Life is full of wonderful surprises

She was sitting at a table of the cafe near her apartment, where she often went. As she sipped her coffee she concentrated on her book, when a voice suddenly startled her: “Would you mind if I sat down?”.

She looked up and saw a middle aged man looking at her with a tentative smile. As she didn’t reply, he politely repeated the question. Still surprised, she muttered “Why…yes”.

As he sat down she looked at him questioningly. He introduced himself and told her he hoped he was not being too forward, this was not something he usually did, but he used to go to that cafe too, and he had seen her so many times that he really wanted to meet her. As for her, she had never noticed him, but then he seemed so nice she thought it would do no harm to let him go on talking.

And he talked for a long time: he said he was 65 and lived nearby; he told her he was divorced with three grown up children, he ran his own company…in the meantime she took his measure. Of medium height, very well dressed – even if casual – with dark blond hair (not white) and a well trimmed beard, he didn’t look menacing at all, so she also talked to him and time passed.

When she got up to leave he said he would very much like to see her again, and he gave her his business card, where he had his mobile number. He didn’t ask for her number but told her he would be happy if she were to get in touch so that they might get together again.

As she got home she could not believe herself. In her early fifties she knew she was still a striking woman, with beautiful turquoise eyes and blond hair. But to have found herself an admirer who had seen her from afar so many times that he had not resisted coming to talk to her? This was almost unheard of and she rushed to the phone to tell her friend about her adventure.

She was actually having dinner with her friend that evening, so they googled him and his company and everything was as it should be. Her friend, always a romantic, told her to go ahead and make the most of this adventure life had surprised her with. With caution, but without suspicion.

Later she decided to send him a message, thanking him for the nice chat at the cafe (and the coffee itself, that he had gallantly paid for), and immediately he replied, and several messages after her friend decreed this man had fallen in love with her!

Days passed by and they kept in touch every day. Inevitably, he asked her for dinner the following Saturday and she enjoyed his company.

He was showing more and more his interest in her. Moreover, every time they met he brought her a small gift, a flower or a Pandora bracelet with a heart pendant. No words needed.

When she frankly told him she had some misgivings as they didn’t have any common acquaintances – that friend who makes the introduction – he was very understanding and soon organized a double date, with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. He talked so much about his family it was time she met someone, he said.

She was feeling more and more at ease in his company, most of all because he was so thoughtful. He was clearly taken with her but never did he make any pressure nor have any more intimate gesture. He respected her space, even more when she told him she was coming out of a very difficult relationship that had hurt her very much.

Day by day, gesture by gesture he has been winning her. They have gone out together several times, from cafes to the movies, restaurants or just a walk by the river. He surprised her by inviting her to his birthday dinner, where his children would be present as well as his brother. At this point she was thrilled to accept, and it was a merry occasion. His children received her warmly and throughout the evening he kept telling her she had made him very happy just by being there.

Last time she talked to her friend she confessed they had had dinner at her apartment and had kissed for the first time. She had put some slow music on and they had danced. More, she confessed she was enjoying being with him more and more…and another friend who saw her recently commented how happy and radiant she looked.

There are many ways of falling in love. Of course there are those crazy situations of love at first sight, or almost, when it feels like you have been hit on your head by something and your heart beats wildly, you stop sleeping, you live for a sight of the loved person…and when he holds you it feels like a million bells are ringing and the whole world stops. We have all been through that – in out teens or in our forties or fifties, there’s absolutely no difference. But then there are other ways, quieter, less tempestuous, when you start enjoying someone’s company, you begin finding things in common, you enjoy the companionship…and then one day you say “I might love this person”. When you learn to love someone. And these loves that grow, even if without the heat of initial passion, can be as rewarding as the others…and sometimes more lasting and reliable.

No one can guess what the future will bring so who knows if this love will grow. Hopefully it will. She deserves it. She has been through much heartbreak and tears but she has grown as a person. She is ready to live a great love story, no matter how it begins. Love stories are never great because of the way they begin, but because of what happens after. And this love story is just beginning. When she was least expecting something of the sort.

As I say – life is full of wonderful surprises.