It was Saturday morning, May 13th, 2017, the day before Mother’s Day, and my boyfriend Cody and I had been planning to walk around downtown Boston and grab dinner in the trendy Seaport district for the past few weeks. Our two year anniversary was coming up at the end of July, and throughout the familiarity of our relationship, we had both lived, and worked together up to this point.
We talked of our plans for the day, which were to entail walking around the city, and as we got ready to leave, he checked the weather one more time. It was going to be cloudy and 53 degrees for the majority of the day. Too cold for May, too cold for a leisurely stroll around Boston really, but our weekends had been so busy with family and events, so our little dinner venture in the city had to be that Saturday the 13th.
Cody headed out to the car as I locked up the house. By the time we were on the road, it was a half hour later than we had originally planned to be out the door. We immediately began deciding on where we were going to eat dinner that evening, debating whether we would try a new seafood place in Seaport, or if we wanted Brazilian food at the little churrascaria restaurant we loved in Everett named Oliviera’s. We hadn’t eaten anything yet, so we were already starving and really looking forward to the palatable options outside of Portsmouth, having grown bored with the local cuisine due to simply eating dinner on the go a lot. The minutes spent on the road to the open air parking lot of our destination, passed quickly playing psychic radio, singing along with old songs from the 90’s, and talking about food.
Getting out of the car, we started our trek down to the waterfront, the breeze was cruel, and unforgiving as there was no sun in sight to shed the appearance of warmth. Cody, to my right, held my hand differently than he normally did. It wasn’t a basic handhold where our palms fit in each others’ just right, and our fingers weren’t interlaced. Rather, he held my fingers with his covering mine so from the front it appeared as though they were blocking the wind, but it felt very awkward. As I questioned what he was doing with my hand, and why he was holding it so strangely, he shrugged it off, not really answering the question. We neared the little park along the edge of the water, and he began to slow his stride, just barely enough to be noticeable.
The week leading up to our excursion had been plagued with endless rain, so the little park was more lush in its wide array of different, almost iridescent greens. Nearing the water, it was a dark, steel gray with an obscure depth you could fall into forever. It was choppy, the flow of the rising tides were rushed by the gusts of wind that disturbed its adroit serenity.
There was a woman taking photographs by the water in dark blue jeans, and a black hooded sweatshirt. At first glance, I didn’t notice anything particularly familiar about this woman, but Cody continued to stare at her, somewhat irked, until she moved away from the water toward the grass of the park area. As she moved away, I asked him why he was staring. This line of questioning he again shrugged off with a lift of his shoulder and a nonchalance in an attempt to convince me of its irrelevance. That was now two different occurrences he had shrugged off when he was normally famous for his lengthy explanations, so while part of me let it go, the other part of me wondered if he simply regretted the trip into the city.
Edging ever closer to the frigid water, his already slowed pace came to a halt, pulling my hand abruptly backwards with him. I faltered in my own stride as the heels I was wearing weren’t as well equipped to be walking on cobblestone as I would’ve appreciated, considering where he had stopped. I turned to face him, slightly annoyed to be stopping at all, as the movement was keeping me just barely warmer than the chill I felt down to my bones. In that moment, I was deeply regretting my choice to wear the knee length dress on such a cold day, but I had been desperate for warmer weather after such a long, harsh winter, as though my choice in clothing would hurry the change of seasons.
As I faced him, I asked what was wrong, and why he stopped. It finally looked like I was actually going to get a response to a question as he began to announce, “Ever since we came here a few weeks ago with my parents, I thought this would be the perfect place…” I started to say something unintelligible as I wasn’t able to get the sentence out before he started to pull something out of the right pocket of his suit pants and dropped down onto his left knee.
The next words he said were “Licia, will you marry me?” He opened a little jade green box in his hand. In it was the most beautiful custom made, pear shaped, one carat, light blue tanzanite, and diamond pave ring with a matching diamond studded band. I don’t know how I didn’t notice the obvious shape of a box in his pocket as we left that morning, but in the car and walking down to the waterfront, he’d kept his right side so well hidden from my view, I honestly hadn’t noticed anything peculiar. Shocked from the gesture, my hands rushed to cover my face, as though they alone could contain the pure elation of the emotions I was feeling, but before he could change his mind, I quickly removed them just long enough to say “YES of course!”
My eyes started to water with blissful tears as he slid the ring on my finger, but before a single ecstatic tear could be shed, the woman that had been taking the photos by the water, the one whom Cody had observed from a just few minutes earlier, and two other figures in dark clothing jumped out from behind a very ample display of bushes. It was his aunt and his parents! His aunt had captured the whole surprise in photographs, and his parents had come along to celebrate our surprise engagement! Suddenly, it dawned on me just how long he must’ve been planning this moment. From the perfect ring, to the surprise impromptu photo shoot, and a celebratory lunch with the ones who loved us most!