She loved sex.
The sticky, steamy friction, the anticipation before that first touch…that very first touch on her skin. The smell of sex, lush and musky, an assault on the senses. She loved sex. What was there to not love about it?
But she loved love more.
Oh, the romance of love. The heady delicious rush of first love, the way the heart pounded and the breath quickened, the way skin flushed and quivered. Then there was the sheer, amazing, thrill of heartbreak. You never forgot heartbreak, quite as much as you do love. She imagined, when a heart broke it was like a pure glass vase (painted red, of course) that shattered, maybe one crack at a time, maybe all at once. A heart broken was so much more beautiful than a heart whole.
She smiled, as she stood under the stop light holding a blue umbrella over her head as rain poured over the busy intersection. The café was full of people, taking a moment out of their busy lives, taking sanctuary inside the lovely-smelling café or under the large red-and-white striped awning.
Like they were doing.
She could just imagine the conversation between them.
“What lousy weather! The sky was clear in the morning.”
“I know, I have a meeting in two hours.” She stares at her half-wet shirt with the yellow lacy camisole visible now.
Shrugs self-deprecatingly. “I can’t go to my meeting looking like a drowned rat.”
He smiles; it’s a shy, charming smile. “I think you look lovely.”
She smiles back. It is exactly what she wanted to hear. Maybe, this guy is different. Maybe he wouldn’t cheat on her. Maybe this one had a job and didn’t work at a ‘startup’. Maybe…
“Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
He looks startled. Happy, the smile stealing slowly into his eyes, crow’s feet visible now. Looks like he smiles a lot. Even the touch of grey at his temples makes him look distinguished. He could be thirty-five, older, younger. She’s ok with it. She’s not twenty-two anymore either.
“I’d like that,” he says. “I know a place around the corner that’s quiet.”
They glance back inside the crammed café. It is full to bursting. So they step onto the road and he holds his laptop bag over her head while she clutches her Michael Kors purse tighter to her chest. That baby cost her a month’s salary, she wasn’t going to let the rain get it. They start running across the road, to the corner where the quiet café is there.
The woman with the blue umbrella smiles. Love. It got her every time. She snapped a finger and a strong gust of wind came up, catching everyone with umbrellas on their face. The two of them laughed as they raced past her, caught in the moment, in the attraction of each other. Uncaring of the rain.
She dropped her umbrella, gave it a little flick and watched as it skidded against the man’s legs.
He caught it, and looked around for the owner. There was no one here. So he picked up the umbrella and held it over their dripping heads. She moved in closer to him and he hugged her to his side as the rain and wind picked up.
She watched them round the corner, imagined the conversation, the stares, the sex, the love, the wonder of having found it. Found IT.
Her heart was full again. For a minute.
“Are you meddling in someone’s love life again?” he asked, right into her ear. She turned and looked at him. So handsome, so strong, so POWERFUL. He could break the world if she asked him to. He was so in love with her.
Her own heart broke because they could never belong together like those two lovers did.
“Yes,” she said, and gave the two of them one more glance. “Yes, I am. Everyone should fall in love when they can.” The man didn’t understand love, but he understood her, so he let her have her moment. Let her watch them fall in love.
When she’d had her fill, he said, “Let’s go. Big Brother is waiting for me. Your husband is with him.”
And then they walked away, the man and the woman who had the blue umbrella, disappearing into the rain as if they were made of it.