Part 2 of this immensely long Chapter as well as a blog post. To understand this chapter you have to read the beginning of it, which you’ll find here. Without further ado, let’s get this started:
Those next few months were lonesome, I grieved but I lived on. Just as she had told me to do. Some days it was harder than others. I worked really hard every day. It was harder to get Amy to do her homework than it was with Nancy, every day there were fights on why she didn’t want to do it. Or why she simply wasn’t going to do it. She’d rather go out and play with her friends. Which was understandable, considering the wonderful weather. Nancy was easier. She lived in her own world, books were her saviour. Her escape from the fast life that was going on around her. Next year, Jason and I would graduate from the journalism course. Life didn’t slow down, and Jason supported me on every step of the way. He was there for me when I couldn’t get myself out of bed in the morning, he laughed with me about life’s bizarreness’ and we went on long walks on the beach. That summer Rachel and David invited him to spend the holidays with us in their cabin on Fire Island. He was amazing with the kids. And we all went swimming together.
One late afternoon in July Jason turned to me and said: “Let’s go on a walk. Do you see those cliffs? Let’s walk there.” He was pointing at the cliffs two miles away. It looked beautiful in the sunlight. “Yes, I do. That’s a good idea, it looks really beautiful. Let’s go!” I answered. We started walking. It seemed like a never-ending path. Silence. He seemed very quiet and nervous. Why would he be nervous? He surely wouldn’t ask me to marry him, or would he? No, it couldn’t be. I wasn’t ready. We had been together for two and a half years now. It was possible. Now I was getting nervous. I didn’t know if I wanted to marry him. I loved him, with all my heart. That was for sure. But I didn’t know if I’d be able to take that step. Leave the people I now lovingly called second family. It seemed like I had only just started to really feel at home. I looked at the ocean, waves crashing into the cliffs. Breaking. New waves. The same process all over again. Never stopping. Rough landscapes. I could see the cabin from afar. Hiking the rocks uphill. Looking at those masses of water. No answers. I looked at Jason. We sat down. Jason spoke first: “It’s beautiful up here, isn’t it? Nature truly is a wonder.” He paused, looked down at the beach and continued. “There’s something I need to tell you. There’s a reason we walked up here.” And now I was scared. “It truly is beautiful. And I figured that you didn’t walk up here with me for no reason. So, what is it?” I tried to sound relaxed. “I don’t know how to start this. I’ve been trying to say this for months. First off, I love you. And what I am about to say, might scare you, but I want an honest answer.” Now it was clear to me what he was about to say. And I was scared. “I love you too. And I promise to try and answer as honest as possible.” Hoping that it would help him say the words. “I know we’ve only been together for two and a half years but with you, it feels like I’ve known you my whole life. And that is not something I feel with every person. You give me the feeling that there is something more important in life than my job. What I’m about to ask you is”, he knelt before me and took out a ring, “Will you spend the rest of your life with me and be my wife in good times and in bad?”
There it was. The question of all questions. And he asked it out in nature on a cliff. Even though I had known that he was going to ask it, I was overwhelmed. And still, I didn’t know what to say. But a part of me knew the answer already. “Jason, I love you. I truly, deeply do. I just don’t know if I’m ready yet. Please give me time, time to let my heart heal and see if I’m ready for it. Please don’t make it a ‘now or never’ decision. I am so sorry that I can’t give you ‘Yes’ for an answer yet. But I’m not giving you a ‘No’ either. I’m just saying give me time. That’s all I’m asking for. A little time.” And I looked into his eyes. There was disappointment. Pain. I had hurt him. Not on purpose and I had given him exactly what he wanted. But still, I had hurt him with it. “Henriette, what can I say. I don’t know what to answer to this. I understand that you need time. Yet, your answer gives me nothing but uncertainty. I understand that you’ve had a very hard time with Jane’s death but think of what Jane would’ve wanted you to do. I won’t push you, but I will set you a limit. A deadline, if you want. I’ll give you five days. Meet me at the café where we had our first date in five days and we will figure it out then. Okay?” That was only fair, and, in that moment, I felt he was the right one. I suddenly knew it. He would’ve given me time, but I realized I didn’t need it. And in my mind, I saw Jane, smiling and nodding at me. I remembered what she had said in her letter. It was what she would’ve wanted. And it was what I wanted.
I started running. Jason had already started to walk back. I screamed. “Jason! Wait right there, will you?! Please.” He turned around, waiting, I ran towards him and almost tackled him down. “What is it with you Germans and tackling, has no one taught you manners?” He chuckled. “Sorry for tackling you.
It was the only way you’d stay. Will you just listen and say nothing till I’m finished?” His face took a serious expression. “I can try. No promises here”, he said. “I know that I possibly broke your heart when I said I needed time. But there’s something I need to say. This is not easy for me. When Jane died, she left me a letter. And in that letter, she said that she wanted me to live on, even if I grieved her. It seemed like an impossible thing to do at the time. But here I am talking to you. About to do exactly this. I’m sorry that I almost broke your heart and now try to fix it. But I don’t need five days. I’ve made my decision. And it is that ‘Yes’ I want to be your wife for as long as I live. I love you, Jason. And nothing can or will stop me from doing so. If you still want me to.” Jason was, expectedly, speechless. And he had no idea how to deal with that rapid change of mind. “I… I’m not sure what to say right now. And I am not completely certain you’re telling me the truth. To be honest with you, of course I still want you to be my wife and spend the rest of my life with you! But how will I know? How can I know that you love me and want to be with me if you told me five minutes ago that you weren’t sure?” This was understandable. “I know this is all very confusing and not fair to you. But the only thing I can do is tell you, and trust that you love me regardless of my mistakes.” He kissed me, looked at me for a long time and said: “I wouldn’t be able to stop loving you that fast anyway. And there’s still time. We don’t have to marry tomorrow. There’s still many months’ time. But let’s go tell them!” He seemed euphoric. I was still shocked. “Yes. Let’s go tell them.” And so, we went. That night we all stayed up long. Letting the day’s happenings sink in. We could see the stars. And when I looked up, I felt happiness fill up my body and I listened to the steady heartbeat of the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. Everything would turn out to be good. At least that’s what I had thought.
Now I wish you all a wonderful week and an amazing day. Maybe I’ll write another post until next week,