I had so many plans for the first weekend in March. I wanted to celebrate the finish to a six week paleo challenge affiliated with my gym. I wanted to go out on a real date and splurge with a luscious piece of cake accompanied by a good cup of coffee. I wanted kisses and holding hands.
Life always seems to work out differently than what I wanted…
After two long weeks of missed connections, their weekend finally started with a sigh of exhaustion under a grey cloud of rain. They stayed in Saturday night, talking and finding their way back to each other while sipping chilled whiskey concoctions from icy copper mugs. Midnight found them already fast asleep in bed, arms flung out towards each other but fingers not quite touching. Both still wore what they considered lounge-around-the-house wear–boxers for him, lace Supergirl panties and a white cami for her.
Sunday dawned with a foreboding sky and an ominous darkness spreading over the city.
“I didn’t think far enough ahead,” she sighed, sorting through the denim shorts she had stubbornly insisted on wearing last night and the only other outfit she had brought–pink pants and a thin, cream-colored blouse.
“You’ll bring some brightness to the day,” he teased gently while she frowned at the inside of her luggage bag, willing an everyday pair of jeans to appear.
“Pink it is,” she said, but once they were snapped and zipped, she tossed her dark hair back with confidence. “I really do love these; I should have them in every color: teal, orange, zebra stripes…”
He shook his head and rolled his eyes while she rubbed lotion into her hands and wrapped a long grey sweater around her ensemble. “Ready,” she announced, and he picked up his keys and cap as they headed towards the door.
They decided to go to Ettore’s for brunch. She insisted it was by Sacramento State University; he (privately) thought it was in the vicinity of Loehman’s Plaza.
They were both right, considering an approach from different directions.
As he parked in the small, crowded lot, the burgeoning heavens suddenly opened and a torrent of rain dumped directly overhead, beating down forcefully enough to bounce high off the hood of his car.
She watched out the windshield, shivering in anticipation.
“I did not dress for this weather,” she muttered, clutching her sweater close.
“I offered to let you borrow any jacket you wanted,” he said. She had done so before, and he had laughed to see how the coat, which hardly reached the hem of his tee shirt, completely covered past her hips and bottom. Even her hands were lost in the long sleeves.
“I know, but they didn’t match my precious pink pants. It’s my own fault,” she admitted, still watching the louring sky.
They hurried indoors, brought up short just inside the door by the long line snaking its way past the pastry counter. Ettore’s was famous for their desserts, and as this was her first weekend after completing a six week fitness challenge, he though she might want something sweet afterwards.
They ordered brunch at the register, and after a brief survey of the available tables elected to sit at the counter. The noise of so many families and conversations pressed in all around them as they unwound from their winter cocoons and settled into the tall chairs.
“Do you see where the coffee is hiding?” she asked, staring into her clean empty mug.
“I think there’s a help yourself station right over there,” he answered, pointing near the door, just beyond a large family with six small children.
“Thank God,” she muttered and headed off in that direction.
After the first cup had been emptied and refilled, she perked up enough to tell him about a blog she had read this morning.
“Who would you want to direct your life story?” she asked. “I chose Ridley Scott, and that there should be aliens, and finally that I hoped I would be bad ass enough to kill them all.”
From there the conversation wandered to the merits of Tim Burton, James Cameron, and J.J. Abrams, with him eventually proposing Michael Mann as his life story director of choice.
Then, as so often happened, their discussion took a strange left turn towards journalism and then politics.
“Creationism as a curriculum is now to be left up to each individual state to decide,” he said with disgust.
“I know; whatever happened to the separation of church and state?” she mused, absentmindedly stirring the dregs of her second cup.
“It’s just ridiculous, how both parties have been reduced to children fighting for the biggest piece of mud pie, and not even realizing that it’s worthless to everyone,” he said, frowning and shaking his head.
“Do you know, there’s actually information in the Bible about how men are in charge of making coffee?” she asked, watching him out of the corner of her eye. His thoughts were far away and he answered her automatically from long-held beliefs.
“I believe it; there’s all kinds of bizarre stuff in there about rituals,” he said, thinking to himself about how quickly this country had fallen from being a safe haven from religious persecution to one with a bigoted figurehead actively instituting policies to eliminate diversity.
“Yeah, there’s actually an entire chapter devoted to it.” Her voice, light and thoughtful, dimly registered through his reverie. “It’s called…He Brews.”
For a moment longer he considered the catastrophic changes currently happening within the government, before her words fully made sense. The rhetoric burning on his lips to argue against the new regime, words he had said before and would definitely say again, died unspoken as suddenly the laugh lines around his eyes deepened and his mouth split into a wide grin.
“Uh-huh,” he answered at last, and she squealed with joy.
“I told a joke! A terrible, terrible joke, and you fell for it!” He looked over to see her wiggling in her seat, a self satisfied little victory dance as she grinned back at him.
“Yes, you got me,” he said, laughing now at the sheer delight radiating from her in glowing waves, like a yellow star. It was true, she usually telegraphed when she was about to say something silly with her deep dimples and bright shining eyes, but this time she had delivered the punchline with perfect aplomb.
She put her hand on his thigh and leaned in close to kiss him on the cheek, and he forgot about politics and the state of the union. Their breakfast had arrived, but for a moment he just watched her, a pretty woman turning her plate until the arrangement pleased her. Picking up her fork, she switched it to her left hand to give him more elbow room on the right, a small consideration he still found touching and somewhat remarkable.
“All good?” he asked.
“Of course,” she said, her dark eyes calm and clear.
Then he turned to his own plate, leaving behind his troubles to think upon another day.
And that is why the best of life is in the little details, because it is impossible to purposefully plan for moments such as these.