© Copyright Yvonne DeBandi
“Enjoy your FoolCation!”
That’s what she said to me. She was probably right. Becky was always right. Her candor wasn’t surprising either. She never spared an honest opinion or offered a sugary lie, traits that contributed to our instant friendship.
The statement was elicited by my annual trip and yelled out of the old Volkswagen bus window as she dropped me at the airport. Despite her sarcasm, she winked at me. In the interest of my happiness, she wasn’t devoid of hope, just worked hard to help my feet stay on the ground.
This was my seventh time visiting the pavilion on the promised date and time. Last year I even braved a storm, ran through the rain to get there before the stroke of midnight. I knew the moments of passion and romance, labeled as serendipitous and kismet, were just words spoken in the heat of passion. The handsome face that continued to haunt my dreams, the one who swept me off my feet those many years ago, would probably not appear. I wasn’t that much of a fool, but a promise was a promise, something I never took lightly.
Despite my low expectations, I was exhilarated. In truth, it stopped being about him a long time ago. This night always reminded me of possibility. The idea that one moment could alter my perspective, change my life in unimagined ways. An adventure outside of my usual box, the one lived the other 51 weeks of the year.
Slowly I sauntered through the garden path, holding a rose from the hotel gift basket, for no reason other than I liked the fragrance. I walked up the steps slowly, distracted by the surrounding beauty. I felt graceful, elegant… beautiful, until I tripped over the hem of my gown on the last step and face planted on the cold marble stone.
The irony of it all struck me as hysterical, causing me to bust out laughing as I rolled to look up at the incredible architecture, my forehead already beginning to swell. I didn’t care. The vision before me was more breathtaking than my fall.
Unexpectedly, two of the bluest eyes I had ever seen leaned over to ask if I was hurt. As I shook my head, tears of mirth streaming, he did something unexpected. He handed me the rose I had dropped and lay down next to me.
“I always try to find an excuse to enjoy the ceiling architecture myself,” he chuckled. We lay there for quite some time in silence, on our backs, staring in awe. “I’m Nathaniel, by the way. Would you like to get an ice pack together?”