We had been together for 7 months at this point. We were verbally engaged to each other but he hadn't made it official yet. I wore a fake diamond ring on my finger to keep all my other suitors (eye roll) at bay.
We planned a spring break trip together.
A 12 hour drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and a weekend in a luxury tree-house cottage.
On our way to the cottage, we stopped at several random points of interest. A small diner with the "World's Best Pies", a winery (or two!) a State Park for paddle boats, and lastly, a White Water Rafting adventure. We picked up some sandwiches for a picnic later and we were driven to our raft. It was a solo rafting experience. No guide. Just us, a raft, and life-jackets.
It started out relaxing. We paddled through a few little rapids. Nothing major by any stretch of the imagination. We mostly floated and talked. I remember making this comment: "These rapids are kind of weak...I was hoping for something a little more extreme."
It was at this point that God intervened and granted my wish for more extreme rapids. We turned a corner in the river and I see a giant boulder with rushing rapids on each side of it. I began to panic and told Justin "Just don't hit the boulder!" Of course, in man-speak, that's translated into "Head STRAIGHT for the boulder!" Well, I can assume it does, since that's what he did. We crashed into the rock, flipped over, and went rushing through the rapids together...bouncing off other rocks, no helmets, no experience. We survived, he swam for the boat, I swam for the paddles. We pulled ourselves out of the river, trekked through the woods a ways, and made our way to the rafting place. We were alive, soaking wet, and freezing.
We drove like that to our tree-house. When we got into our room, we got undressed and hung our clothes outside on the balcony to dry.
He lit a fire in the fireplace...
...and we laid down on the couch together, and laughed about how we almost drowned that day. My hand was resting on his chest and I suddenly felt it beating faster and faster. I asked him, "Are you okay? Your heart is beating fast!" He said he was fine. He asked me if I could get up and get him a soda. Which was weird since he didn't drink sodas. I got up and got a can of Coke out of the fridge. I gave it to him and got comfortable again on the couch.
Then a few seconds later, he said "Can you do something else for me?" I sighed heavily, I was warm and I had JUST gotten comfortable again from getting his Coke. I said "Sure..." He said "Can you give me that ring you've been wearing on your left hand? I have something better that I want to replace it with." And he pulled out THE RING that I built on some jewelry website of my "perfect engagement" ring. He asked me "Will you marry me?" and I cried...which means "YES" in girl-speak.
It was one of the best trips of my life...even considering I later was diagnosed with Lyme Disease which I can only assume I contracted while hiking through the Arkansas woods to get back to the rafting place. Every rose has it's thorn...yada yada yada. He also told me later that he had my ring in his pocket during the rafting "oar-deal" (bwhaha, get it??? OAR-deal?!!)...I'm just happy he didn't lose the ring during our near-death experience. It wouldn't have surprised me though. We are accident prone people. And by "we" I mean "him."
Hope you got a laugh out of our story. We sure did. =)
PS: All pictures are from our "Love Book."