“How did I get here?” he wondered. Not in the middle of the street. He knew how he’d gotten there. That wasn’t anything that required thought. New Yorkers and cars shared some sort of symbiotic experience. Pedestrians thought they were cars, and cars thought they were pedestrians. They fed off each other’s energy causing them to rush towards their destinations that much more hurriedly. No. What he wondered was how he had finally gotten to this place in time. The place where he was certain about whom he wanted to share the rest of his life.
She watched him intently from the front of the restaurant. “If you get hit, I’m going to hurt you!” she exclaimed, shaking her head with a broad smile. Her voice was just loud enough from the curb to travel over the honking horns. He laughed.
As he patiently waited for the cars in front of him to pass, he continued to contemplate this moment. She was beautiful. Not the type of beauty that is threatened by time. It was internal. The type of beauty that made him wonder where she’d been all his life.
“Hey, you know me. I’m Superman! I got my cape on under this suit.” They shared a laugh. He was 43 years old. But that didn’t matter. What mattered to him was that he was 43 years old and still found someone who could cause him to feel this way. She was someone who could easily cause him to walk into traffic, because he couldn’t wait to reach the sidewalk.
He glanced up at a building as it played peek-a-boo with the sun. It was a hazy, summer day. The sporadic breeze made it just right for al fresco dining. It was their favorite restaurant. It was where they met, unplanned, through mutual friends. He took a deep breath of the smoggy air and felt alive. It was perfect.
He reached the curb, and they embraced. He held her like it was the first time and the last time. The setting sun increased the volume of the city’s chatter. Its fuss and bustle. He became aware of the people and yet oblivious. Today was the day he was going to ask this woman to marry him. He continued his smile. As he prepared to release his squeeze, he sighed and thought to himself, “At last.”