It was that time of day when the sun was sinking behind the mountains, leaving a pinkish-purple glow painted across the sky. It was a day I would never forget. Michael and I were having dinner with his parents on their ranch and he asked me to go for a walk after we ate.
That in itself was a miraculous question, considering just eleven months before Michael had almost lost his life in the war. Losing a leg was a difficult adjustment and he had nearly given up not only on ever walking again, but also on life itself.
In those early days, through heart wrenching tears he tried to explain to me that he would understand if I didn’t want to keep dating him. He said that I deserved a whole man. Someone who could walk by my side; someone who could give me a piggy-back ride and run to my aid if I was ever in trouble. I wiped away his tears and told him that I was in love with a whole man. A man who in the face of danger, showed such courage to go back into harm’s way to rescue his friend. A man who despite being hurt terribly, had managed to save himself, his friend and two other soldiers, trapped by remnants of a bombed house.
Now after the longs months of recovery and learning to walk with a prosthetic leg, Michael could easily walk with a cane, but most importantly he that sparkle back in his eyes.
“Sweetheart, let’s go for that walk now,” he grabbed my hand and escorted me outside to the front porch of his parents’ home.
He pointed to the large oak tree in the front yard.
“See that tree there? I used to have a great tire swing and I’d do all kinds of crazy stunts on that thing. Used to drive Mom nuts.” He let out a laugh as he looked nostalgically at a tree swing that was no longer there.
“Come on Morgan, I want to show you something.”
We set out on a dusty road, lined with white fencing; our fingers weaved together in a perfect fit. I had never felt more in love with Michael. His spirit, his heart, his very being intrigued and delighted me.
“How’s your leg? Is it getting more comfortable? Are you sure you’re up for this?” I questioned him.
“Yea, I’m fine, I’m getting used to it.”
We walked for a few minutes in silence. Unspoken communication passed between us as we strolled along. I could feel emotion bubbling from him, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
Finally, we came to a large pond with an old wooden bench beside it. He sat me down. Tiny beads of perspiration formed over his brow, a look of worry spread across his countenance.
“Michael, what’s wrong? You look so serious.”
Tears suddenly welled in my eyes as Michael, leaning on his cane, carefully knelt beside me and I realized his intentions. He pulled a ring out of his pocket and slipped it on my finger.
“Morgan Ann Freemont, this is the most important walk that you or I have ever been on. I have wanted to do this for a long, long time. And I was determined not to do this until I could kneel before you; it took me six weeks of practice do this smoothly. You gave me the courage to not let myself die and you gave me the encouragement to not just stay alive, but to really live. A lot of girls wouldn’t have stayed, but you did. I don’t know if you can ever know how very much I love you. God spared my life and I want to share the rest of it with you. Morgan will you marry me?”
Flinging my arms around him, burying my face in his chest, a muffled yes continuously poured from my mouth. When we finally relinquished our hold on one another, our lips met in a tender kiss.
Taking in his gaze, I looked deeply into his soul.
“Michael, I will walk with you through anything that life throws at us. I will walk with you down the aisle. You can carry me over the threshold. You can walk with me when I’m in labor with our children. You can walk with me and the kids to the park...”
Walking arm in arm, we continued our trek back to the house to share our good news.
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