It was a cool, brisk morning. Just what you would expect at four a.m. in the mountains of Taiwan. Nerves and the pounding of my heart had kept me awake for most of the night. I lay under the covers and tried to time the cadence of my thoughts to the rhythm of Rachel’s breathing. On that day, I needed nothing more than for the two of us to be in sync.
Four thirty a.m. The alarm finally went off and I leaned over to give Rachel a kiss. Despite the early hour and my lack of sleep, I was awake and very aware of the day that was about to unfold. I was alive with excitement. Rachel, on the other hand, was cognizant of just about nothing. She was alive, but very much unconscious. The pre-dawn hour did nothing but encourage the love affair that she was having with her pillow. However, persistence was the key and I finally coaxed her beautiful brown eyes open.
Four forty-five a.m. I had been at the hotel door for the last ten minutes ready to go. We had booked an early morning tour to LuShan, a nearby mountain, to watch the sunrise. I read and was told that it was spectacular. I was twitching with anticipation as Rachel slowly pulled on her clothes. She didn’t share the same affinity with nature that I had. I discretely looked at my watch and willed her to move a little faster. Direct confrontation was not an option at that pre-dawn hour. So I waited with a patient face but a restless spirit.
Four fifty-five a.m. We were out the door and on the bus. The ride to LuShan was slow moving. A recent typhoon had decimated some of the mountain roads and made for a treacherous journey. Rachel and I sat in silence staring out the window. Even in her trance like state she couldn’t deny the awesomeness of our surroundings. Finally, we were coming together.
Five forty-five a.m. We left the bus and found a private spot from which we could view the grandeur of beauty that was about to unfold. I stood behind Rachel, my arms wrapped gently around her waist and we stared out into the gray distance. The murkiness of the hour started to fade and we could see the first feathers of light poke out from behind Jade Mountain. I looked out into the distance and noticed a patch of clouds slowly creeping in. Their pace seemed to match that of the rising sun and my heart began to pound feverishly. It was a race between the morning star and the blanketing clouds that promised to deprive us of what we were there for. My head jerked from side to side and I felt ready to implode. I needed for the sun to win. And then just as the clouds began to cover the mountain peaks the sun began to blossom. I took a deep breath and started.
“All of my life I have known what true love is. I have known because I saw it every day in my parents’ eyes as they looked upon each other. I watched as they shared their days and nights together. Two very different people joined at the core. Each one learning from the other through mutual experience.
All of my life I have been blessed knowing that true love really does exist. It is possible to find that one person who helps you become who want to be.
Nevertheless, I am also aware of how difficult it is to find and hold onto such a love. It takes more than fate. It takes an understanding of what love is, the courage to take a chance on its precariousness, and the perseverance to keep it alive even through its most difficult seasons. I have always had the understanding, the courage and the will. What I was missing was fate. What I was missing, was you.
I know you have heard me say this a thousand times, but this time really listen. I want nothing more than to share with you, cherish you, care for you, love you and just be with you for the rest of my life. Let me put that smile on your face and that crinkle in your chin. Give me the joy of gazing into your eyes and telling you ‘I love you’ every day for the rest of our lives.
Rachel, ni ke bu ke yi jia gei wo? (Will you marry me?) “
As you can guess, she said yes. Actually, her exact words were, “Not now.” But she accepted the ring, my heart and my love. And so, on August 30th, 1999, at approximately six oh-five a.m., after a morning of tension and stress, we were finally in sync.
(Lauryn Hill’s version of Can’t take My Eyes Off of You, was and is our jam. We breathe in the words and the melody every time it plays. And every time we dance to it, we are in sync.)
Cantt Take my Eyes Off of You youtube link