On this day in 2002, I asked Denise to be mine. At that point, a mere formality, plans were being made to combine households. I had chosen a home. But, I then, still, was that woman I am seeing-TW. We had lines we didn’t cross-despite the river rush of our love…the riptide that held us pulling us parallel yet not quite the same as the life before.
This, like all love stories does have a food tie-in. We could speak the words of love spoken with mushrooms, we could speak of biscuits and hash browns. By Beaning Day, we could even talk of Angel Hair Onion Rings, maybe. Perhaps not, the child of the Angel Hair Onion Rings definitely did not believe that love for her had anything to do with the plans. She did not know of the 3 am search for cheerleading, for schools, for the right words to bring her to a new home in Florida. She did not know that yes, she meant a lot in all of it. Such is the nature of being her age, of the inexplicable nature of love.
But, a tiny gold coffee bean had been bought-it had actually resided in a pocket of the weekend suitcase that made numerous trips back and forth to South Carolina. The time not right, the reasons not right, but the us felt right enough to order, then purchase the gold charm. A coffee bean-for Denise’s endless coffee habit-or a coffee bean for so much potential in a tiny bean, a brew that some love and can’t wake up without or one others loathe. A coffee bean for strength, some bitter notes, some smooth, for being alive and the sheer shape of it-a cleft, smooth on the outside, a rough side.
While all the rules had yet to be met-it finally could not wait. I gave up incredibly “romantic” ideas-no limo, no roses, no surprise. Instead I insisted on breakfast at Waffle House. No, I couldn’t just get something out of the fridge. She knew something was up and she didn’t like it.
We went into the Waffle House. I handed her the bag. She looked at the jewelry box inside with alarm. She’s not the marrying type and she knew it wouldn’t be a varsity ring. She opened. I asked. She rolled her eyes. But she knew, I knew. Waffle House. A coffee bean. Each other.
It wouldn’t always be easy-but it would be official-as official as we wanted-as unique a memory and anniversary as we are a family.
Last week, someone spoke of Denise and how they hadn’t seen her ever in a dress. I said I had, two different dresses. One a blue striped sundress she sometimes wore. Another she wore for me once-the first time she came to see me in Florida. I described how incredible she looked in it-my breathlessness at seeing her-but added that at that point she could have worn anything or nothing-since I was that taken with her. The person I was speaking to said she hoped I always felt that way about Denise. It was a toss off comment-from someone who knew us both-but you know what? I do. When I spotted her as I rode down the escalator to baggage claim on Friday evening, I grinned, wanted, and loved her-not just as much-but more than I had when she stepped off that plane in Orlando.
So, there-a Beaning Day story for you…marshmallow fluff because that is what she makes of me. I am besotted all these years later. She wears a coffee bean around her neck and holds my heart even tighter.