As I recall the day that changed my life, I can’t help the tears of joy as they stream down my cheeks. The Coffee Station is where it all started with me arriving for my second shift as a waitress, I walked to the back greeted by my regulars Mr. Thomas and Mr. Dudley. Both widowed old men whose lives seemed to revolve around their daily meeting there, and me to reciting their usual two black coffee’s, one cheese danish, one slice of apple pie. They got a kick out of it every time, I think I got a kick out of how amused they were at it. As I removed my knee length pea coat, striped scarf and glove set, I noticed how cold it really was outside. I had heard all about the weather in Chicago, but my mind could have never prepared me for a winter here. Somehow the grey skies and cold brisk air brought me comfort, which I could credit to being a winter baby. As I enter the front end to get ready to serve Mr. Thomas and Mr. Dudley, I noticed him and he noticed me. At that moment I felt like I was drawn in by his dark smooth skin, perfect white teeth as he smiled at Toni his waitress and my good friend. All I had noticed in the two minutes stare I could have easily been recruited by the FBI. There was something about him that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Was it his freshly cut hair with the perfect shape up? Or his muscular jaw bone that defined his face so well he could have easily been plastered on the pages of my favorite fashion magazine. As Toni walked towards the back of the shop I followed on her heels like a hot pursuit chase.
“How come you always end up with the gorgeous customers huh”? I joked with her
“What? Girl I said nothing when 1 year ago you snatched up the duo Mr. Thomas and Mr. Dudley, how much more gorgeous can you get”?
I looked at her with a straight face to show I did not appreciate the humor. I admired how she herself kept a straight face also.
“Really, that guy is fine” I said
“That he is” she replied , “Seems like someone is interested”
“It’s just a compliment, don’t get any ideas” I said
“Well if I were single, honey I would be laying across the table as his entre”
We both laughed and headed back out.
As I tried to act as normal as I could while having small talk with my two regulars, I couldn’t help but keep a shot’s view of this mystery man. Again I thought, it’s something about him that is equivalent to magnet and metal that was drawing me to him. It wasn’t just his looks, I had witnessed some fine men in my day, but was something I couldn’t define, something that makes me feel foolish almost. As Toni walked over to him, and they began conversing and looking in my direction I couldn’t help but wonder in how many ways I would kill her later for selling me out. She walked away and I refilled the drinks at two of my tables and decided to check on my two favorites at the bar. Nothing could have compared me for what happened next. He stood to leave. First placing money for the check on the table and followed by a tip. I knew I had once again let my imagination get the best of me. In a matter of minutes I had decided that we were meant to be together and I was now brought back to reality. As he headed for the direction of the door, he made an unexpected turn towards the direction I happened to be in, which also was the way to the bathroom. As he walked toward me and the bathroom, our eyes locked and I glanced over the red Ralph Lauren collar shirt that complimented his dark skin too well. Then something else happened; he sat right in front of me on a stool, next to my two favorites. My chest tightened and I felt like my mouth had been open for hours judging by the sudden feel of complete dryness once I closed it. He smiled, I smiled. As normal as I tried to act it was no use, I had been catapulted straight up in the air and landed on cloud nine.
“Hello” he spoke, his voice as manly and perfect as I had imagined.
“Hi” I manage to let escape form my mouth as I tried to nonchalantly wipe the counter down
“How can I help you”?
“Well you could start by telling me your name” he answered. I had definitely reached cloud ten by then. And as my two favorites tried to act as if they weren’t listening, I responded “Farrah”.
“You look like a Farrah” he said
“And what does a Farrah look like”?
“Beautiful” he answered
My insides melted right there on the spot, and as far as I was concerned I was his. It wasn’t the things he said but the way they made me feel. They felt like, the truth, which is very rare with men nowadays. He was so genuine.
“Thanks” I replied as I tried to gather my thoughts on what to say next.
“Not much fair for you to know my name and not tell me yours”
“It’s Ethan” he said
“Well nice to meet you Ethan”
“The pleasure is all mine, I sat over there admiring you long enough until I had the courage to come and say hello”
Now this was getting serious, I don’t know how much more of this I could take before I burst into a million pieces.
