We were driving home from midway to pick up the Elfling today (she was on holiday with Nana and Grandad) when we saw a cloud writer in the sky. We watched as "M a r r y" was spelled out in rapidly dispersing clouds and the Elfling wanted to know what it was for.
I imagined him sitting at some vantage point South of us with his brow breaking out in a sweat and fumbling in his pocket with a small velvet box. Wondering when he should draw her attention to the sky and whether she would say yes. Watching in dismay as "marry" started to become obscured before "me" was completed. Turning an adolesent shade of pink as he knelt before her and she realised that the words in the sky were for her.
His world stopping as she contemplated her answer, time standing still as the sweat beaded and threatened to pour down his face. Becoming aware of the slight cramp in his knee in the milliseconds before she threw herself into his arms and recovering her voice shyly at first saying "yes" and then loudly and more sure "YES". Relief crossing his face as they embraced against the ephemeral graffiti in the sky that neither of them would ever forget. The sun hitting the perfect facets of the new diamond, spilling rainbows across their path.
To the East, they are at the pub enjoying a lazy tipple in the beer garden of their local. The Sunday afternoon buzz of the pub is comfortable as they chomp on bbq crisps and listen to the cover band. Their weekly ritual now for nearly 3 years. The buzz of a plane in the sky between sets draws their attention and they watch as "Marry Me" is spelled out. They muse over who it is that's getting proposed to and she comments on how romantic it is. He, seizing the day and figuring it's saved him a lot of trouble turns to her and says "well how about we make it official?". Not exactly the roses and champagne she had dreamt of, but she loves him and after ribbing him for riding the coat tails of another they go home to consummate the engagement and to discuss "the ring".
To the North, she watches the letters spelled out in the sky and goes indoors before it's finished. He asked her that many years ago, he was sweaty palmed and browed at the lookout down on his knees wowing her and begging for her hand. She can't look at it now, the memories are too good and then too bad and then too bitter. She gulps and attacks the grout in the bathroom.
To the West, they sit on the back deck, the cool afternoon breeze and the juicy smell of tonight's lamb roast wafting over them as they watch the letters in the sky. Below them, under the mango tree their grandchildren shriek and giggle, playing under the hose from the overflowing watertank. He reaches out and takes her hand, the one he asked for all those years ago and she squeezes tight. They don't say anything.
And in the car, after 3+ years of married bliss she blinks away the tears and feels wistful.