4th OF JULY
4th OF JULY
The sound of Jaime’s Black-Cat Whistler fireworks almost made me forget about why we were at the forest. Sure, it was the day of our independence or something like that, but it was also something important for me. And even more importantly, for her. I told Jaime, and the rest, that I needed time to clear my head. Jaime shrugged and told me that it was cool, but he told me to be back by 9. His friend Ryan mockingly shouted to not let the Jersey Devil get me, causing the group to chuckle.
But this wasn’t funny, Lia was important to me, and I couldn’t screw this up. I felt a knot in my stomach, that just couldn’t go away. Then I realized that I was deep in the woods, and I had no clue where I was.
I tried listening for Paula’s music, since she was playing that one annoying song from Frozen that I will not name. But I heard nothing, except for breathing. It sounded awfully close, as if it were behind me. So, I turned, and there he was. His claws were menacing, and almost kangaroo-like. His body was not too different from a man’s body, but with a lot more hair. His feet ended in powerful cloven hooves. His wings were massive, almost 6 feet in length. His tail was very much serpentine and dragged behind him as he circled me. And his face had a mixture of wolf and horse-like qualities. He gave a guttural growling whinny, that made my neck hairs stand on end.
I thought I was dead, and all that would be written on my tombstone would be, “Here lies Jason, who couldn’t propose.” I closed my eyes and waited for the feeling of his fangs. But all I got was silence, I opened my eyes, and saw him seated there on the ground, looking up at me. I was initially confused.
“Are you going to practice asking her or not?”, he said with a deeply accented voice.
I didn’t know what made me more confused, the fact he could talk, or the fact he sounded like if Chris Hemsworth were a psychiatrist.
“Um, okay,” I then cleared my throat,. “Hey Lia, um, I wanted to ask yo-.“
I was suddenly interrupted by a clap of the creature’s hands, “No, no, no, no!” the creature said furrowing his brow. He rubbed his snout, and said, “Try again, but with feeling!”
I was a bit perplexed, but I nodded and started again, “So Lia, I was going to-.“
But the creature stopped me again, “Is that really the best you can do?” he stated.
I gave him a shrug, which he answered with a groaning neigh, “We have so much work to do.”
So, for the next hour or so, we practiced my posture, wording, elocution, and my manners. After that, I felt an eerie calm, a kind of calm you feel while watching a movie with your family, or roasting marshmallows on a bonfire.
“Now only one test remains,” the creature proclaimed.
“What would that be sir?” I asked him questioningly.
He put a claw on my shoulder and said, “Be yourself.”
He then extended his wings, and flew up above the tree line, he looked down at me, and gave me a knowing nod before flying away.
I had only just turned around, when the sound of awful music clearly from a Disney movie filled my ears. I ran in that direction and found Jaime and the others. They were pleasantly surprised to see me come back. Jaime was confused as to where I had been for 2 hours, but I told him that wasn’t important, and that I needed to see Lia.
She was sitting on the bench next to Chris’ green Mercedes, so I joined her. For a minute, we didn’t say anything, so I decided to break the silence. I reached into my pocket, and found the box, it wasn’t a special looking box, but hey, it’s from Jared. I moved off the bench and got on one knee, she turned at look to me, at first with a look of confusion, but then a look of pure shock.
So, I started, “Lia, you mean the world to me, I care about you, and have loved you even before we graduated.”
Lia smiled with tears in her eyes.
I started tearing up myself, but I continued on, “You are singlehandedly the smartest, most beautiful woman I know, and I’ll say it from here to Dallas.”
Jaime patted my back, and I got ready to ask Lia the big question, “So Lia, will you-?“
She stopped me and said, “You had me at smart and beautiful.”
We kissed, and with almost perfect timing, the fireworks from town started firing off. And although it was hard to see, I could almost make out the faint outline of a creature watching the fireworks from the tree line.