They are sitting on a park bench, her head resting on his shoulder. His head is bent over hers, so neither of them sees the sunset spreading out before them.
“So tell me what you want,” he says.
“Whatever you pick will be lovely.” Her voice is nearly lost in his cotton T-shirt.
“You could give me an idea. Do you like your mom’s?”
She chews on her lip. “No. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s hers. Not what I want for mine. It would be like wearing her clothes.”
“Okay, not like your mom’s. Or like my mom’s either, I suppose.”
“No. Hers is too tall. It seems like it would get caught on everything.”
“So you want something smaller.”
Her head comes up off his shoulder. “But not too small. A girl at the U got one, and it didn’t look like an engagement ring. More like just a promise ring.”
His eyes run along the horizon. “Maybe it should just be a promise ring. Maybe—“
“I thought you were ready.” Her voice goes up a notch. “I mean, we’ve talked about this. Planned. Date for a year, then a one-year engagement, then—“
“Yeah, I know. I just wonder…” He looks around the park as if someone else will have the answer. “It’s just a big step, okay? I thought maybe we should discuss whether we’re ready for it or not.”
“Why wouldn’t we be ready? We’ll be done university in a month. You already have a job lined up. I will soon. We know each other well. Our families get along. They’re all waiting for us to announce this news.” She cups his hand with hers. “You’re the man of my dreams. I love you. Of course I’m ready.”
His shoulders relax and once again their surroundings go unnoticed. “I love you too, baby,” he whispers, stealing a kiss. “That’s why I want to pick the perfect ring for you. Do you want gold or silver or white gold?”
“Whatever you pick, dear,” she says, her head back on his shoulder.
This story won second place in the short short story category (under 400 words) of the Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall 2008 Contest. I didn’t know I could write a story that short—until I tried!