My birthday was one day off of Grasp’s. Every time I had a party or celebrated at all I thought of him all day. So to break this problem wide open I decided to celebrate my half birthday. My birthday would come and go unmentioned but when the half birthday came around we would go all out. The celebration would be huge.
So, it is September in 2004, Bekah and I have been going strong since February, and I have the ring.
Let’s stop for a minute and really think about this ring.
First of all, no store-bought ring would be good enough for her. Our relationship and our past demanded something different. No one had ever fought this hard for any love story that we had ever heard of. I figured out what I wanted and I went searching for a craftsman.
Me and Bell went to about four spots and talked to four different people, looking at examples of their work and I made my decision. I told them I wanted white gold. I wanted two angel wings, each wrapped around the diamond in the middle, each would have the tip of its wing overlapping the other ring. When the two of them were set together on the finger they would form one perfect piece.
This guy had all sorts of questions about the wings. Evidently, I hadn’t described it right. Dove wings? Eagle wings? Angel wings? Raven wings? He wanted to know if this was a Harley Davidson kind of thing or what it was.
My answer was angel. Months before I started to date her the first time, I had a vision of the Archangel Gabriel. One of the wings was his. Shortly after she started yoga, she had a vision of Archangel Michael. One of the wings was his. These two figures granted us strength and resolve when we were working on ourselves and when we were trying to get ready for a relationship together.
We took the diamonds from the first ring I had gotten her and had them use that. They were small. They were not what I wanted, however I saw it as a positive. This ring would be a thing that we added to in years to come, upsizing the ring as we went to make it more suitable to our growing lifestyle. The diamonds would be humble in the beginning. But the ring would not be. I poured money into its creation and when it was done, I had the perfect ring for my soulmate.
On my half birthday I called Job. “Need a favor, man.”
“What can I do?”
“I am proposing to Bekah today. I need a few rides around town.”
He grumbled but called on Chanel and together they came out and picked me up. We went to Walmart. I bought two candles. I bought a candle holder and matches. We went to the florist and I bought her a dozen roses. I went to Godiva and bought her some chocolates.
They dropped me off ten minutes before Bekah was getting off work. She would immediately come to my house to pick me up for my birthday dinner. I had ten minutes to get ready.
I was ready in two and then I sat in a dark apartment, lit only by two candles, and I rearranged the counter for eight minutes while my heart pounded in my chest and I fought to control my breathing.
Flowers to the left of the candle. She would walk up to the candle and see the flowers, pick them up and turn to me and I would be on my knees. No, flowers on the right. She would see the chocolates, then the candles, then the flowers, then at the end of the counter I would be on my knees. No, candles in the back, chocolates and flowers up front.
I can tell you that I tried every possible combination of these things and shuffled them all over the counter before I heard her knock on my door.
I walked to the door and pulled open the peep hole. I stared out at her for a long time seeing her beautiful face and her smile. I pressed my forehead against the door, my palm resting on the flat of the door, and I drew in a deep breath.
I had no doubts. I knew without a question I was doing the right thing. I unlocked the door and opened it. I reached out and took her hand and pulled her in. I closed the door behind her and pressed her against the wall. I kissed her. I remember that kiss as if it were the one I gave her before I put her to bed tonight. It was long, it was slow, it was passionate and it was patient. It was a patient kiss. A kiss that has no plans but to be there in that moment. When I pulled back I pressed my forehead against hers and I whispered to her.
“Hi,” she said. “Happy birthday.”
“Yeah thanks, I have something for you,” I said. I still had not let her see the counter. She knew the room was dim. She knew we were in the dark. I took her hands and I led her across my kitchen and to the counter, then I stepped aside.
She looked down and giggled. “What’s this?” she said. “It’s your birthday, why are you buying me gifts?”
In the glow of that candle light her face was golden, her hair fire, her eyes glowing. She stared down at my offering and I grabbed the ring box off the desk behind me.
I took her hands and I dropped to both knees. It was always going to be both knees. When the first proposal was being planned it was both knees on the bridge, hiding the ring that I had bought and begging her. When it was the second proposal in front of the elephant tree it was going to be both knees. I was never going to have pride enough when asking for her to be my wife to kneel on one knee.
I felt the floor below me. Hard linoleum on cement. I took both of her hands and I looked up at her. She stared down smiling.
I had words. I had prepared them. I had them planned and I summoned them up but they were gone. They did not exist anymore. No words made sense. I could see myself on my knees struggling to breathe and fighting to make sense of my words.
So, I called on Smear Lord of Ire. I summoned him up and I felt him behind me. The black figure. The wings striped like a tiger and furry. But he was not hovering as he always was. He was not massive and beyond reckoning. He was the stature of a man. A simple man. Not an immortal, not a god. But he stood no taller than six feet. His wings did not buffet behind him but drooped slightly, casting a shadow on me. He had his head lowered and I waited for his beautiful words. But in the face of the moment he was humbled. He could not speak. He could only stare.
I called on Guardian. From his knees he ripped free his sword and drove the tip down into the floor. He laid his forehead on the pommel and he closed his eyes. He did not speak but prayed.
Beside him Servant. On his knees, sitting on his feet. His head bowed as if waiting for a command. He seemed to be praying. Seemed to be wrapped up in his mind. Since the Battle of Normal Street he had given up on Rose. He had devoted himself to the girls first. And his cousins. Then to Siren. But when the worst of her became clear he had gone on a journey of discovery. He had sought the thing that he could serve that would never let him down. Never shame him or use him and he had found us. Servant had found that we, everyone in my mind, needed a Servant devoted to our needs. Since that time he had been pious and generous. He had been working on seeing to us and he had begun trying to find out what he believed in.
Now he is on his knees before the one thing he knows he believes in. He is kneeling before Bekah. He is kneeling in front of the love they share and he is praying to it. He has no words to say to her. He simply waits for instruction.
Shade stands behind us a hand on my shoulder staring into her eyes gripped by her beauty.
Adam has poked his head around Smear’s wing and is watching with wide eyes. All of them have come except Shadow who sits on the couch smoking a cigarette and clapping. He does not want to get married but he knows he wants Bekah for the rest of his life. He knows no one else will do. He is done looking. But marriage does not suit him.
It will take him six years before he has worked through all of his issues and is ready to commit to Bekah in marriage. They will have a simple ceremony one night after Rayph goes to bed. They will speak words. They will dance. They will both cry. But for now, Shadow watches from the living room as we struggle for any words to say the things we are thinking.
Finally, as one we look up at her and in unison that only I can hear we say, “Please.” Our throat closes up. Our mind shuts down. This is our entire life. This is the only thing that matters now.
She giggled. Just like a girl and she smiled. “Okay,” she said.
She had words she had decided on. She knew this day was coming. But when faced with saying them, all she could do was agree.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.