I was never a person who believed in love at first sight. Even as a man who admired film and romance, I thought the idea was preposterous. I mean, how could you love someone you knew nothing about? Maybe I was just jaded from being alone for far too long.
I spent my free time trying different dating sites hoping to find something worthwhile but even I knew those chances were slim. Each interaction was as empty as an old town mall. Conversations always began and ended with pillow talk or sexual innuendos. I told my friends I was looking for something but truth was, the dating apps were my excuse to not go out and actually search for love.
The past few relationships I had been apart of left me scarred with a bitter taste in my mouth. To be fair, it was partially my fault. I knew I was born in a generation of people who were far too “cool” to show love and affection and yet I still held on for hope. Friends with benefits was the new fad and no one was ready to commit. When those few people did commit, they didn’t hesitate to throw you by the waste side when times got tough. I knew in my heart, eventually the day would come when I would go out looking again but I didn’t realize that day would come so soon.
It was a cold winters day when I decided to get out of the house because I couldn’t stand another minute alone and just drove. I went a few cities over and cruised downtown until I found somewhere that caught my eye. The streets were packed, which made me quickly realize it was market night. People covered every street corner, searching for unique and creative things to buy.
I parked my 95 Nissan Altima in the farthest parking spot available. Not because I was a fan of walking but because my car had seen better days and I didn’t want to be spotted with it. I noticed this back alley that had a beautiful archway. The surrounding area was covered with plants, including these vibrant sunflowers. I saw a few old fashioned style tables outside and above them was a sign reading “The Red Cafe”.
I entered the desolate cafe and ordered myself a hot chocolate. I know, what person orders a hot chocolate at a cafe but I did. I’ve never been the biggest fan of coffee. I thought of sitting inside but it was such a beautiful day, so I made my way to the outside tables. As I sat at my table, I took a quick glance around to see if I was blessed with some solitude and as my head began to turn back toward my drink, my eye was caught by this woman sitting just a few feet from me. She, just like me, was also drinking a hot chocolate.
I had completely lost myself in her eyes. They seemed so infinitely beautiful, like the stars in our endless galaxy. I walked over to her and thought of a million smooth things to say but ended up with “That’s a hell of a hot chocolate isn’t it?”
She smiled, quickly remarking with “Why yes it is but I bet it’s better with company. I’m Kanika and you are?”
“Ajay Vyas , but I go by my pet name Aj.”
And so, our conversation started and furthermore, our night began.
She had such an unorthodox way about her. She didn’t try too hard to be funny and yet I caught myself smiling as she finished every sentence. Her brown hair, smooth like silk, floated in front of her face. It was honestly my only complaint, as it hid parts of her face and something as beautiful as her should be shown in her entirety. I caught her joking a few times about being a little bit on the thick side but my eyes were so focused on hers, that I could care less about thickness or a lack of it. I just wanted to freeze that moment. Every second of it because it felt so perfect. It felt so right to be outside that cafe sharing a hot chocolate with her.
Our night came to a close and as I walked her to her car, I asked for her number. Our eyes met one last time and then I began to walk back to my car. I hoped she would get in her car and leave without seeing my old beaten ride but she waited. As I opened my car door, I heard her yell something from across the parking lot.
“If I would have known you drove a ’95 Nissan Altima, I would have invited you over to my place!”
I laughed, responding with “Do you believe love at first sight?”
“Not until I met you,” she said faintly.
I couldn’t hear her but I read her lips as if I was reading her mind. I quickly smiled and yelled back, “You’re perfect!”
And she was perfect. I realized that it wasn’t about fitting the definition of perfect that society has given us but rather, seeing that she is perfect in every way for me. I always wondered what love at first sight would be like and it was much more simple than I imagined. It was a woman holding a hot chocolate outside a cafe on a winters day.