My Funky Funky Better Half.

Posted on April 2, 2012


Screw that recent $350 gazillion dollar lottery that everyone went crazy about, I found something so much more valuable than that.

April Fools.

No, Really it’s an April Fools. She’s an April Fools baby–Cass. She’s my million, billion lottery win. And with her birthday yesterday, I have another reminder why I love this girl and yet another reason to wonder how the heck I was lucky enough to love and be loved by her– I’m reminded of all the times-all the arm-length pictures-all the laughs-all the everything. We had a beautifully chill day, yesterday, the first day of her 30’s. Welcome to the club, baby.

I recently walked my memory through one of the best moments of my life for the book I’m writing. It seems a wonderful time to share with you all.

“Jon what do you think? I like it. It’s funky.”

Across the table, the seamstress’ eyes lit up, jolted awake with energy. A giant, toothless grin stretched across her wrinkled face. “Oh funky! Yes! This funky!” She was yelling now. Then, she dove into a different stack of pillow cases, completely vanishing, and emerged holding a different design. “This… this funky, too!” She set the design down and held up one finger, telling us to wait. She turned around and, again, was engulfed by the sea of fabrics surrounding her. A second later she appeared, her eyes squinting a smile larger than her mouth. She was holding three different patterns this time, “Dis funky funky.”

“Cass, I love this lady. Let’s buy some of her funky funky.” She stared at us, still holding the fabric cases, “and if she wants to sneak into our pockets and come home with us she certainly can.” She was wide eyed with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning. I looked at her. She nodded, her mouth still partially open. “I like your funky funky.”

“Oh yes! Funky funky!”

At that time, 100,000 Vietnamese dong equaled roughly $4. I’m surprised we didn’t leave with garbage bags full of funky funky.

We killed a few hours before our dinner in the markets of Sapa, wandering between the countless shops of handmade fabrics and tourist trinkets.

Tired, but amazed at our fortune of location and opportunity of experiencing Sapa, we pulled our chairs up to a table with a sunset view down the terraced valley. Looking at each other, we understood this moment as being the magic of travel. We woke up that morning, not knowing what would happen; we went about our day careless and open; we saw markets, people, and sights a handful of people in the world may ever see. We learned of culture, the generosity of people, the beauty of the world. Simultaneously exhausted and energetic, we sat wordless taking it all in. The dim glow of the restaurant and the candle lights reflecting off the brightly colored décor around us was peaceful. We didn’t need to say anything. Words didn’t seem to be enough.

I knew this was a moment we wanted to remember forever.

The sun quickly sank behind the western mountains; leaving twilight’s blue to blanket the land. We didn’t chat too much. When we did, it was to discuss a possible case deeming Pho noodles the greatest food on the planet. Mostly, though, we just sat. Thinking about everything and nothing at all. Just being together. We held hands across the table cloth while I couldn’t help but wonder if the bread basket was playing ring-around-the-rosy with us. Cass gets little amusement from the journeys my mind takes.

Inevitably one of those mind journeys brought me back to the present: the night was too beautiful—our day was too beautiful.

“Cass, could you ever imagine that we would ever be sitting, having dinner in a remote Vietnamese village?”

“No, are you kidding? This is…” she trailed off.

“Exactly.” I immediately felt the pressure of spontaneous speaking; no magical delete button to bail you out once something more eloquent comes to mind. “This past year, traveling, everything really… it’s just been a dream of mine. I’m not sure that I would have done this, and I know I wouldn’t have done as much as we did, if we weren’t together. I feel… I guess I just feel blessed. I’m not exactly sure how that feels, but it seems like the best way to say it right now.”

“How are you a writer if you can’t… oh, forget it.” She has a knack for the romantic. She paused, looking down at the table, “I know exactly what you mean. This year has been unbelievable.”

“You know, to have experienced it all with my best friend, the one I love like absolute craziness. I’ve learned so much about us and love and all that stuff. I’ve just never had a relationship as solid, or as simple. No matter where we are or what we go through—how difficult or amazing they are—I know I can count on you, and trust you, and… everything just seems better when you are with me.” I paused to wrap my head around what I just said, “huh, I never thought I’d say that. When we first met I really came to own the idea that I may just end up by myself. And I was okay with that. I guess, first off, what the hell did you do to me? And second, why didn’t you do it sooner?”

I saw her eyes were starting to well up, reflecting the candle’s glow. They were sparkling.

“I know more than anything else in the world…”

I reached into my pocket. Deeper than I thought it would be, was the small box. I grabbed it. The corners were squished and wrinkled, the sides a little flimsy. I had held onto this small box since I walked into the Korean jeweler in Yeoju’s walking mall. It had spent time next to my underwear, shoved in an obscure pocket in my backpack, and most recently in the toe of my shoes smashed at the bottom of my pack as we traveled. I was waiting for the right moment; the perfect moment. She deserved it.

“… that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

I brought the box to the table.

“Oh my God. What are you doing? What are you doing? …what are you doing?”

“Cass, would you be my wife?” Hearing myself say those words was surreal. Both our eyes teared up, the candle still creating its magical ambiance.

“What are you doing? What are you doing?”

“…maybe say something else…”

Blindsided to the point of meaningless repetition, I took it as a job-well-done. We cried some, we laughed some, we talked some.

With that one simple question, it became less of a night we wanted to remember and became a night we would remember.

And I do. Often.

Posted in: Think, Travel