4) Climbing the Mountain

He was hanging upside down from the tree, and
I was laughing. I was laughing so hard I thought my brain was going
to pop out of my ears and I had to bend over and put my hands on
my knees because if I didn’t I was going to fall down.

"It’s not that funny, Dee."

He looked crestfallen, the great display of bravery in the face
of a big challenge gone all wrong. I knew he wasn’t hurt because
if he had been he’d have been yelling about it. He was just stuck.
And as I didn’t have either a ladder, a jet pack or a Bowie knife,
I figured I’d have to wait until the instructor came down off the
top of the hill to extricate him.

"Dee…" he was losing his sense of humour. Must have
been the blood rushing to his head. The thing is, this was all my
fault. We’d agreed that this Saturday, we would each choose a surprise
for the other, something neither of us had ever done before. My
surprise for him had been a morning of paragliding, something I’d
always dreamed of doing but never had the nerve to try. I took to
it like a pig to mud, but it hadn’t worked out too well for Mike.

"Darling it’s okay. Someone’s coming now. You’ll be down in
a minute." I swallowed the laughter. He wasn’t seeing the funny
side.

Upright and a normal colour, Mike regained his equilibrium, both
physically and emotionally. He even admitted that his hundred yard
descent before becoming entangled in the trees had been ‘thrilling’,
but he didn’t offer to have another go. The morning was over. It
was his turn to take charge.

He drove me deeper into the mountains beyond the paragliding club.
After half an hour I got restless.

"Where are we going?"

"Surprise," he said, pulling up in a parking space at
the bottom of an extremely acute cliff. Several brightly coloured
blobs could be seen clinging to the dizzy heights, fingertips and
little metal spikes the only thing between them and certain death.
There was a cabin style hotel before us with a mountain view.

"Close your eyes."

I shook my head. "I’m sorry for what I did to you this morning,
but I’m not climbing that."

"We agreed, we’d each do the other’s thing, whatever that was.
I was game this morning, despite almost strangling myself. Well,
now it’s your turn. Close your eyes."

He was very firm and though I was prepared to refuse to do anything
that resembled insanity, I obliged, cautiously.

He led me from the car and I stumbled on his arm like a blind geriatric.
We climbed some steps onto a wooden deck. I heard a chair scrape
and he eased me into a seat.

"Okay. Now, for the mountain." he said.

I opened my eyes, heart thumping, and gasped. Before me was the
most exquisite lunch table set with crystal champagne flutes and
bone china. In the middle of the table was a bottle of Dom in a
bucket of ice and beside it, on the snowy tablecloth, a small red
box. Beyond us lay the mountains beneath a deep blue sky. It was
a stunning setting.

"I’m asking you before we climb the mountain, just in case
one of us doesn’t make it," he said, very seriously, "Dee,
I love you desperately. Please will you marry me."

I opened the box, my mouth agape. We’d been together three years,
but I’d never really wondered when or how he would do this. Living
together had been okay, we were best friends and content, but this
was fantastic. I peeked inside. Couched in a bed of black velvet
was the most exquisite diamond engagement ring, a solitaire, set
in the centre of a celtic knot of white gold. It was perfect.

"If I say yes, do I get to keep my feet on the ground?"
I said, looking up at him and trying not to smile like an idiot.

He smiled. "Say yes."

"Yes."

He leaned over me and kissed me then. Afterwards he was laughing.

"What’s so funny?" I unfolded my napkin and took hold
of the champagne glass with relish.

"There never was any mountain climbing." He said, "this
was the thing I’d never done before."

Tiffany D. Stacpoole,

Houston, TX

 

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the world’s top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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