This bench has grown comfortable in the last three days.  I didn’t expect that.  I never expected that I would appreciate the green splintery wood, adorned with the proclamations and pronouncements of all the lovers that have sat here before me.  I’ve read them all.  Some of them, if poetic, I repeat to myself when I’m not with my love.

I feel animated with anticipation, so much so that I cannot always hide my sentiments.  Four passerby’s today have been the unexpecting recipients of my glowing grin.  I look down, trying to conceal my levity but I can’t always help but to share with them.  They quickly terminate our connection, pulling a protective collar up, raising a hand to feign a cough, their eyes drop to the lackluster sidewalk and they speed up their pace.  What a senseless phenomenon that a sliver of unsolicited gaiety can prompt such feelings of undeservingness in a person!

My love will arrive in minutes.  She strides this way daily, swimming in the stream of bodies that runs building side for blocks in all directions.  She will arrive and my anticipation will dissipate like the swirling mist of steam atop a crisp morning cup of apple cinnamon tea; it lingers for a moment then disintegrates.  A day like today, an exquisite March afternoon, will paint traces of green in her eyes.   Her girlish buoyancy cannot be hidden.  Through the thickness of her wool coat and past the distraction of the heavy attaché case she carries, I can always see the axiom of purity.  I envision her creation everyday, raw beauty cascading out of God’s fingertips and then sculpted into perfection.  She will see me and look down in her demure way.  Today is the last official day of our courtship, although she does not yet know this.  Later we will celebrate perhaps by taking a picture, an uncomplicated effort at eternalizing a moment.

There is a sad fallacy about euphoria, I think.  It can never be eternalized.  It is a nebulous force, suspended above us all, teasing us to jump epic heights only to be able to touch it with the padded tips of our fingers and only for a micro-second.   It is the delicious morsel of a gourmet meal we will never eat.  Complete happiness is so rare, manifesting in splintered bits at inopportune times yet so thoroughly indulging that most of our embodied lives are spent in a quest, trying to capture and corral it so that we may swim in ecstasy at our own leisure.  The error of our pursuit!  Paradise can never be harnessed just as Heaven will never be experienced by mortals.  That we strive and toil towards an existential construct merely gives us purpose and meaning.  It helps us make sense of an otherwise senseless existence.  Intermittently paradise sends us a communiqué, a thoughtful reminder that it is alive and awaiting us.  Sometimes the update will come running on a white sandy beach, or be tasted in a virtuous wine drunk in the appropriate season, time and company.  But you may not control these things.  The players align for the presentation when the timing is right and we can never know when that is.  I know that I am lucky.  Few people savor the elevated vitality I speak of.

There is a certain fragrance in the air this afternoon, a romantic blend of intimacy…of chili dogs intended to be shared, of cigarettes-the symbol of consummated love, alluring perfumes delicately selected by the users for their ability to ignite impulse and the exhaust of busses, carrying hoards of lovers to and from their sensuous reunions.  I look at my watch.  I wonder if my lover, now only steps away, is basking in the bouquet of aroma with me, sharing an unspoken moment.  I cannot help but to smile.

I should stand now to greet her when she arrives, to join her in stride.  I have been waiting for her and I should not act otherwise, as though I have been passing the time on this park bench for some other purpose, inconsequential to our unity.  I have been waiting on this bench for her, as I have done for three days.  I rise to a surprise, my body seems to have dismissed itself for the afternoon.  While I have been rejoicing in visions of my love, my body has departed for a nap!  I smile and stretch the grin across my entire frame, reaching for stars invisible to daytime eyes.  Prickly alarms awake my slumbering limbs.  I reach inside my jacket for a mutual affirmation.  It is there.  I am here.  I squeeze my offering.  A special day it is.

I can see her face.  It is beautiful, a single gem, a splash of blush eclipsing an otherwise colorless world.  My little girl is shuffling with a graceful urgency.  She’s swimming faster than the stream today, moving in and out of clusters, striding with precision.  Purpose has consumed her on this afternoon.  A memory dislodges and I recall when I too was directed by the delusion that the recipe for spiritual emancipation is to be uncovered somewhere in the thistles of the working world.  I’ve long transcended that falsehood.  And my love, we will soon bathe together in a refreshing wash of freedom.  I pat my jacket and smile.

I decide I will let her pass.  My love’s steps are pressured.  The element of surprise will serve as a needed diversion from the pensiveness commanding her forehead.  She does not know of my plan today, that I will profess my undying love to her and that our romantic covenant will be suspended in history.  The green in her eyes is evident as she looks far past the hustling street, past the buildings on the next block and on to the stratosphere.  What a relief for my love that a respite is on the way!

I step behind her, joining the stream.  The wake of her perfume seduces me into a pattern just three paces delayed, our strides in unison.  She is driven by purpose and I, by her.

Our stream is dammed by the changing of a traffic light.  A pool of people gathers, surrounding us, allowing me to press close to her and be tantalized by her hypnotic redolence without vandalizing my plan.  I am engulfed in curls.  The wispy vines that shelter her head and face are wild!  I reach out with my hand, around her waist without touching her.  Soon I will wrap myself around her body without indecision and bury my face deep in her vines where I will giggle with her about the uncomplicated nature of true love.

The light changes.  Her vines disengage from my face.  I open my eyes and sulk at their departure.  I wish to never feel that separation again.  For a moment I am entombed in the loss, watching the back of my love from across a widening gorge.  I am alone.  In a familiar way, my right hand dips into my jacket, fumbling at the breast pocket on the left side.  It finds the amulet and wraps around it, pulling it close to my heart.  Peacefulness washes through me and exits my body by way of an exhale.  I am again whole.  I smile and step off the curb, after my love.

We walk another block and are nearing our park.  My love is enamored by our park!  She feeds the ducks and swings in solitude.  At times she will finish an entire novel in one sitting.  My chin lowers.  The clarity begins to set in.  There is a white noise I have difficulty describing, a ringing, once foreign and frightening, that beckons me…now tranquilizing.

It is dusk.  The sun hints its decreasing availability from beneath a fiery horizon.  I select an open field for my presentation, a plot that will give her a panoramic view of her park, of her ducks, and of me.  I want this moment to be perfect.

She steps off the path, en route to our destiny.  I am brimming with excitement!  I reach inside my jacket and remove the amulet.  It is an heirloom in my family and I hope she will appreciate the attention to detail.  We are an arm’s length apart, my love and I.  I hope the ducks are quacking.  I cannot hear them.  I deposit a loving hand on the shoulder of my bride and gently turn her for a warm welcome to the reception.  I plant the memento deep inside her heart, the soil most fertile for cultivating love.  The saw-like teeth chomp gluttonously, all the way up to her collar.

“My love!” I cry as I present her with the gift.  “You are my love!”

And my love looks at me through faint lenses, the beautiful emeralds distant, but still very visible, and she gives me my gift!  Red rubies spill out of her pursing lips and into my awaiting hands.  Aah…bliss.