I’d been tired all day and cancelled seeing a theatre show (that I wanted to see) and, to make matters worse, as I went back to the couch, I got a text from a friend saying that she was parking and would be at the cinema soon. Shit. I thought it was next week and couldn’t have made it if I’d tried. Today I was a failure as an arts writer and a friend. Great.
There wasn’t anything on TV, so I decided to go for a walk around the block as I hadn’t left the house since Thursday.
But outside was still and perfect and warm, so I jumped in the car and headed to Elwood beach to watch the sun set. I had an audio book on my ancient iPod (hence no phone) and thought I’d be 20 minutes.
A ten-minute walk along the beach from the car park is the old concrete Elwood jetty. It’s wide and deco and only about 30 metres long. There were the usual people fishing and taking sunset photos and an odd-looking wooden sign in the middle. The only thing discernable on it was “ARRY”.
Of course I went to look and, yep, a marriage proposal was waiting to happen. The area was coned off and a dude was keeping an eye on things. I asked when it was going to happen. 9.30 and he said to stay around and watch.
I did. I watched the sun set, listened to Craig Ferguson’s autobiography and waited with about 20 other passers by to watch a stranger propose.
As 9.30 got closer, a camera guy set up and the fishers and photographers were cleared from the jetty. It was dark enough to not be obvious and the crowd were small enough to not look suspicious.
At 9.40, it nearly went wrong when a grumpy old man wanted to walk on the jetty like he always did, but he was shooed away just as another couple walked by.
There were a few couples wandering the beach path, so no one watching was sure if this twosome were it. They were. He casually walked her onto the jetty and firework fountains went off on either side (which no one watching was expecting) and coloured letters lit up one by one to spell “LILLY WILL U MARRY ME” as he got down on one knee.
There were fireworks in the air and about 20 strangers cheered as she seemed to say yes and their hidden family ran down to join them.
The only thing ruining it for the spectators was a pair of charming blokes who laughed that, “She probably said yes because no one else would want her”. Apparently it’s fucking hilarious that a middle aged, not-magazine-perfect couple are happy and in love. I think it’s safe to assume that no one has ever done anything near that beautiful and loving for them.