up to Chris's family cabin was quicker than usual. Part of me was a little sad about it. I loved the long drive up. Seeing all the trees dusted with snow, and the ground cloaked in sheets of white. It all looked so surreal. It was perfect. During the ride up, Chris and I would play silly games like, I spy with my little eye and find -blank- coloured cars. This time though, we didn't. He seemed preoccupied and in a rush to get up there. It was the quietest drive we've ever had, and it made me super uneasy.
When we finally arrived, some two hours later, I was relieved to see the old log cabin. It looked as it always did, so sweet and you could tell even from the outside how coE it felt. The black door along the dark wood, the smoke already coming out from the chimney. They vines that covered it, brushed with just enough snow that it looked like a painting. I loved it here. I was hoping his mood would change now that the drive was over. But as soon as we parked out front of the cabin, he was rushing me in. Grabbing all the bags, without letting me help at all. I just followed behind quietly up the stairs to the front door, trying to gauge what the fuck was going on with him.
He unlocked the door, and he before he opened it he stopped. He turned to look at me. His face was flushed. His dark brown eyes looked nervous and suspicious all at once. His hair lightly hung in front of them. His mouth was in some weird, nervous smirk. I had never seen it before. It made me feel even more confused than I already did.
"That was weird, I know" he started saying. I could tell now that he sensed my uneasiness. " I promise it will all make sense in a moment. Before we go in, I just wanted you to know that everything is okay. I know you're probably thinking something is wrong, something is up, and you're not entirely wrong.."
My stomach dropped, but I kept listening.
"But it's not what you think. Just, trust me, okay?"
I nervously nodded my head, but to be honest, I didn't like this. He knew I hated surprises, but I followed him through the door anyway, my curiosity just needing to be fed.
I stepped in behind him, and my mouth flew open.
The black carpet in the foyer was covered in rose petals that led a path all the way through the hall, through the kitchen and into the back and only bedroom in the house. I turned to look at him. He was no longer carrying all the bags, and they were all just on the floor behind him. He grabbed my hand, "come" he said, "there's more."
I allowed him to lead me through the cabin, looking at all the beautiful hues of red on the floor beneath me.
"Wait" I said and stopped him just before getting to the bedroom "we haven't even taken our shoes off, we've tracked snow all through the house." I could tell he didn't care, but I did. I released him hand and took mine off, he did the same. "There, are you ready now?" I smiled and nodded.
We walked through the bedrooms threshold, and my eyes began to water. The room was lit only by the dozens of candles that were burning throughout. More rose petals all over the floor and on the bed. Pictures of us covered the walls. 7 years worth of pictures, moments, memories that we've shared together. I was trying my best to not becoming a puddle of water, but I was just so overwhelmed in that moment by my love for that man. As much as I hated surprises, Chris always had the best ones up his sleeve.
I felt him start to lower himself, and my heart was racing. I knew what was coming.
He was on one knee now, tears in his eyes too. It's finally happening, omg - is all I kept repeating in my head.
"Erica.." his voice was cracking. It was the sweetest sound.
"From the moment I met you, I knew you'd turn my world upside down. I never thought I could want this. I never thought I'd be ready. Stuff like this hasn't always been easy for me, you know that, but I'm gonna do my best. You came into my life at a time I wasn't sure I knew what love was, or that it even existed. I didn't want to waste you time, but I didn't want anyone else to either. There was just something about you that made me feel safe. That made me feel home. Over the last seven years, I've tried to find the perfect time to do this, but never could get it right. But anytime would have been the perfect time, because I had you. You are my safe space, my greatest love, my partner in crime, my other, better half. You're my best friend. I don't want to ever do this thing called life without you. It's you and me, forever. I will spend the rest of my life, reminding you how much I love you, if you'll let me. I know it's always felt like this, but let's make it for real for real. Erica Newman, will you marry me?"
I dropped to the floor to meet him where he was. I just grabbed him face and started kissing him. He didn't even have the chance to put the ring on my finger before I was ripping his clothes off. As he was mine. The passion and need to be in this space together, this close, this intimate, couldn't wait.
We made love for hours. Over and over, until we were both completely spent.
He crawled out of bed to grab the ring off the floor, I had almost forgot I wasn't yet wearing it. He came back to bed and slipped it on my finger.
"There, now it's been done." We both laughed, and it all just felt so good, so right. I loved this man so much, and he loved me. That was enough. I didn't care if we had nothing else, because we had that.
We never went to sleep that night. We just stayed up talking, laughing, being together. The sun was coming up when we realized it. We both knew that we wouldn't be able to sleep now that we saw the sun was up. It was weird, but we had always been like that.
Chris got up and got dressed. "Where are you running off to already?" I asked him, hoping he'd just come back to bed.
He came and kissed me. "I'm just gonna run out to grab us coffee, you want anything else?"
My heart started racing and I shot up in bed, my eyes shooting around the room, my arm feeling the bed. My heart sank as I was coming back to the now, and remembering he was gone. Remembering that he never made it back from getting us coffee.
Do I want anything else? That line always haunted me.
Yes, I wanted something else. Anything else but this. I wanted our life together. I wanted more time with him. I wanted kids with him. I wanted to kiss him again, hold him, love him. I wanted him here.
I'll never shake the voice of the officer that came to the cabin that night. "I'm sorry miss, he didn't make it." He never even made it all the way out of the driveway. As he was pulling out, a drunk driver hit him. He was gone instantly they said. He didn't suffer, they said. As if they knew.
It's been 3 years and I still can't accept that it's all over.
I still come back to the cabin, every year, on the same night it happened. Call me a masochist, call me crazy. I don't care. I feel him here. This is where I last saw him. This is where the next chapter of our lives was starting. It's where it all ended. I crave to be close to him, and this is where in my mind, I am. I like to think that, our lives would have been filled with nights like the last one we had together. I hold on to that as much as possible. I'm not ready to let him go. Not yet, and so I won't.
I'll just came back here, every year, to be with him and imagine that our life together would be just like it was, before he was gone.