The sounds of the busy mid-afternoon day on the street I was walking on filled my ears. All those important people living their special lives. But not me. I was missing something important that every human being should experience.
In my peripheral, a couple holding hands, quietly whispering to each other passed me, going the other direction.
I was missing love.
And it wasn't because I was ugly, don't get me wrong. People have often told me how handsome I was. It's just that I don't really like to get close to people. I have friends, sure, and have had a few girlfriends here and there, but no one has ever really had that spark. The spark that brings two people together, from the moment that they first meet.
And little did I know,a dull day like today was going to change my life forever.
As the light turned red, I trudged across the crosswalk; about three blocks to my apartment now. I had had a tiring day at work, and wanted nothing more than to crack open a beer and watch the baseball game.
My face down, watching the sidewalk, trying not to trip over my feet, I didn't notice the beautiful girl until I bumped into her.
"Hey!" She growled as she stopped.
"Sorry." I apologized, as I briefly looked up.
My eyes caught hers, and we found ourselves staring at each other. She had shoulder-length brown hair, golden eyes, and had on a blue button-up blouse and a black penny skirt. She was dressed to impress, and boy was I impressed.
We both could have drowned into the ocean of each others' eyes until a rude person pushed themselves past the middle of us.
I cleared my throat as she blushed and looked away. Without saying another word, we parted and went our separate ways. Love at first sight? Doubtful that I'll ever see her again, though.
That next day, a weekend, I was loafing around in my bed, grateful for the chance to sleep in. That is to say, I didn't get to sleep in at all.
My cell phone rang at a quarter till 8 in the morning. I groaned, rolled over on my stomach and pulled the pillow over my face.
'Go away' I thought sleepily.
But it did not go away, and to my utter annoyance, my phone rang a second time.
This time I fumbled for the phone on my nightstand.
"Hello?" I managed. I sounded groggy and angry. 'good.'
It was Koizumi.
"Hey man, I was wondering if you'd like to hang out and play some poker tonight. Mikeru will be having some of her girlfriends over, too, so it'll be a full house. No pun intended." He chuckled at his own joke.
"Sure thing, but why are you calling me this early when you aren't planning this until tonight?" I rubbed my eyes, wishing to curl back up under the covers.
"Because as your best friends, it is my duty to make your life miserable."
"Sure. Fine. Whatever. I'll be there." I hung up, and with a huge yawn, rolled over on my side and fell asleep.
I was dressed casually for the night. After all, I was just chillen with the guys. I could have cared less about Koizumi's shy wife and her friends. Or so I thought.
I rang the doorbell and entered the house, already filled with cigarette smoke and a slight smell of alcohol. Off in one of the side rooms I could hear hushed sounds of female voices.
I took off my shoes , grabbed a beer from the fridge and took a seat at the dining room table, nodding greetings to everyone.
The game went underway, with all of us guys and bantering and drinking. I only had one beer , but some of the others were starting to lose their cool. I wasn't doing so bad at the game, either.
After about an hour or so, I was sort of a winning streak. Not to brag or anything. Then, the door to the farthest bedroom down the hall opens and Mikeru walks out to the kitchen with one of her friends in tow.
"Good evening everyone." Mikeru politely said, bowing slightly.
I turned around to return her greeting when my eyes fell on a woman with shoulder-length brown hair.
I gaped. She met my eyes and gave a big grin.
"Everyone, this is Haruhi. Please be kind to her." With that, the two ladies went to go get some food. The other guys nodded a hello, but I stood up from my chair and follwed them.
The girl, Haruhi, turned toward me.
"I don't know if you remember me or not. We kind of bumped into each other on the sidewalk yesterday..." My voice trailed off.
Her eyes sparkled as she said, "Yeah! I totally remember. How odd is it that we ran into each other again? Oh! I'm Haruhi, by the way."
"And I'm Kyon." We shook hands...but didn't let go.
A few extra seconds passed when we both looked down at our clasped hands. We both hastily pulled away, a faint pink spreading across Haruhi's cheeks.
And was it just me, or did I see Mikeru smirking in the corner of the room?
Before I even realized what I was thinking, my mouth decided to blurt out, "Would you like to go have dinner tomorrow night?"
"Yeah, I'd like that." She smiled.
"Yo! Kyon! Dude! Are you still in?" Someone yelled from the table.
"Yeah! Hold on!" I gave Haruhi my number, and she told me hers, and said we'd meet up tomorrow at a nearby noodle joint.
Looking in the mirror, I realized just how boring my hair looked.
'Hmm. Can't be helped.'
I fidgeted with my tie for the fifth time, and brushed off invisible dust off my clothes. I've never been this nervous for a date before. But then again, I'd never contemplated having to spend the rest of my life alone until recently. Seeing the last of your cousins get married off can have that affect on you.
I sighed and grabbed my car keys, flicking off lights as I left.
From the restaurant window, I saw her sitting alone at a table, absentmindedly staring off into space and playing with her wine glass. She's wearing her hair up pulled back with a headband, and has on a lacy pink shirt and black leggings with flats. She looks almost like a teenager. And now I feel overdressed in my tie and suit.
When I walk into the restaurant, she jumps out of her daydream and looks toward me.
I went to the table, bowed to her, and sat down.
We ordered our food, and talked about all sorts of things. Friends, family, our jobs, our dreams.
I've never shared so much with someone before, not even Koizumi! And especially not with someone I barely even know. But there was just something about her. The way she smiled when she talked, or fidgeted in her seat when she was nervous, the way she looked at me...wanted me to keep talking to her.
After we ate, we both went down to a park to sit in the grass and watch the stars.
"You know, I had a really good time tonight." She said after we had settled down.
"Me too." I agreed, ecstatic.
I looked at her as she gazed up into the sky, compassion in her eyes as she spoke.
"Usually I'm not so easygoing with people. But with you, it's different. I feel like I can tell you anything and everything." She paused, slowly choosing her next words. "I guess I've been kind of lonely for most of my life. My parents died when I was young and I have no siblings. Most guys usually think I'm weird. But not you." She looked at me with wonder.
"I feel exactly the same way!" I exclaimed. "I'm kind of a loner, but wishing I could be with someone." I sheepishly brushed my hair back off my neck.
Her searching gaze found mine, and she lightly put her hand on mine.
As our faces grew closer together, Haruhi whispered, "I know," and our lips met together in a blissful kiss.
And that is how one stranger on the street would one day become my wife.