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Andrea and Mark Proposal - the Best Day of their lives
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Andrea and Mark Proposal - the Best Day of their lives


You cannot vote for this story anymore, as this story participated in constest that ended on August 31, 2011



My boyfriend Mark and I went on a camping trip to France for our 2-year anniversary. We had been there for 8 days, and suddenly there were only 2 days left. We were trying to make every moment count. Instead of heading to the campsite to cook dinner like we usually did, we decided to bring dinner to our favourite cove at the beach. We set up balanced our portable stove on shells and sea-glass facing out onto the Mediterranean. All of the German tourists and French holidaymakers who were there during the day abandoned the beach as the shadows lengthened, retreating to their well-equipped caravans or the expensive restaurants scattered throughout the region. We had the cove all to ourselves. We were camped out on a picnic blanket, with plenty of soft warm clothes and candles for when the sun went down. Mark spent some time collecting kindling while I sat around reading.

Night had pretty well fallen by the time we lit the fire and we decided to start on dinner. We'd splurged on some tasty parmesan cheese and fresh cream that morning, and although we were cooking on the beach we had decided not to let that stop us from being fancy. So we were making Fettucine Alfredo. It took a lot longer than usual to bring the sauce to a boil on the tiny stove, but we had all the time in the world. The stars started to show themselves as I cooked the pasta, with Mark sitting beside me roasting hot dogs in the fire. It turned out that alfredo sauce is delicious with hot dogs, and we were just classy enough to go there. I was pretty thrilled to be sitting on the beach, gazing out over the sea, while eating one of my favourite dishes with my favourite man.

There were a few wild housecats that liked to roam the shore, which somehow contributed to the magic of the evening. I don't know why I find cats on the beach so strange, but their wary presence at the edge of the firelight did add a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole experience. We finished our dinner and had a few drinks, puzzling over the tiny lights that seemed to be drifting in the water. Mark decided he wants to go swimming. I immediately agreed that it was a great idea, because in theory, it was! But considering how long it took me to coax myself into the water during the day, I had serious doubts about my ability to ever manage it at night. Mark waded in without hesitation and was soon floating on his back, taunting me with exclamations of wonder as he looked up at the sky. I stood on a slippery rock, knee-deep in water, trying not to fall in. Every few seconds I would be forced to wave my arms wildly in an attempt to maintain my balance. I was overtaken by the fear that I might take so long to get in the water that Mark would have gotten fed up and gone back to the shore, and then I'd be the first thing the sharks ate when they inevitably came to investigate the intruders on their territory. This thought somehow spurred me on, and I splashed myself repeatedly with the icy water, trying to accustom myself to its unfortunate temperature. During the day Mark and I enjoyed mocking the timid women and girls who employed this splashing method of acclimatization, but I had dropped my cynical and judgemental mindset and decided to do whatever it took. Mark continued to laugh at me.

After a good fifteen minutes of tottering on that rock, I finally fell into the water, shrieking like a wimp. But Mark was so right - it was absolutely beautiful once you're in. I swam towards him with my teeth chattering, and then we held hands as we floated on our backs, admiring the impressive display of stars. There was no moon, and there is not enough light pollution on the coast to have a detrimental effect on stargazing. Thus we are able to see more stars than I have ever seen before. The Milky Way even put in an appearance. I looked down into the water (against my better judgement, because I knew I would probably see a shark) and was amazed to see tiny lights floating around me. Every time I moved my arms or legs the lights clustered and rippled around me like tiny drowning fireflies. I was utterly enchanted.

Eventually we lost all feeling in our limbs and had to head back to the shore. It was so dark out there that we were grateful for our campfire, without which we might have ended up accidentally swimming to Greece. Getting out of the water proved difficult, however, even with the firelight. The seabed there wasn't sandy and smooth, but rocky and slimy and sharp, requiring great fortitude and an unnaturally high pain tolerance to navigate in bare feet. Mark had had a few beers and had been in the water rather longer than I had, and his frozen legs refused to cooperate. He fell down repeatedly. It was hilarious.

When I was finished laughing I helped him out of the water, and we settled on the blanket near the fire, trying to coax some feeling back into our shivering bodies. This was almost better than the swimming itself - the slow tingle of nerve endings coming back to life, the light-headedness caused by nearly dying of hypothermia, and the almost-painful warmth of the fire pit rocks my toes were curling around gratefully. I didn't think I had ever been happier, and looking at Mark I could see he was thinking the same thing. I was smiling foolishly at nothing when Mark startled me out of my reverie. He was kneeling beside me, and took both of my pale cold hands in his own.

"I don't have a ring, but... Andrea Heins, will you marry me?"

I flipped out a little bit in my head as I realised he was completely serious. I had known for a long time that I would happily marry the loving, talented, goofball of a man who now was now kneeling beside me, so I looked up at him with tears in my eyes and told him that I would love to. It was the best day of my life.
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