My father returned home earlier than normal, and to my surprise, Joseph was the guest my mother had mentioned. I was very embarrassed because I had been so busy all day that I didn't have any idea what I looked like. I looked at my mother, pleading with my eyes. She understood and handed me a bucket.
"Mary, we need water. Would you mind?"
Smiling my thanks I headed for the well. My reflection in the water was clear and I went to work combing my hair with my fingers. I drew some water with which I washed my face, then lowed the bucket once more.
Dinner stretched for an eternity. Finally my mother sent Heidi outside with all the children. It was only my parents, Joseph, and me left in the house. After a moment's awkward silence my father cleared his throat.
"Mary, Joseph has requested the chance to speak with you."
My heart skilled a beat and I felt myself blush. As Joseph began to speak I recall that I'd never seen him so nervous.
"As you know, I've just completed my apprenticeship and Hezekiah has accepted me as a partner. Mary, you are a beautiful woman of God and I want to marry you."
I said nothing. What could I say? The moment you realize that the thing you've thought and dreamed about has actually happened, all words escape you. Sure, it wasn't quite the romantic marriage proposal I'd imagined, but I didn't care. I finally managed to smile and say something.
"Joseph... wow!" Taking a deep breath I tried to continue, "I would be honored to marry you."
I wasn't sure if that sounded right. Like, is that what you are supposed to say? I was afraid it sounded dumb. But then, did it really matter? I mean, if he wanted to marry me he probably loved me and if he loved me he probably wouldn't think I was too dumb.
I don't remember what happened next. It's all a blur of happiness now. I remember him kissing my hand before he left. But I don't know how much time lapsed before he left. 5 minutes? An hour? I really don't know. But I was floating in the clouds that night. I know I didn't really sleep. Overwhelming happiness is one of those things that you cannot describe, but when you experience it, you know. It's beautiful.