It had just rained. There was still a cool dampness in the air, the kind that might’ve given her a chill had she not been walking. But she was walking, and she had been for quite a while. A mixture of annoyance and anxiety formed in the pit of her stomach and she gripped her cases in agitation. How could she have taken the wrong bus? And after insisting she could come home on her own. How silly and ridiculous. She knew the reason behind her mistake. If she were being honest, her wandering mind was to blame; he had consumed her thoughts. The skin on her face flushed at the realization.
With no earthly idea where she was headed, she kept walking. The road was narrow and dampened by the misty air. The cracks that zigged and zagged through the rough pavement were still filled with rainwater, and as she walked, she was careful to weave around the murky puddles in her path. Searching her surroundings for anything familiar, she gazed up at the trees on either side of the road and, in spite of her growing frustration, she couldn’t help but admire the red and golden leaves that floated delicately around her. She adored autumn. It’s beauty always put her in a crippling state of awe. Though she was surely in a predicament, there was a peace that she felt growing within her. “How wonderful is His creation?” she thought. And, if only for a small moment, her agitated mind eased, she breathed in, and thanked God she was alive.
She reached the edge of the forest and into a field. A thick fog lay across the expanse of land, and her heart sank. There was no way of knowing whether she was headed in the right direction, or even on the right road. How could she know that this quiet, secluded path would eventually mark a great turning point in her life? One that she would go back to, and smile, and hold in her heart for the rest of her days.
The mist was thick, and she squinted her eyes trying to see the road in front of her, the crease between her eyebrows marking her concentration. The heels of her old leather shoes clicked against the battered pavement and seemed to echo in the stillness of the fog around her. At first she didn’t noticed a sound other that that click, click, clicking. Her mind was focused on the path ahead. Trying to reassure herself, she reasoned that she would find her way back home, and hopefully, find him waiting there too. But, there was a sound. The noise had disrupted her thoughts, but what was it? A quiet rumbling noise that grew louder by the second. A car.
She turned to look, but continued to walk. The car slowly became clearer and clearer, and then, gloriously familiar. Her shoes were silenced as she stopped and turned. “Oh my Lord,” she prayed. It was him. Not only him, but his son as well. That sweet, sweet boy that she loved so much, was sticking his head out the window. She dropped her suitcases and everything stood still; the world had stopped spinning, the car had stopped running, and everything was completely silent except for the thunderous sound of her heart beating in her chest. At least, so it seemed.
She saw him stir. He opened the car door and stood, never averting his gaze. As he came closer, she felt a tremendous ache in the tips of each finger, almost as if her hands were begging her to reach out and touch him. When he was as close as they had ever been, he brought his hand to her forehead. She was sure he had noticed the soft sigh she released as he touched her, and the fact that her eyes had fallen shut. When he let go, their eyes met again.
“What if it had started raining? What if you’d got lost?”
She loved his voice, the care in his tone; she loved him.
“I was lost. I got the wrong bus.” Eventually, she thought, he would get the full story.
"I was on the right road.“
They paused, taking their fill of each other’s presence. He shrugged off his jacket and wrapped it around her, pulling her close to him. The garment was filled with the warmth of his body and he held each lapel under her chin.
”I know you so little, but I couldn’t be more certain.“
Her heart was beating faster than ever. He, also, had affirmed his own complete certainty and, for the first time, they revealed their given names. She felt his hand slide from its grip on the coat to caress her neck. His thumb brushed the length of her jaw as his eyes searched her face. She watched as they stopped at her lips, then return to her eyes. He hesitated for a moment, desperate to continue, but scared to move too quickly. She relaxed into his touch and allowed him to guide her head to his lips, and then place the tenderest of kisses on her forehead. He did not pull away, but continued to softly kiss her cheek and each corner of her mouth. Her arms emerged from the coat and slipped inside of his jacket, wrapping them around his torso. He kissed her then, without hesitation or reserve, and she let him.
She couldn’t help but think, Oh, what a start we have made.