The old man and the angel sit, silently, waiting for the sun to rise over the ocean. As the cloudless, indigo sky gives way to burning oranges and reds that spread across the horizon, the old man sighs and shakes his head.
“So beautiful…” he murmurs.
“It is,” the angel agrees, as it has done many times before.
The two turn at the sound of voices on the warm, summer breeze. A young man and a young woman stroll along the beach, holding hands and talking softly. They stop at the shoreline to watch the day dawn, arms around each other’s waists, gentle waves lapping at their feet.
“So, um, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you,” says the young man, and the old man isn’t sure if he’s actually hearing the quaver in the young man’s voice or merely remembering it.
As the young man kneels before the young woman, holding out a ring he’s pulled from his pocket, the young woman gasps, clapping a hand over her mouth.
The old man mouths the words as the young man speaks them:
“Mary Ellen Whiteley, I can’t imagine having the sun rise on another day without you in my life. Will you marry me?”
The light of the rising sun glimmers off of tears in the young woman’s eyes as she nods.
The old man isn’t sure whose hands tremble more as the young man places the ring on the young woman’s finger. He and the angel look away as the young couple kiss and hold one another, kiss some more and do other things besides.
Once the young couple has gathered themselves and returned the way they came, the angel places a hand on the old man’s arm.
“We really should be moving on,” it says.
“Just one more time. Please?”
After a moment, the angel smiles and nods. “One more time…”
It waves a hand, and then the old man and the angel sit, silently, waiting for the sun to rise over the ocean.