The Way I See It: Love is all around

Love was in the air. It was a dreary afternoon and I was having an extended lunch in an old style coffee shop, casually reading a book and watching the other restaurant patrons. People-watching has always been a favourite pastime.

The restaurant had booths along the perimeter walls and tables and chairs in the middle. It was a busy place and it seemed many of the very efficient staff and guests knew each other.

At one of the booths by the window sat a young couple, maybe 15 or 16. They had the look on their faces of young love, glad to be together, a bit shy, eyes locking and then a quick look away. Their hands sometimes came close to touching, they laughed softly, listened intently and seemed genuinely glad to be together and oblivious to what was going on around them.

Observing the two of them made me smile to think about my own sweet-16 romance with a very shy boy, who when we dated brought his two best friends.  Not always, but lots of times and it was just easier as one of those boys had a car. They always hoped I would find them girlfriends. It was an easy time being together, like an old “back-in-the-day” movie. And many years later it is still nice to see him and his wife and his two friends.

In my mind I imagined that this young couple in the restaurant was new to being together and I hoped that they continued to listen carefully, to pay attention, to laugh, and to reach out to each other.

There is something heartwarming about seeing a couple hold hands. It may be a first date, it may be the 1,065th date, but in that joining together of palm to palm, there is comfort, familiarity and excitement. Some will entwine fingers, others will lock palms, with fingers tightly wrapped over. Others may take their arm. It is an intimate gesture that signifies connection.

We are connected. Hands are very special and have their own unique feel. My husband has big hands and I can lose my own smaller hands within their gentle grasp. My mother had very soft and warm hands which I loved to hold. When the lads were shorter and the three of us walked on the beach, or through a parking lot and we all held hands, my heart was full in our love and connection.

In my coffee shop observations were other couples. One nearby at a table and chairs was an older couple who appeared to me that this was not their first date, maybe this was the 50th year of dates. They had the comfortable familiarity of each other, she enjoyed sampling some of his lunch and he ate her last piece of bread. He was telling her a story that made her laugh. Maybe he had told her before, maybe it was something that happened that morning. In my imagination these two had shared a history together, they had raised a family, had experienced the ups and downs of life and here they were many years later, together, sharing a meal and a good story.

A life together will have ups and downs, and if your life is a straight line it should be recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. Being married requires deep love, patience, a willingness to compromise, to put the other first sometimes, to be unselfish, a sense of humour, respect and admiration for your partner. I have been told and experienced that at times your partner can drive you crazy, and so will you to them. Remember that. And they may be the only person in the world you want to see, tell a story or to have hold your hand. They are a witness to your life.

Good friends are also our witnesses to our lives, and those relationships are very important. My darling is fortunate in that he is still very good friends with people he went to elementary school with. They have played, laughed and shared a lifetime of adventure and been witnesses to the landmarks of his life. I am very grateful for my friends.

The other couple I observed was a family — mom and dad, and three younger children. The kids were bored and antsy, didn’t like some of their food and one wanted to go exploring. It didn’t look like a fun time for anyone except the one in the highchair, who was making cute googly eyes with some of the patrons. I used to pack a bag of small toys with me when I ventured out to a “real restaurant” because the window for quiet enjoyment could be small. Creamer cups are great in a pinch because they are stackable, and I have gathered them off many tables.

One of the little ones started arguing with the other, somebody spilled something, the other started crying, the baby started to tip her food on the floor and the parents looked stressed and frustrated, and then the mom and dad started laughing, and so did the rest of us. The kids stopped crying and were quiet, not certain of what was going on. And then the young man leaned over and kissed his wife, a deep I-love-you kiss.  It was beautiful.

Love, it is all around us.

Michele Blais has worked with families and children in the Vernon area for the past 27 years. She is a longtime columnist for The Morning Star, writing on a variety of issues and appearing every other Sunday.

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