Jennifer met Brad at San Leandro High school in the Bay Area. She wasn’t allowed to date, but she was allowed to go to junior prom.
The next year Brad asked Jennifer to Senior Ball. It was in San Francisco, and afterward, they went to Pier 39 with everyone else in their limo. Brad had gotten blue contacts for the ball, but he lost one, so all night long, he had one blue eye and one green eye.
The two of them went their separate ways for school but both lived nearby. She went to Cal State Hayward, and he went to Chabot Junior College and then Kaiser to be an x-ray tech.
They’d been dating on and off for almost eight years when Brad invited Jennifer to their favorite place, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and pier.
Jennifer tried to get her little brother to join them that day. He kept saying no, and she didn’t understand.
Brad suggested they walk to the end of the pier. He was looking for the perfect spot to give her a ring (actually a loaner from her little brother). But someone had just been attacked by a Great White shark. Jennifer ran down to help. It turned out the surfboard got the worst of it, and the guy was shaken up but not bleeding.
Brad tried again. He led Jennifer up to where the sea lions hung out below the pier.
“It’s been wonderful getting to know you, Jennifer,” he said.
“What? What? What?” said the sea lions.
“I want to continue to spend time with you,” he said.
“What? What? What?” answered the sea lions.
“I want to grow old with you,” he continued.
“What? What? What?”
“What?” said Jennifer.
Then Brad pulled out the ring, and Jennifer flung her hands in the air, knocking the ring out of his hand. It fell onto the wood pier and missed going through a crack in the boards by inches.
“Yes!” she said while Brad got down on his knees to grab the ring.
The sea lions continued to question what was going on while people congratulated the newly-engaged couple.
Brad and Jennifer had a quick dinner at Fire Fish on the pier. They couldn’t wait to get back home to tell their families.
Couldda Wouldda Didda
It’s been twenty-four years, and Brad and Jennifer still love the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the sea lions, and each other.