The trip changed before it even started.
We originally booked with another couple, but Brendan and I arrived in Fiji alone. A few days before our trip, our friend told us he and his wife had to stay behind because of work circumstances out of his control. All the things we’d been planning as a foursome would now be done as just two. We were bummed our friends were stuck at home, but Brendan and I knew we’d still have a good time as just us. We’ve done most of our traveling that way.
We crammed our first full day with breakfast, a massage on the beach and a trip into the tourist hub of Port Denarau. After lunch, Brendan and I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do since I came to this part of the world — parasail. We booked an afternoon trip on the fly and got a ride to the beachfront of the Sofitel. The sun scorched my shoulders as we climbed onto our boat, my heart doing the samba as I realized I’d be airborne in a few minutes.
A funny thing happened as we slowly rose over the turquoise water with our chutes. Complete calm washed over me. I was a bird, looking at land, sky and sea. The wind tugged us this way and that. I saw the mountains and the smaller islands, tried to search the shore for our own resort. Brendan was sweating. I said, “We’re OK.” Everything felt right. We were soaring.
We took advantage of the Sofitel’s pool and volleyball net before heading back to our own resort. I’d told Brendan I wanted to take a walk on the beach earlier in the day and we decided to do it before dinner, rumored to be a Fijan barbecue with music. The sky was about 20 minutes away from its spectacular sign-off, when it painted bright smears of fuchsia and peach across its darkening canvas. All was still clear and light and sparkling as we strolled the shoreline.
I turned to look at what had become my favorite view, the one of the rippled sand leading up to the treeline where the sun had saluted us the night before. Brendan said, “Turn around, I need to ask you something.”
I turned and saw Brendan on his knee in the sand with an orange box as he said the words, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
I am a woman of many words, and the words I managed at this sight, the one a girl waits forever to witness, were “Are you joking?”
We had just talked about getting married that afternoon. He had mentioned something about proposing on our trip to Hawaii in July and I’d actually bought it. I didn’t even think he had a ring. But there sat the box in his hand. I still didn’t believe it.
He opened it and showed me the most perfect ring I could have imagined for myself. It was exactly what I had wanted even though we’d never really discussed it — classic and elegant and just right for my hand.
We were under the same sky in which we had soared just hours earlier. The sun still blazed above me as bright blue eyes searched my face. The diamond twinkled like the first star to appear in the night.
I said yes.