It was the perfect evening. The sky, awash in vibrant reds, oranges and pinks, exemplified the type of sunset that, if one believed the old rhyme, meant a “sailor’s delight”. It’s my delight too, Adam thought cheerfully, as he spread an oversized blanket over the sand. By late September, the tourists had long since packed up so weeknights on the beach were peaceful. He set his picnic basket down, using it and his sandals to keep the blanket from fluttering in the warm breeze. Instead, the salty sea air played with Erin’s golden tresses and just then, at that very moment, Adam was confident that he was the luckiest man alive.
He’d been planning the “perfect proposal” for months and it seemed even Mother Nature was on his side. He couldn’t have asked for a more romantic atmosphere. While Erin sprawled on the blanket, Adam set to building a small fire. Summer help for the beach patrol was gone as well; there would be no trouble from them. Not that they would harass locals anyway, Adam thought to himself. He and Erin snuggled together, watching the glorious display of colors kaleidoscoping across nature’s immense canvas.
“That was gorgeous,” Erin gasped breathlessly, as the colors mottled together to form an inky blue backdrop for a galaxy of brilliant stars.
Adam pointed out constellations. For fun, he made up silly names and created stories to support the new titles he’d ordained. As always, Erin giggled at his silliness.
“Hmm, let’s see…what shall we call this one…over here,” he mused.
“Right here. That cluster that looks like a Princess cut diamond surrounded by baguette and tiny channel set diamonds.” He replied. As she turned to look at him, baffled by his knowledge of diamonds, he opened his hand to reveal the ring he’d been carefully hiding. “I think this constellation is called, Will you marry me, Erin Crayburn.”
Erin squealed with excitement before covering his face in kisses.
“Is that a yes?” Adam asked.
“Yes, Oh Adam! Yes!”
He pulled a bottle of Champagne from its cooler sleeve and filled two flutes to toast their new lives together.
“Here’s to us!” Adam declared, raising his glass.
Erin held out her hand to admire the new adornment. In the flickering light from their tiny fire, her diamonds seemed to come alive. Each turn of her hand set off brilliant glints from each faceted edge.
“It’s gorgeous, Adam, exactly the one I’ve always dreamed of.”
Her tender kiss grew more passionate. Though the couple had never been fond of public displays of affection; they knew they were all alone on the beach. Not another soul in sight, just the soothing sound of waves rolling up to meet the shoreline.
“Wait….what was that?”
Raising his head slightly, Adam looked around. Nothing but empty beaches as far as the eye could see.
“Relax, there’s no once here, babe. Even if there was, there’s no way they can see what we’re doing underneath the blankets.”
“No, silly, not on the beach. Out…there….”
Adam’s eyes followed her hand as she pointed out to sea. He was just about to insist that she was seeing things when he noticed something too. Disentangling his limbs from Erin’s, he sat up straight, facing the ocean.
“You saw it too, didn’t you?” She gasped.
“I think it’s from the flames flickering. You know, just the light playing tricks on our eyes, Erin.”
“Maybe you’re right. Let’s just walk down to the water’s edge and take a look. You know, to be sure.”
Not wanting to ruin their romantic evening by arguing, Adam rose and followed her. The sand underfoot, once dry and powdery, felt damp and squishy under their feet. Just then a wave rolled in, instantly chilling their bare toes.
“See, everything’s ffff….ERRR-RRINNN!”