This morning I joined three of my best girlfriends for a run in the darkness of the 6 o'clock hour. It's a regular occurrence for us come winter, once our training schedules ease up and we can get back to enjoyable, laid back running, but it's been weeks and weeks since we were all together for our usual romp through a quiet downtown. Shayla, Miranda and I joined Kristin on our usual corner, a busy intersection along the lake. Kristin smiled, headlamp beaming, while we shared hugs and hellos, all surprisingly chipper for the early hour.
"There's a reason I wanted to run with all of you," Kristin started, and before she had a chance to finish, and before I had a chance to glance excitedly at Miranda and Shayla, and before I took my next breath, Miranda and I bolted for Kristin's left hand.
Wild screams ensued. In the dark, on the corner, at 6 a.m.
Sure enough, placed delicately on her ring finger, was a beautiful diamond ring. Larry, her adorably charming boyfriend, popped the question. It's no secret that Miranda and I have been on "ring watch" for weeks. After her birthday? Nope, no ring. During Ironman? Nope, no ring. Surely, it'll happen in Hawaii next week, we told ourselves. Kristin is heading to the islands to compete in the world championship Ironman next week. Larry's joining for a few days. It was bound to happen. These two are just so right. I've watched Kristin absolutely blossom in the last several months with him. He's intelligent, he's kind, he loves her, he's her perfect other half.
AND IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME.
So, as we ran, she regaled us with the wonderfully romantic story, and the three of us listened intently, squealing when appropriate. We were just so damn happy for her, our friend, glowing like a damn nightlight. Moments of silence would pass, then suddenly one of us would pipe up with another giggle or question or sigh.
I can't imagine what passersby must have thought of us, laughing loudly, screaming, jumping, hugging, running down an otherwise silent and littered State Street. Girls, they'd say, shaking their heads. But really, what good is fantastic news if you don't have a choir of shrieking best girlfriends to share it with?
As we stopped at a red light, awaiting our chance to keep running and giggling, a disheveled, perhaps homeless, man pulled alongside us on his bike. Miranda, who literally bursts with joy nearly every minute of every day, exploded in that moment.
"SHE'S GETTING MARRIED!" she yelled wildly to the unsuspecting man. I think she even surprised herself.
The man looked at us, four women, giddy with smiles, bouncing on a street corner, and nodded.
"Yeah, I did that once," he said, shaking his head, as we laughed nervously, urging the "WALK" sign to flash our way. Miranda was still beaming. He continued, "It was expensive."
We put our heads down, unsure of what to say then. Finally we were given the go ahead to cross the street and escape the bizarre encounter with the man on the bike trying to rain on Kristin's parade. But as he pedaled on, he turned back and said, "And now I've got 10 damn kids." With that he was gone on his way.
I sort of did a double-take. What? Ten... kids? I don't even want ten cats. OK, that's a lie. But still. The four of us were quiet for a moment, taking in the awkwardness of the moment.
"Ten kids," I breathed. "Wow. He did not care about our news."
With that, we erupted and were instantly back to bouncing with joy, soaking up every detail Kristin had to offer. No amount of early miles on a dark, gloomy morning nor ornery homeless men on bicycles can keep a happy girl down.
Congratulations, my sweet friend. You're a lucky girl, and Larry's even luckier.