The River

I stepped out of the deli with a ham and turkey sandwich in my hand. After getting settled into my favorite seat overlooking the water I took my first bite. The mustard squeezed out the opposite end like it always does onto my perfectly placed napkin. I could never have enough sauce when it came to my sandwiches. If I didn’t make a mess, it wasn’t good enough.

This was fairly routine for lunch on a Tuesday. I work from home and like to get out of the house and walk the six blocks to the river. It allows me to escape from the stress of managing a remote team across seven time zones. I got about halfway through my meal when the regular course of things started to not feel so routine.

What set it off was when I noticed a young lady, roughly my age, in a beautiful, white sun dress walking along the water’s edge. What struck me is how she looked familiar even though I could only see the back of her.

Most days I would have continued enjoying my sandwich but today was different. I felt it the moment I woke up and before I could think twice about it I was making my way toward her. This is not who I am but it feels right, making it hard to resist the urge to talk to her.

By the time I caught up to her she was bent down looking at a small patch of what I later found out were morning glories.

“Those would look beautiful with your dress,” I said to the girl as I approached.

“You think so?” she giggled and stood up to face me.

“May I?” I carefully plucked a couple and tucked them behind her ear after she nodded. “Beautiful.” That was the only word that could accurately describe her and even that doesn’t fully convey the feeling she gave me.

A smile stretched across her face as she lightly whispered the words ‘thank you’.

There was something about this girl. I’ve been in a handful of intimate relationships that lasted a year or so each but none of those girls gave me this feeling. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket but knew this was more important, she caught my attention and wasn’t letting go.

“What’s your name?” She inquired.

“Wyatt. And yours?”

“Maya.” She sat down and motioned for me to sit beside her.

I joined her in the grass and looked out over the slow yet powerful force of the river. There was something so freeing about sitting there next to a stranger watching the water flow by. She was a stranger but I was completely at ease with her by my side. Typically thoughts are incessantly weaving through my mind but during those few moments of silence it was empty.

“Are you from around here? I haven’t seen you before.”

She took a couple seconds to respond but did so with such an air of peace. “I’m waiting to visit a friend who is meeting me here. She’s running late so I came down here to get a better look at these flowers.”

My phone vibrated a couple more times. It was probably someone from work who had a question that could wait.

“My dream is to have a garden overgrown with all of my favorite flowers in my backyard. Do you know what these are called?”

If I’m being honest I couldn’t name more than five flowers and these were certainly not one of them. “No, sorry, I don’t.”

My phone vibrated again but this time it wouldn’t stop. “I’m sorry I have to take this,” I slipped off my headset and blinked a few times to readjust to my office lighting before answering my phone.

One of the new guys had a simple question that could have waited until after my lunch break but insisted on knowing right away. I hung up as quick as possible and popped my headset back on.

Even though the call only lasted a few minutes, I was now sitting by myself with Maya nowhere in sight.

I stood up, brushed myself off and went back to eating my sandwich while looking out over the flowing water.

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