It was dusk, the sun had just set, the western sky rimmed with a darkening orange smear. The air was warm, lending toward humid, and I was sweating beneath my sweater and jacket. Maybe it was from the heat, maybe it was from anticipation of what was to come… or maybe it was from the massive plate of sushi I had nervously devoured at Sushi Tango a few minutes ago, who knows? In the end, it didn’t matter, I was a little hot and more than a little queasy and now we were going for a walk. My burps tasted like Eel and sea weed… Mmmm… smell the romance.
We walked down to Lake Calhoun. It had been busy earlier in the day at the Lake's park, but as darkness fell, people were beginning to thin out a little. We joined the remnants of the crowd as they slowly meandered the wide bike path that circled the lake. The still dark waters were like glass, the light breeze barely tickling its surface, doing little to cool my feverish brow. A smelly little suburbs-hippy and her gross-moustache boyfriend squatted at the entrance of the park while she pretended like she knew how to sing and play guitar and he pretended like he was harmonizing, but really just sounded like he was recovering from the stomach flu. I was barely able to hold myself back from making a ridiculous amount fun of them for being such completely lame art school clichés… Her guitar had “This guitar kills fascists” finger painted across the face. I wanted to ask: “Isn’t murder wrong?” But then thought… No time for love, Dr. Jones, you have plans and zero time to waste on dilly dallying and verbally abusing stupid hippies, no matter how satisfying that activity may prove to be.
So, we walked on, with just a bit of regret, curving slowly, hand in hand, around the rocky sand and weaving around the sad spectacle that are adults dressed entirely in spandex… tell me, just how fast do you plan on going, sir, here on the Lake Calhoun bike path, that WIND RESISTANCE is such a concern?
But I digress…
The first attempt was a failure.
I wanted this to be a private moment between us, for one, but there were too many people around… some of them were even Speed-walkers (shudder), so I couldn’t do it. Originally I had planned on distracting her with the funny memory of one of the other times we had gone on this exact date and as we had passed the Calhoun Beach Club, we had paused to watch a trashy couple (the guy is a spangled purple top and gold chain, the girl in a too tight and too ruffled dress with one shoulder strap, the whole of it the color of an oily sheen across a puddle) as they brawled, kicking and screaming and drunkenly breaking up while being held apart by their Sold Gold Dancer-like friends. I figured that I’d remind her of that Friday-night-all-dolled-up-and-on-the-town hilarity and when she tuned back, I’d be on one knee and… magic… but there were Speed-walkers, so… moving on.
But that was good, everything was till going fine, well except for the fact that Little Ms. Super-Cute Girlfriend soon to be Fiancée was wearing motorcycle boots without socks and was developing blisters and a noticeable limp... but then, she was gutting it out and with very little whining too... That is when I strongly began to suspect that she might have an inkling as to the reason for tonight’s date… hmm… maybe I shouldn’t have been the one to suggest the walk, I thought, perhaps that had been a little too out of character…
But I was well beyond the point where such mere trivialities could concern me, I had a mission, damn it, and I was going to see it through. And that’s when fortune and happenstance smiled on me, for there, on the dark side of the Lake, we came across a secluded dock. I suggested we rest a second. She suggested we have a seat. and when she turned to sit, I went down on one knee and there at the water’s edge, downtown lit up in the distance, the two of us all alone in the middle of the city, I presented a special ring and I said some things that are private between us but that came down to that age old question.
Will you marry me?
She said yes.
And I am very, very happy.