We turned onto South Congress and Cayden and I craned our necks to look at the dreadlocked pedestrians and into the windows of the funky shops.
"I am so not hipster enough to be here," I said as I looked down at my tank top and jean shorts. "Good thing I wore my Toms."
We looked down and realized all four of us were wearing Toms. There was a very small chance we wouldn't look like tourists. If Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was the hipster capital of the world, Austin was the hipster capital of the country.
We turned right and then took a quick left, as directed by our GPS. We drove past adorable little houses on our left and what looked like an elementary school on our right.
We pulled into the driveway of the house second from the corner and met Dale, the homeowner, in the driveway. He'd been emailing us all week, giving us restaurant recommendations and telling us where to go to see the bats fly out from under the bridge. His emails were so in-depth, I had to read them in spurts to give my eyes a break. In person, Dale was just as odd as he was via email, but lucky for us, less in-depth.
"This is the compost, so you have to put all of your leftover food here," he said, pointing at a plastic container in the freezer. "We recycle everything if you haven't noticed."
I cringed at the sight of the black banana peel and shriveled strawberries. I was definitely not hipster enough.
"And here's a guide for restaurants and activities in the area, complete with my reviews." The packet was stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet clip. The bold Comic Sans font made my eye twitch.
"Thank you so much for letting us stay here," I said. "It really is a beautiful house. Not to mention, a perfect location."
Dale nodded and insisted that we call if we needed anything. Joyce and Joey went to check out the backyard and to let Axle go to the bathroom. Cayden and I saw that as our chance to test out all the beds and pick our favorite one. The bed in the front corner bedroom had a beautiful maroon bedspread and large windows on two sides. We dove onto the bed face first.
"Too stiff," I said.
"Too small," Cayden said.
We pulled ourselves up off the bed and ran through the hallway to the next bedroom. The room looked small until we realized the bed was actually huge. We flopped down on our backs and settled in.
"Now this is nice," I said, before rolling over to the far right. Cayden rolled to the far left and we reached our hands across to meet in the middle. The bed was big enough for us to roll around without bumping into each other.
"Jackpot," I said. Cayden pulled me up off the bed.
"We have one more bed to check."
We ran and dove onto bed number three, in the largest bedroom lined with windows. We heard a creak and a slight snap as we landed. Panicked, we carefully rolled off and sprinted back to bed number two before Joyce and Joey came back in. We giggled into the pillows as we heard Joyce and Joey come in and plop down on bed number three.
We started unpacking and started with the necessities:
Then we headed to the grocery store to cash in the savings in our Curious George piggy bank to buy beer, snacks and dinner for the next night. We filled our cart with Bud Light, chips, ribs, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, cookies and a red velvet roll. You would have though we'd smoked out in the car. We were also the only ones who weren't shopping in the organic food section.
"Are you guys here yet?" It was a text message from my good friend Mitch. We'd gone to school together at OU and we'd worked together in the Student Media department. He was the most talented graphic designer I'd ever met, and although he was a year younger than me, I looked up to him as a friend and a colleague. He lived in Austin and he'd recently proposed to his girlfriend, Vanessa. I couldn't wait to hear the whole story in person. We talked about our relationships a lot, so I was excited he'd finally get to meet Cayden.
"On our way back to the house! Come over!" I texted him the address.
Later that night, at Home Slice Pizza, Mitch told us the whole story.
"Well, it was her birthday and we planned a weekend away in the Hill Country. We were going to visit some vineyards," he said. The four of us were gathered around him on the back patio with pitchers of beer as we waited for a table. I'd already heard the story via Facebook Chat, but I was getting goosebumps hearing it again. "She'd been saying she wanted these headphones, and I'm always terrible at keeping a secret, so I let her think that's what I was giving her. So we were at this vineyard, outside on a patio when I handed her a box. I made sure it was a big box so she'd think it was headphones. I had to put a bottle of olive oil in there to weigh it down. So when she opened what she thought was headphones and found olive oil, she was stumped. Then there was a smaller box in that box. She opened that one and there was a tiny envelope in that box..."
The anticipation was killing me, even though I knew how it ended.
"She opened up the envelope and it said, 'look up.' Then I was standing there with the ring."
Tears welled up on my bottom eyelid. I knew if I blinked I'd be in trouble.
"She cried," he said. "And then she said yes."