A man is walking down a path in the park; maybe in his mid 30’s, about oh….6 foot, 6 foot 1, ordinary build; black hair, brown eyes.
The ordinary man sees the woman sitting on a bench looking at her cell phone and slows his pace, changing the direction of his steps to take him across a short patch of grass to the bench that sat under a red and golden tree.
She looks up from her phone as he reaches the bench and sits beside her. He makes a “Brrr” sound and mocks a shiver.
The woman is ordinary, too; in a sense.
According to the standards of modern fashion and public opinion, she is unremarkable in any extreme.
She has shoulder length chestnut hair; she’s about oh, 5 foot 6, 5 foot 7 when she stands in the sun. She would tell you that the sun makes her fat,makes her feet bigger and shrinks her ass….LOL!
Then, she would toss her hair and give a giggle that always comes with a small snort.
But now, the two ordinary people sit in silence on the cold bench; watching the world walk by.
The unremarkable woman turns to the man and looks at him.
The ordinary man stares ahead, like men do.
He senses that she is looking at him but, like men do, he doesn’t look at her.
[Life noises, street sounds, tree stirring in the wind over their heads]
She pushes some wayward hair behind her ear and waits for him, waiting to see why he sounded so urgent earlier when he had called her.
He watches the people walking by, his hands jammed into the pockets of his coat.
She looks at his hair stirring in the cool breeze.
He leans back against the bench and slowly turns his head to the woman.
She thinks he looks worried about something; and like women do, unremarkable or not, she asks him;
[Deep, anxious breath from man]
“I think I’m in love with you” he says; still not looking at her.
The ordinary man looks at her, not saying anything.
“Oh no” she said.
“There goes that 5 bucks” she thought to herself. She had bet her roommate that he was going to cool their relationship.
He turns his head back to continue watching the passing people.
“I know…” he whispers
“Are you sure?” she asks him.
The man takes a hand from his coat pocket and passes it over his mouth as if though brushing way the after taste of the words that he had just uttered.
She asked “What caused this all of a sudden?”
“I really don’t know” he said “When I woke up this morning my first thought was of you; what were you doing, where were you?” he said, looking at her again “That’s never happened to me before”
The man put his hand back in his pocket and looked at her again; his eyes were wide and he looked as if though he was in awe of what he had just said; not quite believing what he had just said.
The unremarkable woman didn’t know what to say to this.
She looks down at her feet, re-crosses them and distractedly brushes at a piece of sunlight that shivers on her knee.
“I don’t know what you’re supposed to do” he says. “I only know that I don’t care about me anymore, I only care that I can look at you whenever I want”
He looks away again and says “Really….I’m kinda scared”
The woman didn’t know what she was supposed to do next, or what was expected to do. What was the protocol for admission’s of love?
She stared at the little sunbeam shimmering on her hand now.
Love was supposed to be important, wasn’t it?
She knew what love was, she had seen it amongst other people; you can’t go thru life without bumping into some kind of love every now and again.
She was more than aware that she felt….something for the man…but was it love? She couldn’t explain it…
Didn’t everyone want love?
She’d never really thought about it that much. I mean, she thought about it during movies or when she looked at chocolate in shop windows but, her life was a rush of tasks and goals, she just hadn’t thought of love that much; not this way.
She caught her breath as the thought whipped thru her mind….
“Oh my God…..everything in my life just changed. I won’t be the same person anymore”
The woman stole a glance at the man from the corner of her eye and saw that he was staring at his feet now; a lost look on his face….
She didn’t know if she should be pissed or sympathetic towards the man.
Evidently, he was struggling with what he was saying; he definitely seemed like he was….what was the word?…..confused, uneasy…..terrified?
She said “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do”
The man looked at her “Me either” he said. “But….I have to do something”
The woman looked at the man; he returned her gaze for a second or two, then looked down at his hands.
“What do you mean, you HAVE to do something” she asked.
“I DON’T KNOW!” he shouted at her, his hands jerking up into the pose of exasperation and plea.
She leaned back from the outburst, a look of consternation flashing across her face
The ordinary man grasped her hands, his grip hurting her.
“I don’t know what to do; I don’t know what to say. I don’t know whether to shit or get off the pot, I don’t know if I’m supposed to shout or cry; I don’t know if I’m supposed to burst into a cloud of butterflies or lay down and die…I don’t know WHAT IN THE HELL I’M DOING!!!”
The woman had freed one of her hands from his and was now covering her mouth, looking at him with amazement.
She had never really witnessed anyone really freaking out before.
It was funny as hell and she couldn’t stop herself…
She began to giggle and snort behind her hand, which only made it sound worse.
The man just stared at her, dumbstruck.
She looked at him thru tears of hilarity….His hair was tossed, his eyes were wild and he looked like….like Dr. Frankenstein in that one movie….
“OMG…..” she howled with laughter!
The man blinked dumbly, not quite processing why she was laughing and snorting at such a time.
Then….he started paying attention to her snorts…..
The man’s eyes softened and his face cracked into a grin.
He began to laugh and count her snorts out loud as she shrieked with laughter.
This made her giggle even harder and snort louder thru her hands that were over her face now; muffling her chortles and exacerbating them beyond comprehension.
The ordinary man pulled her hands from her face; the giggles and snorts popped out louder.
Thru his own laughs, he looked at the crazy woman and said “I don’t know what to do! I only know that I’m in love with you and I had to tell you!”
The giggles and snorts faded.
The unremarkable woman pulled the man’s hands to her lips, kissing each finger; back and forth.
He stared at her.
She looked back at the man, the look of glee still glistening in her eyes.
She whispered from behind his fingers that she still had pressed against her lips “I just realized something”
“What?” the man said.
“What I feel….” She said, kissing his fingers again…..
The shivering sunbeam danced across their faces as they kissed.
Love can’t be explained in its purest, newest form.
True love doesn’t have to be “worked” at.
The bench is empty now.
The ordinary man and the unremarkable woman walked slowly down the path; hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder.
The red and golden leaves of the tree stirred in the breeze.
The dancing sunbeam crossed back and forth over the leaf, turning it red or golden; depending on how you looked at it.
The two people stopped and looked at each other.
The breeze stirred the woman’s hair.
The man brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“So, if you can’t say ‘love’” the man asked “How do you explain this?”
“Need” she said.
The man kept his gaze on her eyes then slightly looked away; back towards the bench.
He considered, then looked at her again and said “I’m pretty sure I’ll be needing you forever”
She smiled up at him and said “I’ll be needing you more I’m afraid.”