It’s here, the long awaited story of Nate’s and my engagement.
Since early January, Nate had been trying to convince me to go out to the coast with him, but something always interfered. It was ugly outside, one or the other of us was sick, it was cold, I didn’t feel like walking, we had plans with friends… always something.
On February 27, the stars aligned, the weather was beautiful, and over sushi brunch (what? Raw fish for breakfast isn’t your bag?), as I was gazing out at the beautiful day through the window shades, and contemplating the incredibly fabulous bathroom the sushi joint had (with a fucking bidet), I said to Nate, “Hey, we should totally go find some ocean!”
A brief aside: Nate grew up in Fort Bragg, California and while I’m a native of Sacramento, some of my best childhood memories are of fishing with my mom and grandfather off the California north coast. I’ve loved the ocean since the first day I saw it and Nate’s love may surpass mine, but it’s hard to tell. We both think of the Pacific as being “our” ocean and some of our first dates together involved finding a patch of beach and walking beside the ocean, in it, around it, through it… really, all the good prepositions. We love the ocean beyond all hope or reason.
Back to the story: Something akin to panic passed across Nate’s face, but it quickly subsided and he agreed quickly. Ten minutes later, we were on our way to Half Moon Bay.
Despite living in the bay area for ten years, I’d never been to Half Moon Bay. Nate suggested some various beaches, but I left the decision of where we should go in his hands. The sun was shining, there was a brisk breeze, and all was right with the world.
Upon arriving at State Beach, I immediately noticed some strange, white, bulbous structures on the headlands to the north. I asked Nate as he was scrounging around in the back seat of his 93 Civic, “What do you suppose those are?”
He looked at them and shrugged, found his leather coat (“Won’t you be too warm in that?” I asked) and we made our way down to the beach.
The beach had some fabulously hysterical warning signs, of which I told Nate he should take pictures. I couldn’t because I was using my phone to figure out what in god’s name those structures on the headlands were.
Nate eventually dragged me down to the beach and I figured that the structures could wait. I shoved my phone back in my pocket while Nate and I tromped down the beach, barefoot and happy. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day for a stroll by the sea, and we were happy to take advantage of it. Eventually, though, Nate started slowing. I figured that if he was going to slow down, this would be a great time to renew my search for the Mysterious Headland Structures (MHSs). Out came my phone.
Nate paused by a stick that some enterprising soul had stuck upright in the sand. He asked, “What do you suppose this stick marks?”
I looked around. “Uh… there are some bathrooms. Maybe it marks that.” I pointed to them, the only notable thing aside from my MHSs, before returning my attention back to my phone. Tap, tap, click, tap.
Nate started talking and I admit I wasn’t listening while I poked at my phone. Eventually, words started filtering through. “…and it’s important to mark these special moments in our lives…”
I turned and found Nate on one knee in the sand next to the stick, fishing in his pocket for a box.
Eventually, I realized that Nate probably wanted an answer or something, but when I opened my mouth, I couldn’t seem to make any sense and just repeated what was going through my head. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod…”
Theoretically, I said “yes” in there somewhere. I definitely wound up with a ring on my finger, which is a pretty good indication that I assented. Memories are a little hazy on that point, although Nate assures me that I actually said “yes” about a dozen times. I tend to believe him.
I still don’t know what those structures are.