The late afternoon sun was warming the hills of Cornwall with a golden light. We were parked up on the edge of Dartmoor, sitting in the car waiting to watch the sunset. We'd had a long drive, not just because we were going home to Cornwall from Aldershot but because I'd managed to get lost on the moors and missed heading to the waterfalls I had in mind. I figured it was quite romantic, though: the two of us, relaxing on the moors with a beautiful view and what looked to set to be a beautiful sunset.
'Is this romantic?' I thought I had better check, but I left the 'enough' unsaid.
She sounded suspicious, so I changed the subject. For ten minutes, we chatted about random things. I knew I was delaying the question, but there had to be a perfect moment, right?
The sun was steadily disappearing over the horizon when she asked if we should get going as it would still be two hours before we got back home. I felt deflated, not like a burst balloon, more like a slow puncture on a tyre. Had my moment been missed?
It wasn't my first attempt. I'd planned the perfect moment to ask 'the question' only a couple of weeks ago. I took her on a starlit visit to the beach which would have been perfect, except I hadn't checked the tide times. When we got there, there was no beach (just rocks). The stars were perfect that night, however we were both frozen the moment we got out of the car. Notes were made hastily to self: stay in a warm place next time.
The stars really were perfect that night, the moon was just starting to rise behind us. I took a photograph, not a great one as photographs go, but it was so beautiful.
Back on Dartmoor, I didn't want to wait for another attempt. Two missed opportunities would not sit well with me. What if it was raining the next time I got the courage up? No, it had to be done then and there. I was holding her in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder, when I whispered: 'but I wanted to ask you a question'.
Her whole body stiffened. I think mine probably did too, like a frightened animal not knowing if I should stay or flee. I asked her, then, I just let the words escape my lips like they were the most natural things in the world. 'Will you marry me?'
It would have been an awkward drive home had she said no, but thankfully she said yes! Afterwards, I got to drive home with my fiancée. :-)