Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pink Hats 25: Good Morning, Sunshine

Unlike many, when Bob received his membership card in the Newly-Divorced Club, he resisted diving head-first into the singles scene. Singles bars had never been his cup of anything, even when he was younger. He had opportunities to date and even Halley had offered to fix him up with a friend of hers who was a social worker and former Miss Maine. But by then, it was too late, he'd already met Jessie. After that morning in the Alfond coffee bar, there would never be anyone else. Not for him.

She had fallen asleep beside him on the couch in front of the fire, with Sam curled up next to her. Halley's comment about getting a room might have its appeal, but not tonight. This was an evening for romance. Besides, they'd already settled the other question. It was the Friday evening they'd watched Avatar when Jessie broached the subject.

"Do you know how attractive you are to me?" He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it, not certain how to answer. "I put my hand on your arm that day in Alfond because it seemed the most natural thing to do. It's...our chemistry. You could have taken me in your arms and swept me away and I'd have gone willingly."

He ran his fingers through her hair. "I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to do that since."

She smiled and said, "I know, me, too. But there's something else I want for us. I want to wait. Not because I enjoy waiting or because I have reservations -- I don't. It's ...if we were to marry, like we've talked about...I want that to be the most wonderful night of our lives. And with you, I've never felt like I had to hurry."

"I've been thinking the same thing. I know it's probably not what couples usually do and yet, I feel like it's right for us..."

After toasting their engagement with champagne and receiving congratulations from nearly every table at Twenty Milk, they gathered their coats and walked outside into the night air, his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist. There's just something about kissing the woman you love on a cold and snowy night, he thought, as they stopped at a corner and he kissed Jessie beneath a dimly shining antique street lamp and brushed flakes from her hair. He said he'd never seen her more beautiful.

They drove to her apartment, announced the news to Sam who responded by leaping onto his hind legs and licking both of them, then lit a fire and snuggled next to one another, sipping Grand Marnier from a pair of crystal snifters she'd inherited from her grandmother. A few moments later, she laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. He took the snifter from her hand before it nearly fell to the floor. She smiled in her sleep and softly murmured his name. We've been so easy, so 'natural,' like she said. Maybe John was right, maybe we were meant to be.
He thought about all those times he went home alone, having seen her at a residency seminar or following a quick, innocent lunch in the hospital cafeteria. That piece of it had been hard. There were occasions he nearly slammed on the brakes and turned his car around to race back for her. Those were the hardest. When they were finally free to spend time together, he imagined it would be impossible to keep his feelings under wraps any longer and allow their relationship to unfold on its own. It wasn't though, and instead, it felt to him like falling in love with her all over again.

He set down his snifter, stretched his long legs toward the fire, and drew her close. He hadn't intended to fall asleep but the next thing he knew, her face was next to his, and she was smiling at him. "Good morning, Sunshine. Sleep well?"

He noticed the light streaming in the windows, looked at his watch and back at her. "Like I haven't in years, if ever -- so much for our 'first night' together."

She stroked the ring on her finger and kissed him. "It's not going to be our last."

(Photo of winter sunrise on Sabego Lake, copyright 2011, by the author)

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