He had asked her quietly the first time. A grin was blooming, the kind that moves from your face and into your chest, before the words actually fanned into the air. "Roxanne, will you marry me?" She had laughed, a sound of a cobblestone city church bell and 23 canaries singing all at once, and the wind had picked it up and spurred it away before he had time to grasp it completely. “No," she had replied, winking before lying back on the park bench with her legs thrown across his lap. His heart, though not thoroughly satisfied with the response it had received, melted a little.
The notion dropped, fading into the crisp autumn air that swept the grass around the house into frenzied agitation. The sun rose and set, bringing color and light before stealing it away, as days and weeks and months passed. The winter came, simple and white, sheeting everything in effortless snow that left clean slates and a pure future.
Every step left a mark, blemishing the wholesome landscape as they trekked their way through the neighborhood. The snow rose to their thighs, stinging at their ankles as their socks faded into the black of their boots. He had looked at her, twisting only slightly to see the way her hair drifted around her face in the breeze. "Roxanne," he said once again, his words appearing as fog between them and fading into the cold, "will you marry me?"
Her smile was tucked away in her scarf, hidden in ensconcing warmth that shielded against the cold and bite of winter. Thick wool concealed the smirk that had played along her lips, but a response came all the same. "No," was her muffled reply, and the word hung before her for a moment, quivering in the frost before floating with weightlessness.
He sighed, grasping her gloved hand in his and tucking both in his large haven of a pocket as they walked on. There was a smile in her eyes, evident by the furrowing of the corners and the brightness around the edges, that could only be noted if one was standing, as he was, only a few feet away. Her glow had started to creep toward him, warm breaths of her light heart coasting his way and allowing the frigid air to falter.
The snow began to melt, retreating into something much more complicated than the pristine white of winter and gray skies. Ground softened, leaves unfurled to reveal vivid green, tiny beads of color sprouted and flourished into flowers. Life was blossoming, the sun peeking through the clouds to greet its earthly children.
Their yard had bloomed into a prospering community before he had time to register that the seasons had changed. She had planted a garden of color, oranges and blues and violets mixing to create a hue of a dozen of shades. Rays a yolky yellow beamed down on her as she knelt to foster her restless petals, dirt painting her knees and elbows while the smell of earth and all things that sprung from it shrouded her figure.
He arrived with his hands in his pockets, the words sitting ready on his lips. They pressed against his teeth, tingling with anticipation and eager to loop into the air. "Roxanne," he started, kneeling with her, letting the dirt settle on his skin. "Roxanne, will you marry me?"
Her hands hesitated for a fraction of a heartbeat before she closed her eyes and allowed the sun to burst through the lids. Spring coiled around her, tightening its hold with fragile extremities and sighs holding promises of cheerfulness.
She laced her fingers through his, messy with the stains of the earth, and breathed “of course” like it was the most obvious answer in the world.