From across the little bookshop, she saw him shyly glance her way.
It was another dull Tuesday night and again she had found herself at the bookshop. Christmas music played softly in the background and lights twinkled festively in the display window. A new book had caught her attention and she was already thumbing through it. This one featured the heroine in Paris, one of her favorite places to have traveled. Paris, Christmas, and croissants! It had all the ingredients for a perfect, romantic, holiday story. She sensed someone watching her, causing her to remember where she was and look up.
He was tall with a handsome face—what she could see of it, anyhow. Masks had reduced the spread of the covid19 virus, but had also reduced everyone’s face to half. She didn’t mind. She felt that she could read people’s eyes quite well. She knew that eyes often crinkled at the corners in amusement. Sometimes the brows furrowed, indicating less than pleasant emotions. Other times, the eyes stared out to unknown spaces as their owner was lost in thought.
His eyes were captivating. They were so hazel that they were almost amber. They were clear and playful, and she felt herself blush under her mask. He was smartly dressed, as if he had been at work, and wore shoes that could only be described as dapper. Having been caught checking her out, he nodded, smiled under his mask, and then turned his attention to the shelf in front of him, pretending to study the book titles.
Grinning under her mask, she was pleased at the attention. Covid had caused many people, including her, to feel isolated, lonely, and out-of-touch with simple flirting rituals such as playfully making eye contact with good-looking strangers. Having been part of this cute moment of flirtation felt almost mischievous, like they had been passing a note in secrecy. It was sweet and just encouraging enough to motivate her to steal another shy glance his way.
He was looking at a book written by one of her favorite classic authors. This felt like a good sign because it meant he was smart, handsome, and a reader! Her optimistic heart seemed to beat a little quicker and louder. She was just about to muster up the courage to say something to him about the author, when she saw it: the simple, gold, wedding band on the ring finger of his left hand.
Feeling a bit more disappointed than she wanted to admit, she quickly glanced away. She reminded herself of her honor and integrity as she turned in the opposite direction and headed toward the cashier. She thought she could feel his eyes on her as she walked away, but she knew better than to look back and see.
She purchased her book, went home, and made herself a cup of hot tea. Her favorite was Earl Grey with lavender and cream, and it was just the thing her crushed hopes needed. (That and maybe a glass of Moscato wine.) The alluring scent of the tea’s bergamot filled the kitchen, and the delicate balance of flavors was comforting. The new book beckoned her, and with a vicarious heart she returned to the clean, crisp pages that told of the Parisian adventures and romantic flirtations she longed to have–with a man who was definitely not married.
The undeniable spark with the stranger at the bookshop was fun while it had lasted. The moment had been short and bittersweet, but it had reminded her that the world was full of magical things just waiting to happen. There was still the hope of maybe having her own croissants and romantic strolls by the Eiffel Tower one day, just like in her book. She’d even be grateful for romantic strolls around her own city. For now though, a couple of shy glances would have to do. C’est la vie.
Copyright © Mommyhood and Moxie, 2020
The idea for this story came to me quite early one morning about a week ago, when I was half awake/half asleep after having been woken up by my precious little boy. Apparently, he couldn’t fix his blankets properly and was cold, so he sneaked into my room. As I tried to squeeze in a little more sleep before my alarm clock went off for the day, the idea for this story began taking shape in my head.
Here’s a link to a recipe for an Earl Grey and lavender latte, if you’re interested: https://www.royalcupcoffee.com/blog/articles/how-make-lavender-tea-latte
Thank you so much for returning to my blog as a regular or just stumbling into it by accident. See you dear readers in the New Year! As always, thanks for stopping by. ❤