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“Love is composed of one soul inhabiting two bodies. “ -Aristotle
Looking into his eyes was like looking at myself in the mirror. Except he was everything that was good about me. I thought he was beautiful. There were times when I questioned my beauty. I had been told my whole life how beautiful I was. But when you’ve gone your entire life falling for guys who never thought you were good enough, you wonder if people are just saying things to be nice. You wonder if they saw something deeper.
I knew that I had a beautiful heart, but it’s impossible to make someone fall in love with your heart when they aren’t attracted to the owner.
It was like he saw my heart through my eyes. I didn’t have to tell him who I was because he knew. The more time we spent getting to know each other, the more we realized how much we had in common. Like that one time I smashed my finger in my car door and had to cut off my ring that I always wore. Then there was the time when he broke his finger and his wedding band was stuck. Same hand, same finger, different bodies. Then there was the fact that cold weather made both of our right ankles hurt, due to a similar injury years ago.
I remember growing up and feeling upset. Not really knowing why, I would pray for my future husband. Because if I came from him, I was bound to feel his pain. So if I was emotionally upset for no reason, he had to be going through something in that very moment. If there was a pain in my chest, I assumed his heart was hurting. So I would anoint my chest with healing oil because I needed him to be okay for me. If I was unable to physically take care of him, I needed to be able to do it spiritually. God heard more prayers about him than myself for a while.
Fast forward about ten years and there I was falling in love with a man who seemed to have gone through life wondering about me. He knew that he was missing something, but he had no idea what it was.
“You’re beautiful, Rack.”
“No one’s ever called me beautiful before.”
“You’re how I expect royalty to look. Everything about you, from your facial structure, to the way your eyes wander when you’re in deep thought.”
“Let me take you somewhere.”
“It’s a surprise. Do you trust me?”
“Meet me in the parking lot of the place where we first met? Tonight at 7.”
“I’ll be there. What should I wear?”
“Wear something that makes you feel beautiful.”
I knew exactly what to choose. I knew that he would love it. But most of all it made me feel gorgeous. I bought the dress a few years prior. I had gained a few pounds since, but it still fit just right. There was a time where I loved to wear sundresses, but that time had passed. The extra weight had caused me to push all of my dresses to the back of the closet. I barely wanted to see myself in a dress, so I was sure that no one else wanted to see it either. But when Rack told me to wear something that made me feel beautiful, I chose the only thing that I knew would bring back the old me, the Sheila that could turn the head of every guy in the room.
I was there about thirty minutes early, and he was already there. I was early to everything. I would much rather drive normally and get somewhere early than to rush and be late.
“Rack, you’re early!”
“So are you. Ready to go?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Don’t be nervous. It’ll be fun.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
He drove for about twenty minutes before we made it to our destination.
“I’ve always wanted to take someone here. I’m happy that you said yes.”
“Anywhere with you, was fine with me. You could’ve invited me to church and I would’ve been happy to go.”
“Speaking of church, how often do you attend?”
“Every week. My church family is really close. We’re really more like friends than anything.”
“I think that’s cool. I grew up in church. But let’s finish this conversation in a few. Follow me?”
We got out of the car and he led me to this lit grassy area near the parking lot, under a tree. I wasn’t sure where we were but it was beautiful. You could see the stars in the sky and there was no one around. The typical person would be afraid. But I knew that he wouldn’t let anything happen to me.
The sun had set and the moon was full. There was a blanket laying under the tree with a basket. There was a tea candle on top of the basket. The wind was still tonight, so there was no chance of it blowing out the flame.
“I’ve never been on a picnic.”
“I figured, if we had no distractions, we could get to know each other a little better. I know that our usual hangout spots aren’t really conversation friendly.”
“You’re right. But I enjoy being in your presence more than you know. I think I’ve grown to know you pretty well, my idea of you at least.”
“Tell me something. What do you see when you look at me?”
“Well, I noticed you from afar. You seemed quiet. I imagine that you grew up in a loving household with siblings. But I also imagine you being the quiet one. You look like you used to play sports, maybe football. I think you’re smart and have a knack for learning new things. It seems like you’re good with your hands.”
I grabbed his hands with mine,
“They’re rough. So, I’m sure that you’re no stranger to hard work. Your eyes are gentle. I think you have a lot of love inside. You give the best hugs. But I feel like you don’t get them enough.”
“So, you’re just going to read me like an open book huh?”
“Your eyes tell me more than you probably want me to know.”
“I’d tell you everything about me if you asked.”
“An open book.”
For the next hour, we ate shrimp alfredo, baked salmon, and strawberry cheesecake, courtesy of Chef Rack. I had no idea that he could cook, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was stuffed and I hadn’t laughed so much in my entire life.
“I hope you enjoyed yourself.”
“That would be an understatement. This is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. I don’t usually leave the house much.”
“Well I’m glad you did, or else, you would’ve never met me.”
“That would have been a great injustice.”
“I spent a lot of years wondering when I would meet someone who would mean the world to me. But I knew that if I didn’t get out, I’d never meet him unless of course he was a pizza delivery guy or the mailman.”
“That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard. Well I’m glad that you knew you deserved much more than that.”
“I’m glad I did too. I think this is the start of something beautiful.”
“Something beautiful indeed.”
He drove me back to my car and for the first time, I wished that he didn’t have to leave. The closer that we got to my car, the more I wished he would keep driving, to somewhere far away, that we could be together. Before I finished that thought, we had made it.
“Text me when you make it home?”
“You can count on it.”
“Thank you for tonight. I had an amazing time.”
“Anything for you, Sheila.”
I hugged him and he kissed me on my forehead. It was the warmest, most gentle kiss.
The drive home was quiet, but loud. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and honestly, I didn’t want to. Thoughts of him were bound to turn into sweet dreams. As I walked into the house, I made sure to shoot him a text.
I was convinced that if nights ended with dreams of him, waking up without him may not be so hard.