She looks up at the man sitting across the restaurant from her and notices he is vigorously working a pencil across a page in what appears to be a sketch book. She is oddly intrigued because he seems to be looking up at her periodically, and when he notices her looking back, he quickly blushes and his head quickly drops down and he continues working. A few times he thought he was concealing his glances by looking up through his eye lashes and letting his gaze linger longer. She can see his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth like a child concentrating on a monumental task, and she laughs uproariously, pretending as though she had read something funny on her phone so that he isn’t discouraged.
He continues like this for almost ten minutes, playing his game of furtive glances and bashful retreats, when finally he tears the page from what she realizes is actually a lined notepad, and he folds it and scribbles what must be words on the front.
He stands slowly, seemingly pacing himself, carefully smoothing his clothes then leans down to gather his coat and umbrella. She raised an eye brow at that, it hadn’t rained in a week, nor was there any in the forecast.
He slowly walks over, the strength of his will alone helping him maintain an eye contact that didn’t intimidate, and an easy lopsided smile spread across his lips as he approaches her table.
Silently, he places the folded paper in front of her, inclines his head towards it, then steps back, and waits patiently for her to read.
She looks down and reads the cover of the impromptu card:
“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I simply HAD to draw you —>”
She looks up at the man before her the flush in her cheeks blossoming as she smiles, wide eyed and practiced.
He inclines his head forward again, urging her to open it, the lopsided smile turning into a grin as the affection beams from his eyes, momentarily losing his composure.
As she opens the page her voice peals with laughter and fills the restaurant.
On the left side of the page is the most horribly drawn female stick figure she had ever seen. She was sitting at a crookedly rendered chair and table, and appeared to have snakes for hair and laser beams shooting from her eyes, presumably cooking her meal. Her laughter continues to draw stares from around the restaurant, but she doesn’t care and the tears roll, unbidden, down her face.
She focuses her attention on the note on the right side of the fold in the page:
“Unfortunately, I’m a writer and not an artist. If you come take a walk with me in the rain so that I may regale you with tales of my youth, I promise that for the first year that we are together, I will write you a love poem every week. Every year we are together, on our anniversary, we will reenact how we met, so that we never forget the day our lives collided magically from across this crowded restaurant..
…This is the part where you look up at me. ”
He is beaming down at her, his eyes shining, his left hand extended, willing magnetism to come into being in her right hand, drawing it to his.
“I love you, my sunshine.”
“I love you too, my sweet oaf.”
She takes his hand and simultaneously grabs her coat as he pulls her up gently and they waked hand in hand into the bright moonlit night and turn right to walk towards their car half a block away.
“What’s with the umbrella?” She asks.
Knowing her as well as he did after 10 years, he had foreseen her inquisitiveness and had even banked on it. With a sharp whistle, from his tongue to the roof of his mouth, she begins to feel light droplets on the back of her neck and laughs.
Suddenly from behind them she hears a raucous shout.
“HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!”
She turns quickly, knowing the voices instantly, her heart leaps in her throat and tears well, yet again, in her eyes. Behind them, their teenage boys are each sporting monstrous water guns, shooting them skyward in their parent’s general direction.
She turns to look at her husband, her hand to her mouth, containing the cry of joy struggling to escape her lips.
“I know that I’m only supposed to add one new detail every year, but 10 years is a big one and I figured it was time to include them in on the secret too. Now let’s get walking towards our car, the boys seem to be enjoying themselves a little too much.”
With a swift and almost debonair motion, he simultaneously opens the over-sized umbrella while placing it protectively over their heads. She draws herself close to him, as his arm holds her tightly against him, and they begin walking down the street, moving slowly, like the closing credits of a movie. The boys follow, their water guns aimed mostly skyward, and sometimes at each other.
This is the story they told their friends and family.
They had actually met on the Internet, but how boring was that?