We stepped out of the Jardin de la Murella, after exchanging a few words with the owner who spoke as much English as we did Spanish (until the day we departed and he was suddenly fluent), and made our way to Ronda along the beautifully cobbled stone pathway. Just a few metres from the hotel’s door, though, we stepped onto a bridge that connected the hotel with the road into town, which had the most spectacular view of Old Ronda in the distance.
There was a sound of silence interrupted only by the constant hum of crickets, the half-moon was above us, and the Spanish stars sparkled in the night sky with a hazy orange light shielding the rustic Spanish buildings on the horizon. It was heavenly! I felt so Spanish!
For this walk, I wore a dress that was wonderfully low-cut; perfect for what I had imagined, as I was pondering the shops in Norwich for something to don on these Spanish evenings, was going to be a holiday full of romantic strolls around Seville and Ronda. This dress just needed to be about a metre shorter and you may have mistaken me for 18-year-old Chloe! Let’s be honest, I haven’t worn it since – I was swept up, as you come to be on such a fiesta, in the holiday moment. It was my version of the beaded necklace, or the glittery hair braid.
This bridge we were crossing was the epitome of romance in my love struck eyes and a prime opportunity for such romance to be seized on camera.
Around 22:30 on the 2nd of August, Luis resisted the photo that I was insisting we take on this magical bridge that I saw fit for a classical novel, because, he said, we needed to go and explore the old town where there were so may more photo opportunities that he wanted to show me before dinner. Dinner at 22:30! How Spanish of us! Little did I know he didn’t want a photo on the bridge, because he couldn’t sit down.
I really pushed for the photo, though, and sensing my dismay at his reluctance he perched, unbalanced, on the ledge next to me. The only place I could stand the camera was on the wall opposite obstructing the path, and, as it often goes when there are no pedestrians about the moment you want to take a photo, six pedestrians try and cross in front of you. How funny it was to watch them clumsily stumble back and forth not daring to step in front of what may as well have been a flame throwing fireball of a lens.
The photo was as out of focus as I felt; it was like I was having an outer body experience! I was on an adventure through Southern Spain, which I thought I could but dream of having as I sat at my desk in Auckland. We drove from Seville to Ronda and arrived at the Jardin de la Murella after spending 2 nights in Seville already. Luis’ road trip took us through sunflower cemeteries and derelict castles, and we sucked lollypops in the sunshine and listened to Booker T & the M.G’s with our sunglasses on and windows down. And now here I am sitting on a bridge feeling as happy as can be in Ronda sensing his excitement at taking me to the tapas restaurant he discovered with his brother a few years ago.
Now, I won’t try to pretend that I wasn’t that girl, instead I will tell you as it is. I was that girl. I really did want to get married after we’d been together passed the 5 year mark and I started wondering why it hadn’t even been a conversation, and I crept around the subject before throwing it like a brick to the head asking but why?! I’m prime marriage material am I not! There is an 8 year age gap, fortunately, and so Luis knew that until I reached the ripe old age of 26 I was too young to get hitched, because we had so much more to achieve; settling into New Zealand and exploring more parts of this world together for one. So, in hindsight, dare I say it, he was right to hold off… (I doubt we would be celebrating the way that we are with our nearest and dearest had it been even a year earlier).
I soon made the decision, in order to stop thinking that every moment was the moment, that in no other world would I choose simply being married to someone for the sake of being married over Luis. There is no one to make me happier on this earth and marriage without Luis wouldn’t make me as happy as an unmarried Luis could.
So, I chose him.
After this amorous moment of ours on the bridge had been captured, Luis took the camera and started to take photos of the view. The photos were questionable – he blames this on the camera because I purchased it, apparently, without a function for night-time shooting. People walked by, and I stood still staring aimlessly at his blurry photography feeling hangry, and I asked him to take the photo already so that we could get this walk done and I could get a goblet of sangria and enough tapas to feed Ronda inside my hungry belly.
A few more minutes passed as I continued to watch Luis snap away at Ronda, and he began suspiciously checking over his shoulders left and right.
Then, when the coast was clear, he put the camera down, took out a box from the back of his pocket and said, “I have a question for you”. I told him how hungry I was, and he said “will you marry me”.
El resto es histora.