A couple of months ago Wes and I started a list of things that we want to see/do/accomplish before we leave Southern California. Among those was the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, so when Wes said last week that we should get out there the following weekend I agreed that we should.
So Sunday morning – successfully not hung over after spending time with my family Saturday – we headed out to the Aquarium.
“I left tickets at Will Call because it makes me feel important, ” Wes said as we walked toward the entrance.
But there were no tickets for us at Will Call and we were sent to the information counter instead.
“Why don’t you check out the gift shop while I sort this out,” he said as we stood in line. He certainly knows how to take care of things, so I wandered around the entrance and actually contemplated telling him to get out of line and just explore. But I didn’t.
After he finally figured it out he said that, because they had messed up our tickets, we would get a free tour. Sure, I thought, an aquarium docent to walk us around and point out fish. Awesome.
But then our guide came out (and I’m awful for not remembering her name) and was wearing galoshes. And then she started talking about otters. Sea Otters are one of my favorite animals and it’s something that Wes and I totally share. So, yeah, I sort of thought that he planned this but my god can that boy keep his cool. When I looked at him like, Yeah, sure they’re letting us feed sea otters for losing a pair of tickets he just shrugged like Don’t question it. And I didn’t. Too much.
Sure thoughts of Is this it? popped through my head. But mostly I just enjoyed feeding Brooke. And when we finished feeding Brooke and nothing, well, I just knew that was it. He just wanted to surprise me with something fun at the aquarium and now on to see all those fishes.
But as we were leaving the trainer said there was a cancellation with the sea lions and would we like to feed them? Um, yes please. Heading down to the sea lions all other thoughts were put out of my head because I genuinely believe that there was a cancellation and that this was just a fluke.
The sea lions were fun, of course. We fed Miller, a 29-year old blind sea lion, a lot of fish and were able to do some fun tricks with him. And then we were brought out to the main water area, where another trainer introduced us to another sea lion. Milo, much younger and sleeker, got a couple of fish snacks and then his trainer said that my job was to simply pull the buoy, which she would throw out, from Milo’s mouth when he returned with it.
And yet… I pulled it out of his mouth and let it hang at my side wondering what was next. What else could we do with Milo?
As I sat there staring ahead the trainer said, “I think there might be something written on the other side.”
So, little stunned – What is Milo trying to tell me? – I turn the buoy over. And what I see surprises me so much that I am stunned into silence: Will You Marry Me?
I turn around to find Wes down on one knee with a ring box open. “Will you marry me?” he asks, a little shakily.