Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love at First Sight (Part 2 of 3)

Photo by: Edgar A. Morales
Why didn't I say something? Looking back, I have to say it was an awkward spot. Had it been any other girl, I could've started a conversation about little nothings. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Casanova but I am also not one to shy away from a pretty face. But she was something else. There was an air of mysticism to that moment when I first saw her. She seemed so full of peace and content. I really can’t tell what it was that stopped me from talking to her, maybe a combination of not quite knowing what to say and the astonishment of the moment. I like to think that what I experienced in that moment was a sudden surge of lucidity which prevented me from saying something stupid. And I am thankful for that. 

I spent the rest of the day in a haze. It was a warm feeling. I felt reassured in many respects. After she left the coffee shop there was no doubt in my mind that I would see her again. I didn’t know when, but I was willing to wait. After all, what are a few days, months or even years in comparison with the eternity I already spent getting to this moment? If time was the price, it was an easy bargain to make. The most difficult part was learning that she was real. And she was.   

Christmas came and went. Days trickled, as they inevitably do, and in my everydays I now looked for her out of the corner of my eyes each passing moment. I thought I saw her in a New Year’s celebration where I arrived just as the bells were tolling, but she wasn’t there. Everyone else was, but not her. I walked into the celebration amid fireworks, cheers, people hugging one another celebrating new beginnings, and champagne cups reached for the ceiling while spilling bubbles. Those with company kissed as a vow to their love in the coming year. I embraced her memory, and stole an imaginary kiss from her, wherever she was.

I was on my way to visit my parents on a Sunday evening. It was the end of January then. I drove on the freeway trying to decide where to buy some dinner as there were a few options down the road. My apartment back then was on the East Side of San Diego County, not too far up north, but still about 20 minutes away from the Tijuana border, which gave me plenty of time to think. And dream.

It was almost like a game. I played in my mind what I would say to her if when I saw her again. Back in those days, the power of manifesting one’s desires was gaining some popularity, and it didn’t seem as too farfetched of an idea. It makes sense to me. Want something? Think about possible ways to make it happen, one of them may work, right? So, multiple scenarios went through my mind and as you might expect the most conservative plot landed us in an exotic Micronesian island where we raised our five children in a hut near the shore and crystal clear waterfalls.


The freeway stretched and twirled in front of me and the tip of the Tijuana mountains became visible at the distance. It was unusually clear for an evening, the sun still long ways from the horizon. A few miles before reaching the border there was a small strip mall with a grocery store, a couple of fast food restaurants and a coffee shop. Ever since I saw that girl, every time I passed ANY coffee shop my heart raced. It was as if the possibility of running into her increased tenfold in one of those places. I decided on what I would get for dinner, which was actually a family request, and after leaving the food in the car I walked to the coffee shop, which was a few only a few stores away. As I was approaching it, I slowed down my pace as the totally irrational thought that I might run into her overwhelmed me. I kid you not, I was laughing at myself for being so silly. I hesitated for a short moment before opening the door to a Café void of any customers.

The girl behind the counter greeted me with a sincere smile, and my heart sank with such an overwhelming emotion that I overcame any hesitation, and continued walking in her direction. It was her alright. Mind you, I was in absolute shock. How could it be? Was this really happening to me? Some heavenly deity must have been getting a kick out of the whole thing. There she was in all of her splendor, wearing a barista apron and a pony tail, and this time she was smiling at me. I know, it was her job, but I didn’t care! If this was destiny, fate, divine providence or simply pure good ol’ fashioned plain luck, I was going to take it. That moment had been given to me, to us, by whatever force moves the universe, and all I had to do now was follow the motions. So I did. I mean, the whole situation felt so matter of fact that I figured it would turn out fine. Our conversation went on something like this:

“Hello, what can I get you?”
“I don’t know, what’s good here?” The truth is, I knew the menu by heart, but I was looking to stretch our interaction for as long as I could. She looked back for a second pretending to glance at the menu before turning her porcelain face once again to me.

“Have you had the Caramel Latté?” I knew she was going to say that. I knew it because a few years before I had worked in a coffee shop and whenever someone asked for a suggestion, the Caramel Latté was the default response.
“You know what? That sounds really good. I’ll get a medium one.”
“Ok, what’s your name?” she asked me.
“Edgar,” I said, and after she wrote my name on the paper cup I asked “and what is your name?”

She looked at me for a second (which felt like an eternity), quizzically, like measuring my intentions and I just stood there. Sincerely.

“Tania,” she finally said with a smile and proceeded to make the Caramel Latté.

I honestly felt completely overjoyed. The woman who shook my innermost being was standing in front of me just under a month from the first time I saw her, and the universe felt completely aligned. I was thinking of what I could say to start a conversation with her, but any question that popped into my mind sounded like a plastic attempt at picking up a pretty girl for a just another date. I finally decided to tell her exactly what had happened. I thought it was the best thing I could do, after all, it was the truth.

To be concluded: HERE.

♠ ♠ ♠

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