoulder. She was overwhelmed with how excited and terrified she felt. He gently lifted her chin, and there was a flicker of indescribable emotion between them. They were about to change their lives.
He lowered his voice and spoke her name. A chill ran down her spine, and she closed her eyes, waiting for the words she was sure would come next.
“I think we should see other people.”