The next day I picked up G in his little green car. He suggested we go up in the canyon for a picnic, his glance darting to the turquoise duffle bag. I had spent the whole night thinking and then early in the morning confided in my good friend next door. My immediate instinct was to postpone the proposal however I could until I got a better grasp of what I wanted.
So we traveled through the canyon, making small talk. I was overly aware of the bag. That stupid bag, that blessed bag. At Sundance, we parked, grabbed our things (hello, duffle bag companion!), and hiked up the mountain. We spread out a blanket and chatted about the day, the gorgeous surroundings, school. In a sudden rush of panic my proposal avoidance system activated.
"Want to take a walk?" I blurted.
"Sure." G swooped the bag--which had been nestled close to G on the blanket--up to his shoulder.
We made our way toward a small stream at the foot of Mt. Timpanogos, a wonderfully romantic technicolor scene on this September afternoon. The mountains seemed to be holding their breath. G invited me to sit on the grass as he ceremoniously unzipped the duffle bag. [Now I was holding my breath, too.] This is it, I thought.
He took out two crystal goblets, both wrapped carefully in a frayed blue bath towel, and my favorite sparkling soda.
"What's this, a picnic?" I asked, coyly. And inanely. As if we hadn't already been calling it a picnic and I hadn't noticed the bag fastened to him all day.
"Uh-huh" G smiled faintly.
We gulped down our drinks, both nervous for our own reasons. Stalling for time, I asked for a refill and drank it, too. Do I want this to happen? what's the way forward? Distraction seems much more compassionate than rejection. And I don't want to reject him. I'm just not sure. I don't want him to ask unless I'm sure.
"I have to go to the bathroom." I really did. I was suffering the consequences of the refill. We packed up the bottles and glasses and G replaced them in the bag, careful not to reveal its other contents. But I thought I could see a bit of light blue velvet.
. . .
Confused? Read the first installment here. There's more to come. Eventually.
Picture taken on my parents' deck, September 1989, on the way to USU's Homecoming. Oh the hair (both of us!). G's about to laugh and I've got a strange overbite happening. Look at our little young, starry-eyed selves.