FERVOUR

1: intense and passionate feeling.

The Proposals – by JC Uys III

Christmas Eve was the perfect night to propose, all I had to do was choose the right moment. I had multiple plans laid out throughout the evening. The first opportunity is sunset and the final, right at midnight.

Come sunset, I would be waiting at the foot of Table Mountain, where you can find one of the best views in South Africa. Lions Head is to your left, the entire city to your right and the harbour with all the ships peaking out behind the city skyline.

I made sure to arrive early to find the perfect spot and as luck would have it I did just that. This spot was usually overrun by tourists, but not that day. I threw out a little blanket, a picnic basket with all her favourite little snacks and even a nice bottle of champagne for the celebration. I made sure that I looked my best, fixing my hair in the side wing mirror of my pick-up truck and straitening my tie. 

The sunset was about to start when she arrived by Uber. She exited the car in super-slow-mo, like one of those extremely cliché moments from a rom-com. Maëva Miller, dressed in a stunning black cocktail dress, she could make your heart skip a beat with a mere smile.

“Don’t you look handsome?”

I froze for a second, completely overwhelmed by knowing what is to come, my hands were sweaty and I was visibly trembling. I knew I had to play it cool and not give anything away. If only my voice would have listened to my intentions because the next words to come out of my mouth came out at a very high pitch.

“Thank you.”

I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks as I blushed redder than red. I cleared my throat and luckily that helped.

“You look absolutely stunning.”

She was pleasantly surprised by the little picnic and completely mesmerised by the view. Sunset and cuddles, the sky washed pink and I knew this was the perfect moment.

I took a step back and went down on one knee, waiting for her to turn around. Suddenly a troop of baboons invaded our picnic, I ended up on my backside before she turned around to discover our uninvited guests. Most people I know would have screamed at the top of their lungs at the sight of all these baboons, but Maëva just burst out in laughter, especially at the sight of a baboon holding a picnic basket.

After she regained her composure and our guests had departed leaving us with only the blanket, she helped me back to my feet. Thankfully, I had managed to stick the ring box back in my jacket pocket before one of those creatures could get their claws on it, more importantly, before she saw it.

I like being prepared for any and all possibilities, but a troop of baboons was not a scenario that had run through my head. Sticking to my plan for the evening, we jumped into the pickup on our way to Simons Town.

Simons Town was the perfect second opportunity to pop the big question. A friend of mine is a caretaker at the world-famous Boulders Beach where you can find a colony of African penguins. Between the nests, he had set up a little table for us.

Barefoot we came walking down the boardwalk, she was smiling from ear to ear, doing a little happy dance at the sight of the penguins. Only the basics this time, a bottle of champagne for us and a bucket of fish for the penguins. I got some great videos of her feeding the penguins, she was absolutely blown away by this experience and I knew that once again the moment was perfect. I went down on one knee and pulled the ring box from my pocket, as she was distracted by some hungry penguins.

“Look at the cute sea lions.”

She was so excited about this new encounter, at least for a second or two. Clearly, she was unaware that the ‘cute’ sea lions were in fact predators, and on the menu, this fateful night was an innocent penguin. The penguins all started to panic and ran for safety, but not all of them made it. The perfect moment had come and gone, we stood horrified at the sight of a penguin being torn apart by sea lions.

We got back into the pickup with quite a different mood. At this point I was starting to worry, unsure if I would be able to turn this around.

Luckily I had a mood changer in mind, we found our way to The Galileo Open Air Cinema, for one of her favourite Christmas movies, The Grinch. She had a look of confusion as I reversed the pick-up truck into the parking spot, but when I lifted the cover in the back to reveal a pillowy mattress and blankets her face just lit up. We slowly started to put the traumatising experience behind us.

Laying in the back, snuggled up underneath the blanket, not noticing all the clouds gathering overhead. Ring in hand, covered with the blanket, she was staring into my eyes when I opened my mouth.

“Maëva, will you-“

At that exact moment, thunder rumbled and rain came pouring down on us, once again she burst out in laughter as we quickly covered the back and jumped back into the front, soaked. Some people would see all these failed attempts as a sign, luckily I’m not one of those people.

It would have been easy to be devoured by negativity at this latest failed attempt, but the one thing that worked in our favour was that we were no longer traumatised and my nerves at this point had started to settle. We were laughing at this crazy night that had come out of nowhere. Nothing was going as planned, but we were having the time of our lives and that’s the important part.

A quick stop at the apartment to abandon the soaked formal outfits for something dryer and more casual, our next stop, Julie’s Cake Studio. Again, a well-planned opportunity, a baking class, have some fun and when I feel the moment is right I would go down on one knee.

The 10 PM class had just started when we came running in late, to the death glare of the instructor. We were laughing and fooling around, no longer taking things too seriously, this was met with disapproval from the irritated instructor. We made a batch of cupcakes and finished icing them after icing each other a little bit.

I grabbed the ring from the box, and a cupcake from the table, I placed the ring perfectly on the icing and went down on one knee. The instructor came walking past with a tray of freshly baked Christmas cookies, tripped over my leg and sent the cookies flying across the room. In a panic to avoid her seeing the ring, I stuffed the cupcake in my mouth, making sure not to accidentally swallow the ring.

Maëva kindly helped the instructor back to her feet as I spat out the ring and stuffed it back into its box. The instructor had had quite enough of us and promptly chased us out of the studio. At least we were able to grab some of our cupcakes before laughing all the way out the door.

Honestly, most people would have given up by now, but I felt I had to try one more time, for her. It was thirty minutes to midnight and at least I had one more plan at the ready, it was make or break. The final destination for the night was on the other side of the city, we were taking Chapmans Peak Drive to get there.

‘Chappies’ as we know it, is not just another scenic route. The road runs right next to the ocean with sheer drops down to the water below and the majestic view of the mountains in front and next to you. Truly another amazing view Cape Town has to offer to residents and visitors, making good progress when a loud noise came from underneath the car.

A flat tire and it was only a few minutes to midnight, I felt my heart sink, knowing we won’t make it to our final destination. But as I stood there wallowing in my self-pity, she came and took my hand and gave me a smile. Her smile made everything that had gone wrong that night worth it. She gave me a kiss on my cheek and everything felt all right.

“Look there’s a path here, I wonder where it goes?” 

Her eyes filled with excitement as we followed the moonlit path through the trees to discover a long rocky staircase leading us down to the beach. Covered in flour and smears of icing, we kicked off our shoes and hand in hand took a walk on the beach as the moonlit shimmered over the ocean.

All smiles after an extremely eventful night, having survived a baboon invasion, witnessed the slaughter of a poor penguin, drenched in rain and scolded by an angry baking instructor, we were walking there hand in hand and filled with love and happiness, I realised that this was the perfect moment. With the water touching our feet, I stopped and took her hand in mine. I went down on one knee as her eyes filled with tears, I opened the ring box.

“Maëva, will you marry me?”

She was about to answer when a rogue wave came in, knocking me to the ground as she burst out in laughter at the sight of me flopping like a fish, she helped me to my feet and gave me the best kiss of my life.

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