“I’ll pack the food,” she’d told Paul. She wanted everything to be just right. The place. The meal. The reflection in the lake. She smiled to herself when she realized this must be what men go through when they plan to propose. And really, wasn’t she planning a proposal of sorts? She was pregnant. She was pregnant and they had just graduated from college. What else would they do? She would tell him under the magnificent summer stars.
“Watch your step,” Paul said as they hiked up the canyon toward the spur to Diamond Lake, “these rocks are slick.” They’d come six miles, and had just another mile to go. But the scene didn’t match Amy’s vision. A light rain obscured the view of the mountains. And when they reached the river crossing, the water level was much higher than on their previous visit. Had it rained hard higher up? Paul stopped and surveyed the river from a streamside rock. The waist-deep water ran fast and loud, so Paul had to raise his voice.
“The current is too strong,” he shouted, “We need to go back.” It was obvious Paul was right. But Amy felt devastated. Would everything be different if she couldn’t tell him at Diamond Lake? She’d packed smoked salmon! Still, she nodded agreement and started to turn. Then, without thinking, she turned back to face Paul, who was still standing on a rock above the current.
“We’re going to have a baby,” she blurted.
“What…” Paul said, and instinctively took a step backward, like he needed more space to understand the words. But there wasn’t enough rock behind him. Paul’s right foot landed on the wet, sloped edge of the boulder and slipped off. He teetered on his left foot for a second while Amy watched in horror, then his weight passed the tipping point and he plunged into the current. “Paul!” Amy screamed.