An Antler Ring

The paddle heaved aquatic sloshes and drips as it Sigurd rotated the oar of their small boat through the clear, cold waters of the bay. The wind frolicked down the tall mountains, winding its way like an ecstatic toddler through the slopes and meadows to the beach sands, like a refrain between the chorus of an aviary symphony occasionally interrupted by the cries of geese, gull, and occasional loon. It was a gorgeous spot. Sigurd watched her, sitting knee to knee with her in the small craft. The smell of salt mingled with the sweet aspen.Ā  The lengthening shadows of evening added to the untamed excitement of this wild scape. Triss inhaled deeply this wild placenta she felt so safe within, the song of the sounds she heard through closed eyelids as if it were drumming a heartbeat of comfort, as if she were surrounded by her own mother’s heartbeat, hearing it within the belly. Exhaling, she opened her eyelids slowly and contentedly. Sigurd smiled in his eyes back at her. He stopped rowing and the boat came to a standstill on the serene water. He studied her, letting her relax and taking the a short time to enjoy the various sounds to which their own seemed to add such dissonance. Emotions moved cross his countenance just as wildly as the wind as he sat pondering, but finally alighted on concern and doubt.
” You look happy, froken.”
She smiled. “I am quite happy.”
He leaned forward, clasping her hands in his…looking at their every little blemish a princess considered ought not to have as if they made up partial, unique, beloved characteristics. His big hands were shaking along with his voice, as he stated softly, ” I brought with me a gift.” In a tone that registered uncertainty whether she would accept his gift. He unwound a small, hand-beaded pouch from his belt. This he gently placed in her hands. Inside the pouch she could feel something small and heavy. Undrawing the string, she reached inside with her one hand. Her lips slightly parted as her heart pounded in her chest. The round antler ring was carved with minute scenic depiction of tartan with a thistle on one half and the words of his mother tongue on the other half.
“What does it say?” She asked reverently, placing it in the light fiery orange drowsed atmosphere.
“It says, ‘I love you.’ Nia,” He clasped her hand that had remained on her lap, gulping, “I have given this much thought. You too are thoughtful and wise, which is only one reason I admire you. I desire to make you smile. I long to hold you and kiss away your grief. I cannot imagine life without you. Walking beside you is a treasure enjoying God’s vast creation, working together on zeh farm. You listen you give prudent input. And when I most need presence, you are there. Everything our Savior designed in your features makes me long for you. You, patient Nia, are exquisite. This ring is rough, as is my very long speech at which you are smiling, and your life thus far having experienced widowhood and being unloved. I hope your smile is a smile of affirmation…will you take me as your husband?”
He knelt in front of her. Ring still firmly in her free hand, she stroked a stray small piece of his sunshine locks behind his ear.
“Yes.” She firmly and joyously said smiling, a tear running down her own cheek.
Sigurd let exhale a breathe of relief, a happy tear escaping down his cheek in agonizing ecstasy. He held her face in his gentle big palms and drew her lips to his, both of them drinking in the kiss deeply. He pulled away ending the kiss with two small kisses upon her now closed lips, leaning next to her ear whispering, “I cherish you. I promise, when our wedding arrives, I will not hold back my heart from you. I ache to hear the depths of you in conversation and in love.”
As he moved back into his position to row, their eyes met. Locked. Neither one yet being able to feel the other’s heart beating within their chests.
Around them, the now darkening water shimmered green with the mysterious lights above, seeming to do a dance in celebration of the coming union. Once again, Sigurd plunged the paddle stroking the water to carry them back to the village around the bay’s bend. Nia placed the ring on her finger. Fortunately it wasn’t too loose. She turned it clockwise with her thumb, admiring it, smiling into an almost grin and content in her eyes.
Her attention shifted from the ring to her beloved in front of her. She was not dreaming, though night time was falling. The friend she respected, reciprocated her respect as he had consistently. She was cherished. What she had so yearned for. She was yearned for. Passionately. She touched her lips again absent-mindedly, momentarily breaking her gaze from Sigurd’s back to the dancing lights above, then to the night scape surrounding them. What did lay ahead for them? How soon could the wedding take place? She closed her eyes, still smiling, twisting the ring via her thumb, praying, listening to the water rush by the boat as Sigurd paddled.

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