It happened quite by chance. He was sitting outside at his favorite cafe while enjoying the autumn air. A breeze picked up and a laugh across the road caught his attention. He looked over and saw her. She was talking to the lady who runs the bakery and could tell she was not from here. He waited for her to walk away before he crossed the street to ask his friend, the baker, about the woman.
Before too long he had charmed the baker and found out the woman was staying a few months while studying abroad. Something about her intrigued him but he was unsure how to approach her. He quickly pulled out his journal and wrote a quick message. Hoping she would be able to read his scribble, he handed it to the baker and explained what should be done. He waited anxiously for the next morning.
He arrived at his favorite spot earlier than usual. He almost had to push some tourists away from his table to assure he had his view. As he settled in with his first cup of coffee, he began to work on his own poetry.
Without knowing how much time had passed he heard the familiar laughter once more. She was there sitting at a table enjoying a croissant. He watched her as she opened the letter placed next to her plate. She smiled as she read the words and then she looked up to possibly catch who had written it. She turned over the paper and pulled out a pen. His heart raced in anticipation hoping that she was replying.
Like the day before, he waited for her to leave and he went over to see his friend. As he walked over, the baker was grinning while holding a piece of paper. Taunting him at first he finally received the reply. He smiled as he traced her words upon the paper.He wrote back once more.
Weeks went by and winter would soon be approaching. The quick notes became longer letters. Polite chat became soul baring tales. Today felt different as he opened the letter left for him. Today she kept it short.
“I want to finally meet you. Be here tomorrow at 8 so I can finally see your face.”
At first he was smiling at the thought of finally speaking to her. Then he became nervous as he feared she would be disappointed. She was probably expecting someone closer to her own age. Would she even want to speak to him again? He left without leaving a reply.
She arrived early and stopped to look at her reflection in the mirror. Her heart was dancing in hopes of meeting the man who won her over through all of his letters. She smiled as she imagined telling her friends about the romantic encounter while in France. No one would believe it. She only ordered a cup of tea and sat down at her usual table. Looking down at her wrist she still had ten minutes before he would arrive.
He watched from his usual spot unsure if he would go over. He could see her checking her reflection while waiting for him. He could just walk away now and end things. Before long she would head back to the States and he would never see her again. However, he knew he would not be able to get her out of his mind.
On her third cup of tea and forth time asking if any note had been left for her, she nervously looked down at her watch. He was now thirty minutes late or maybe he was just not going to show. Feeling the disappointment within, she collected her things and stood to leave. As she turned to go, she bumped into a man she hadn’t noticed walking up. He reached out and touched her arm and in a charming accent said, “Excuse me. Are you okay?”
She paused and said, “yes, thank you”
He smiled and moved to allow her to pass by. He watched her walk a few feet ahead. Part of him wanted to call her back but the other part was happy to just get that close. He turned to go the other way when he heard her voice once more.
“Wait a moment, Monsieur.”
He paused and slowly turned to face her again.
She smiled and with a laughing voice, “are you just going to let me walk away?”
“What do you mean?” he carefully asked.
She began to walk towards him.
“I mean, after all those letters and poems, you aren’t even going to ask me to stay?”
“How did you know it was me?”
“Do you think I wouldn’t know you? The man who wrote all those beautiful words would not be noticed? The kindness I see in your words are written across your face.”
He held his arm out as she walked up and laced her arm around his. He smiled like never before as he asked, “Shall we take a walk?”
“I thought you would never ask.”