Moment Alive

by justine

It was quiet. He caught me as I walked in the door and blocked my view. He seemed excited, nervous. My head was dizzy from the bright light of the foyer, the dim light behind him. The hour-long massage had loosened my muscles – I felt pliable and chilly. I wanted a warm blanket and sleep, but we had the whole night ahead of us.

Right beyond the foyer, the living room was set with a small table and chairs, candles running along the bookcases, pizza and wine set on the side. My emotions hummed. He had spent the time I was at my massage recreating one of our dearest memories.

It had been my 19th birthday. We were two college kids with no money, living out of each other’s dorm rooms in the middle of a freezing Boston winter. February is the bleakest month, but the wind off the Charles River makes it feel ceaseless. Any comfort, any sign of life is a tiny sparkle that will carry you through May.

That night he gathered his money and bought me pizza and wine. He asked my roommates for privacy. It was the sweetest thing. We ate and then napped. Later on we ventured out into the brisk, icy city to walk to Starbucks. We bought chai teas and walked to the middle of the Mass Ave bridge. The wind whipped over the bridge, the city lights reflected back off the river. I felt electric.

But here we were in LA now, 8 years later, with break-ups and reconciliations, cross-country telephone calls and long distance behind us. We have an apartment we decorated, merged our things into joint closets, and adopted a dog. It felt like a home life, so for him to pull that Boston birthday back into existence here and now was magical.

We ate gourmet pizza and drank red wine, just like back then. And we talked for hours. It meant so much to me that he shared his memories and feelings about all we had done together, recapping the foundation of our relationship. I’ve witnessed this man emerge from a sweet boy, a boy I knew in my heart of hearts was there to support and care for me, to create a nurturing love.

As the pizza disappeared and the wine made my face flush, I hoped this would be it, but I still didn’t know. I found myself sitting on his lap, ready to kiss him goodnight and turn in, but he held me there. He said, “You know I love you and there’s no one else I want to be with.”

My heart raced. He started to stand up and my hands began to shake. I think I started crying. I don’t remember what else he said, but he was on one knee and I was kissing him saying “yes”.