I've needed this sign more than a few times in my life...

When last we left Lorna, she was being swept off her feet and into treacherous waters…

The water was icy. On the river, I felt the breeze but the current was manageable. Then the river opened up into the broad lake.  Brian kept paddling, assuring me that the view would be stunning “just a little further out.”  With each stroke of the paddle, the canoe bobbled a bit more as the breeze became a blustery wind and the manageable current became unwieldy swells, which eventually became white-caps splashing into the canoe.

Brian was absolutely right about one thing: the view was stunning.  My brief life passing before my eyes was the most stunning thing I’d seen in a long time.

We moved from sitting on the benches of the canoe to kneeling on the floor of the yellow death trap for maximum stability because the waves were tossing us about so ferociously. Mr. Olympic Caliber Canoeist was calm; he kept paddling out even farther into the open lake, assuring me of his nautical prowess.  Dubious of Captain Canoe and trapped, I decided to believe in God and began praying.

When we were far enough out for me to be totally panic-stricken, he finally stopped paddling. Waves crashed into the side of the canoe.  I was a vision of loveliness.  My fingers were claws, digging into the edges of the boat, when they were not cupped in a crazed but futile attempt to bail water splashing into the canoe.  My hair was rigidly askew from the spray of icy water. My hysterical eyes were looking up to the heavens (for an angel or a Coast Guard helicopter to rescue me) then down at the floor of the swamped yellow piece of shit canoe that was very likely to be my sarcophagus.

Precious land seemed impossibly far away.  How could this be happening to me? The news
occasionally ran stories about imbeciles whose cause of death was stupidity.  I was going to be the next imbecile news story because I couldn’t say “no” to a madman and hold my ground.

As I was composing my obituary, Brian’s voice broke through the din of wind and waves. “Lorna, it seems like you’ve been drifting away from me.  I don’t want to lose you.  Will you marry me?”

Marry him?

It would have been a match made in…oh, I don’t even want to think about it!

The “until death do us part” part was all too real, but the rest was unthinkable.  The only chance we had of spending eternity together was at the bottom of this lake.

If I ever made it back to shore, I never wanted to see Brian and his ugly yellow canoe again.  But I had a pretty serious dilemma facing me. “Yes” = safety: he wouldn’t drown his fiancée, would he?  “No” = possible death: but drowning seemed preferable to becoming Mrs. Pompous Ass.

I was his proposal hostage: stunned, panicky, mortified, cold, desperate, ashamed, and wondering who would take care of my dog after I drowned.  A bit of awkward silence passed between us as I processed my options.

Finally, I yelled back, “Brian, this is a big decision. I need time to think it over.”  Genius! I knew my answer, but I wasn’t telling him until I was on dry land.

“How much time?” He bellowed back.

I shouted back, “A couple of days?”

With a self-satisfied nod and smile as broad as his ego, he accepted my answer.  He turned the canoe around (or maybe it was the white-cap that broad sided us) and we made our way precariously back to shore.

A couple of days later, as promised, I gave Brian my answer to his unorthodox hostage proposal: “No.”

“You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,” he said.

“That ship,“ I said, “has already sailed.”