After two full days of on and off rain, hiking trails that last for 20 minutes but yielded spectacular views, countless bologna sandwiches on sliced bread and too many rounds of Polish Poker, Ryan and I took a quick, seemingly uneventful hike to the river to get some water. Even though I had had my hunches, I had more or less given up on any proposal happening that weekend. We had already gone to some beautiful areas and spent two days and a night in a national park in the Amazonian rainforest. I assumed that if it hadn't happened then, it was going to be a while. Plus, I had been on high alert since we reached the park, watching for any signs of awkwardness or bumps in his jacket pockets the size of a ring. He had so far given me nothing. Not a sign. Not a ring. Not even the slightest clue at all.
That afternoon we were forced by the inclement weather to stay in our tent and play cards. Although this had happened numerous times during the trip, we were still in good spirits.
In addition to the disappointing weather, we had some health issues earlier in the day. I woke up with an awful migraine, so Ryan being the wonderful boyfriend that he was, massaged me all morning. He was also experiencing strange stomach pains, most likely due to our only meal which was the aforementioned bologna sandwiches. All of it was disgusting except for the cheese. Thank god we splurged on the cheese.
About the time we started feeling better, a rowdy group of teenagers ambushed the campgrounds and started flirting with Ryan. It's the beard. Ladies love beards. Well, apparently so do pre-teens in booty shorts. They worked up the nerve to move from their coy glances to actually batting their eyes to finally approaching him (and me . . . but for some reason they had no interest in me at all). When they begrudgingly went on a nature hike, we readily jumped in our tent to escape for more card games. After a stormy half hour, the teens returned, and we did our best to seem invisible. But then came the "MISTER!" and "'SCUSE ME! MISTER!" at regular high-pitched intervals. What these teens didn't know was that "mister" was about the be off the market completely within the hour.
Once they left and the rain stopped, we went on one last hike into the jungle. When we finished, we grabbed our waterbottles and went to my favorite place in the park to get some water. At this point, I was still clueless and still a tiny, itty-bit hopeful. As we hiked down to the Rio Bombuscaro, I stopped to take pictures of leaf cutter ants - something that had occupied an ungodly amount of time during the past few days. Ryan was cool as a cucumber and never even let on that he had our engagement ring in his right pocket.
When we made it down to the river, he suggested we find a place to sit. Immediately I knew something was up, because he never makes decisions, especially unsolicited ones. So I nervously followed him over mossy rocks high above the river. We rested on a big rock with our legs dangling over the edge and our pants soaked completely through within seconds. Ryan asked if I was comfortable, and when I said yes he said, "Good, because I have something for you." Then he pulled a bag out of his jacket. How did I not notice that? Where had it been hiding? It was a big bag. I was totally oblivious.
Inside the bag was the most amazing gift anyone has ever made or given me in my life. It was a book that he had written about us and our relationship. Before I even opened it, I was weeping. I cried throughout the entire 50 pages, constantly mopping my eyes so I could continue. It was incredible, beautifully written (of course, have you seen his writing?), really clever and full of humor, and deeply, deeply personal. On the last page were the words, "Will you marry me?" and when I looked up, he had precariously made his way onto one knee on a wet, mossy rock overlooking the rushing Bombuscaro river and asked me to marry him. I weeped and said "yes!" Then he slipped the little $8 market ring onto my left hand.
It was hands-down the most perfect way to propose. So perfectly us. Books! And nature! And camping!