Monday, November 03, 2003

I realize that last week I said Monday was the best day of my life. I'd like to make a correction. Last Monday was the best day of my collegiate academic life. Halloween was the best day of my life.

It was raining like mad when I left Santa Barbara, and the rain followed me down to Santa Monica, it seems. We went to the pier just after sunset, and it was just beginning to drizzle there. But nevertheless it was Halloween and no one was particularly interested in playing arcade games or riding the ferris wheel, so they were closing everything down when we got there. Marcus was really hoping for the ferris wheel--he loves those things. The play he wrote for me contains one. It's a very 1950's sort of Boardwalk romance icon. I think that's why he likes them. But we got no ferris wheel ride that night. So instead we walk along the pier and I am freezing fucking cold and I suggest that we go get coffee to warm up.

"We will, but I want to walk along the beach a little bit first."

"I don't have beach shoes, really. And all the sand is wet."

"Let's just walk here a little longer, okay?"

"But, honey, it's so cold!" He pulls me to him. I press my face to his chest.

"Honey, I got you a present."

"You did?" He never gives me presents.

"Yes. I wanted you to have this, and I want you to know that Moulin Rouge is more than just a movie, ok?"

We were going to a midnight showing that night. I open the gift paper--it's wrapped in Christmas wrap--and inside there is a still of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, signed. He begins again:

"It's not really signed. The signatures are just tacked on. You can see the pixels around the names. I wanted to get you a signed 3rd edition script, but it was too much. Anyway, I know you like that press shot. It's cute."

"It is. Thank you, honey. Um, could you put it in your backpack? I don't want to get it wet. I'll look at it more closely later."

I snuggle up against his chest again, trying not to freeze to death. Here the words he says to me get jumbled.

"You mean more to me than any movie, or any play, or any poem, or any other peice of art. You know that. You mean more to me than all art can ever be."

That last bit is a line from Dorian Gray. I look up. There is a Zales box in my face, a glittering diamond ring inside it. I'm floored.

"Will you marry me?"

All I can do is laugh. Well, it's not exactly laughing. It's shocked laughter, combined with joyous giggles. My hands fly to my mouth. I don't know what to say or do. I forget all about Dorian Gray. I turn and I jump and I spin. I am so happy.

"Honey? Will you?" He waves the box at me.

"Yes!" I jump toward him and throw my arms around him. "Yes!" And we kiss, and I am still laughing.

"Take that thing off." He points to the lover's knot I wear on my left ring finger. I do, and he slips on the most beautiful, sparkling diamond ring in the world. It is simple and poetic and shines like fire. "You really do mean more to me than all art can ever mean."

"That's from Dorian Gray, you know."

"Is it?"

"Yes. Sibyl says it to Dorian on the night she gives up the theatre."

"Well, it's true. I love you . . .

"Beyond poetry."

And we kiss, and I lace my hand in his, and we walk away from the bright lights of the pier, the shadow of the ferris wheel--completely and utterly warm.

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