It was one of those late winter afternoons that should have felt right for someone as prepared as M, who was bundled up from head to toe as the temperature slowly dropped and the cold held her within its grasp. Under all the layers that left her feeling stuffy, she slowly paced herself down the icy sidewalks past the tall stone medieval buildings. The narrow corridors of the University yielded the way for the unrelenting wind to whip her scarf from her face, leaving the only bare part of her body exposed. Through the thickness of the brisk Northeastern air, she puffed a cloud of breath as she sighed when she saw him standing on the corner.
“This isn’t where I told you to meet me,” she calls out.
He shrugs and as the gap between them closed, she could see the sly smile on his face.
“Yet, you still found me!” he replied cheerfully.
“J, I know you better than you think,” she softly spoke as she slid into his arms.
“Good. You look cold. Let’s go home,” As he took her hand and they walked to the nearest subway station.
As they waited, she felt her heart smiling then. The warm embrace of his hug had relaxed the load off of her shoulders, the way it usually did after her long days. She felt content then, a feeling that had eluded her for quite some time now. The cold no longer occupied her mind as they walked side by side.
Walking home, they talked about their day and the run-ins and interactions worth noting. The short walk brought them to the door of her apartment. As she fidgeted around her bag for her keys, J stood with his back pushing against hers as he looked at the frozen lake from across the way.
Suddenly, she stopped what she was doing when something caught her eye. By the doorknob, stuck between the small wedge of the door, there was a note. As her hand slowly pulled the piece of paper from the tight grip of the crack, she could see the handwriting of her name scribbled across the folded paper. In an instant, she knew who had left it there. Her heart stopped smiling and immediately all of the different emotions flooded across her face. She knew then that this was the moment she dreamed would come but never thought was possible.
“I’ve been waiting for you like I always have been,” was all she could think then…