Bewitched. Bewitching. Sublime. They are the first words that came to mind after I saw the lady in the photo. Long dark hair, slightly curly, deep-set dark eyes like the night. Cupid lips. All in black and white. Even without color, I fell in love immediately and knew I would recognize her anywhere.
The photo was in my mother’s photo album from way back when, but it didn’t matter. I was in love. I knew the odds of ever meeting her were astronomical but that didn’t stop me from feeling what I felt. She was smiling ever so slightly, reminiscent of the Mona Lisa and I felt she must belong to someone else. But I longed to make her mine.
Love at my age now was a non sequitar. I had been married, but now she was gone and my life was celebate and I had no problem with that because my Eleanor had been my life before she died and continued to be my life even in her absence. There had been brief flirtations, but I could never bring myself to follow through on any of them. Nice enough ladies, just not for me, not now, not ever.
My life now was quiet. No fuss, no muss. Retirement was okay. I had done my time before that and I was content. Not overly happy, but content just the same. I had become somewhat of a hermit, a recluse if you will. My neighbors rarely saw me. The only people I had serious relationships with were the ones who worked in the nearby grocery store (who had known me before I had become a widower) and the ones who worked in the drugstore where I went for all my senior citizen medical requirements. Maybe I might force myself to go to the mall, to buy a new pair of shoes when the ones I had broken in so well finally bit the dust or for a new shirt or a pair of trousers because parts of them had become thread bare.
And so, I expected nothing and nothing was what I found. And then, it happened. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I did have to go out every so often to gas up the car and take it in for its required maintenance to keep it under warranty. But the car went nearly nowhere. A full tank lasted nearly two weeks. My mileage was so low even the dealership remained in awe. My car was as new as the day I bought it.
But I digress. Yes, then it happened.
I was at the gas station filling up for my bi-weekly dose, when a car pulled in facing mine. The woman got out of her car and seemed unsure if she had come close enough to the pump. She had pulled in so fast I think she thought that she had perhaps offended me. I looked up at her and then I saw them, those eyes. I would have known them anywhere. She smiled at me and I almost melted into a pool of water right there. I smiled back, wanting to say something, but the words wouldn’t come. All I could do was continue to smile.
When she finished, she backed out and drove away. I finished and also drove away. I knew I had found her, the lady in the photo. But I let her slip through my fingers, content just to have seen her in person.