“That’s nice of you” I said through a nervous laugh.
“ I have a question for you” he said “and I’d like you to answer as honestly as possible”
My mind raced and wondered what he was going to ask me, but something in me calmed and a sense of peace overcame me.
So I answered “ok”
“Do you feel what I’m feeling inside?” He asked
I was silent. He couldn’t be referring to the butterflies that went about fluttering in my stomach. Or the short loss of breath I had experienced earlier and let’s not forget the medal and magnet. This type of thing just wasn’t normal. He would think I was crazy if I admitted these things to him. But then that same peace overcame me again, and I trusted him also I trusted to tell the truth. That it was okay, as strange as that may sound.
“Maybe” I responded
“So you do feel that it’s more than a physical attraction, like I could be the one or that feeling of peace that would help you freely give your heart to me with total trust”?
This just does not happen. What is going on? Am I dreaming? I closed my eyes briefly as if I would blink and he would be gone. Nope, when I opened them those brown eyes resting under perfectly shaped eyebrows was still there staring at me anticipating an answer.
“This is crazy, I don’t know how to answer that”. This isn’t normal I know nothing about you and you know nothing about me”. I said
“I completely understand and agree with that, but my heart tells me otherwise” “I would like to get to know you the conventional way, even though I feel like everything I need to know about you I already do”.
I had been having a conversation with him for all of 10 minutes and it felt like 10 hours. Totally disregarding that I was at work, in an apron, my curly mane hanging to my shoulders and minimal makeup. Yet still I was okay, and obviously he liked it.
I had forgotten about my tables and even my two favorites who seemed to be anticipating my response right along with him. I felt like time had stood still, and it was just the two of us as his eyes gave me a sincere but confident stare. Had I experienced only what I had seen in movies, what only a handful of people can say they had encountered, was it love at first sight?
“So where do we go from here”? I asked
“How about we start with exchanging numbers” he said
I scribbled my number down on my note pad used for taking orders, shocking myself at how quickly I responded. I ripped the page from my note pad and handed it to him.
“May I”? He asked, referring to my note pad and pen. I gave both to him more willing than he knows. He wrote his down and handed them back to me.
“So when can I expect to hear from you Ethan”? I asked, and regretted thinking I sounded to needy and anxious.
“Sooner than you think Farrah” “Maybe we can meet up for dinner later”? he asked
“Sounds good to me”
“Well I’ve taken up enough of your time at work, maybe I should get going, so I’ll see you later”?
No. Don’t go is what I was thinking but gave the obvious response “Sure can’t wait”.
And not before giving one last smile while a flashing those pearly whites, he was out the door.
“Looks like you got yourself a winner on your hands there young lady” said Mr. Thomas
“I would say so too” said Mr. Dudley
And they both laughed as if it were the funniest thing in the world. I smiled trying to hide the excitement.
“He’s alright” I replied and walked to the back.
I had to process what had just happened. I think I met the man of my dreams; it all seemed too good to be true though. I was not acting in some romance film and I certainly wasn’t one of the lucky ones considering my past relationships. Maybe I was overthinking things. No, because he said he felt the same way didn’t he? My mind was racing again as I put the lid down on the toilet and sat. Whatever he had done to me in that short time I hope I had done the same to him. Judging by the feeling inside and as much as I wanted it to go away, I had to admit it felt good, like I had known him for years, like he had known me also, it felt a lot like, love…….
That was 10 years ago and now me and Ethan are happily married. We did meet up that night for dinner and from there we just knew. We knew that what we felt was something that neither one of us had experienced before, we knew that after meeting it was no way we could let each other go. We knew that, that day in the coffee shop was set aside and arranged before we had entered the world. If someone had told me this story I would have thought they were crazy. I never believed in love at first sight, until I had the chance to experience it. I now realize why my relationships in the past never worked, because the man that I love and would love me the same had not yet arrived. I thank God everyday as I wake up to make his breakfast and get the kids off to school, for the love he has placed in my life. Only love so perfect could come from a perfect God.