The sun was shining and there was a slight breeze. Not strong, just enough to take the heat off. He could feel the sweat drying almost as soon as it started under his arms. He was glad that he had brought the shirt with him. With both of the excursions they had planned, he really did not expect to be wearing it but he had it with him anyway.
Good thing, too, since as soon as they showed up for the parasailing, the guide told them it was canceled due to high winds and, more importantly, the loss of a boat. The guide was extremely apologetic, offering them a refund and a free lunch at the diner of their choice. She had also clued them in on the many other activities on the island. Her parting words to them were to check back towards the end of the day and see if they could get on a later run if the boat was fixed.
They had gladly accepted her terms and set off, sure that they could find things to occupy their time. Holding hands, they set off down Duval Street. First on their itinerary? The Hemingway House. They had heard of the six toed cats and needed to see them. He had actually never read anything by Hemingway. Not in high school, college, not even now as an adult. She commented that she had read a few but was not really interested. But still, they were here and had to see it. They arrived right at the end of a guided tour and made their way around the property, marveling at everything still standing.
From there, they made their way to the Southernmost Point. Off they went, past the military base, cemetery, various watering holes, taking pictures of everything they saw. It was true what they said: Key West was definitely an interesting place with interesting characters. They stopped a few times to grab a drink and some Key Lime Pie. Before the end of the day, they hoped to find some conch soup or fritters.
As they walked, she asked him a few times what he was playing with in the pocket of his swim trunks. Quickly removing his hands, he just commented that he had an itch. Now with the sun setting, they decided to head to Mallory Square to see the awesome sunset that everyone spoke of. He quickly fingered the pocket of his trunks again when she was not looking.
They found a spot on the wall overlooking the ocean and turned around to see the end of a street performance. It was captivating, two jugglers using fire and various apparatus to perform. Amazingly, the show ended with no one getting burned. Turning back towards the sea, he thought of how right this was. How perfect. They did not need to talk all the time; they just held each other and cuddled. It was almost as if each one knew the other’s thoughts. He looked at her as her long brown hair blew in the gentle breeze. They watched as a clump of clouds drifted in to cover up the setting sun. They were going to miss the end of the day. She laid her back into his chest and sighed as he stroked her hair.
As they sat there, he looked through their pictures, glad to see that they had gotten a picture of the mile marker 0 on Route 1. Of course, they had gotten the end sign, not the beginning on the opposite side of the road. He smiled and flipped through the rest of the pictures.
She sighed again. He laid the camera down and felt his pocket for the twentieth time that day, breathing a sigh of relief as he felt the bump in there. The clouds cleared and it looked as if they would get their sunset after all. The end of a perfect day.
She adjusted herself and looked up at him. Her brown eyes were caged in by her hair. She smiled, wistfully. He thought she looked contented. He had known this day would come. Ever since they had met back at the last New Year’s Eve party. He had known they would be here now on this New Year’s Eve. He smiled back and stroked her hair, bending down to kiss her.
She stiffened; afraid they would miss the sunset. Looking out, he saw a pair of birds cross the sail of a sailboat. The sun set below the horizon and everyone clapped. He clapped as best he could with her in his chest. She just looked off into the horizon.
He gently sets her up as he moves in front of her, saying he needs to talk to her. She looks at him and says the same. They went back and forth on who should speak first. They finally agreed to go at the same time, on the count of three.
One…He reaches in his pocket. She inhales.
Two…He kneels. She tears up.
Three…“Will you marry me?” “I think we should end it.”