I wasn't paying attention, within my own thoughts of the day, and I was thinking of what I would need to make shrimp Alfredo for supper that night, when someone stopped ahead of me and I maneuvered to the right--right into you.
Our eyes locked.
In that moment, I saw our future.
You casually smiled and apologized, despite it being my fault. Your hair wasn't past your ears, but you drew your fingers through your locks as if that would help keep it in place. You asked me if you could amend the bump with a coffee.
I said yes.
In a few months, we were set on doing our adventures together. Every Thursday was set aside for a homemade meal, which we alternated on making. You loved my Alfredo pasta best. And after the eating, we would lounge together on the couch, contemplating life. We swayed comfortably between conversation and utter silence. It was during one of these times that you asked me whether I would feel comfortable spending the weekend at your parents' place--they wanted you around to help with a quick installation of a new dishwasher, and to "hear about this new girl you've been seeing."
At your parent's place, I learned that you weren't as assertive as you were to me now. You were teased for being so tall in school, and clumsy beyond belief in sports, which I laughed at, considering you are on your company's baseball team. You also used to have a lot of girlfriends. I was mildly irritated until your father whispered that I was the first for you to bring home on his first request. We slept separate the first night, you on the couch while I was in your old bedroom among pictures of old high school friends and a poster of The Goonies. The second, you crept in and I woke up in your arms feeling at home.
It took months before we admitted we were in love. The urge to say it, to spew these words over your morning coffee and my morning tea, were smothered in fear of what we may actually have. It turned out to be the most undramatic moment when it was said: We had just gotten home from a long walk. You took pictures of some buildings while I spooked a few pigeons. We held hands and walked into a bakery to share a fruit tart. We came back home. I read a book while you uploaded your pictures. When we got into bed, you leaned over to turn out the light, then stopped and turned to me. "I love you," you said. "I love you, too," I replied. And you shut off the light, and we fell asleep to each other's breathing.
We moved into the same house after that, and we talked about marriage. You had to convince me that it wouldn't change any of my goals, that I could stay as independent as I was. You understood I wasn't a kept woman, but the idea of what was supposed to come after--children--made me too nervous to want to set any dates. And then you proposed to me, on a warm, slightly windy day, while we were taking a weekend vacation to a cabin in the woods. We were laying on a blanket, looking at the stars, and you were pointing out different constellations, telling me the stories of each one. When you told me to look at one, I realized you held a ring between your fingers, and it twinkled slightly against the light. When I looked at you, you smiled and said that nothing was more meant to be, us, and that if I wouldn't marry you, we'd still be together forever, just like now.
We had two kids, both of them girls. We debated a third, but after getting two dogs, we decided our family was big enough. They grew up too fast, and we regretted the small things that we thought would make them horrible adults, such as allowing them to watch television past their bedtime, and doing their laundry when they came home from college. They both got married, one to a man, the other to a woman. We were so happy, and had grandchildren on both sides.
We traveled the world, then. Greece, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal. Japan was fun, but I didn't like the crowds in the city. And we discovered ourselves again in New Zealand, where we renewed our vows.
I saw our future. Once. And when our eyes locked, your hand twitched, as if to move up to your hair. But then the crowd moved, and your eyes left mine to see your future. She waved at you, and you mumbled an apology before stepping aside to greet her.
And I walked away.
But it was good.