I was sitting in a diner, enjoying my solitude and absorbed in thoughts of my father. It was the anniversary of his death and I was missing him.
From the corner of my eye I noticed a magnificent looking couple in a nearby booth. The woman was incredibly beautiful with large, dark, seductive eyes; thick black hair pulled sleekly into a French knot; and an airbrushed complexion. Her movements were fluid. She was poised and composed and appeared to be detached from her surroundings. I watched as she sipped her coffee and I realized that hers were the looks I had always wanted.
The man was gorgeous. I stared shamelessly and smiled as I allowed my fantasies to ramble. His skin was tanned. He had rugged features with a strong cleft chin and clear blue eyes. The cut of his expensive three piece suit accentuated his broad chest and shoulders.
He was reading a newspaper. She was drinking coffee. They never spoke.
I heard myself sigh and tried to pull my thoughts back to where they had been before they'd been so pleasantly invaded. It was difficult. I was drawn to the two of them and their robot-like movements -- turning his pages, lifting her cup. No speaking. No smiling. No communicating.
My thoughts were further interrupted when the hostess escorted another couple to a booth diagonally in front of mine. They appeared to be frequent patrons of the diner because they joked familiarly with the waitress, who asked if they wanted their "usual."
The man was in his mid-sixties. His hair was steel grey and he wore baggy shorts that slung low on his hips, inviting his belly to hang over. He wore a horizontally striped polo shirt and a red billed cap. Black dress shoes and short black socks accentuated his thin, white, bowed legs.
The woman, about 55, had short frizzy brown hair with long grey roots. She wore plaid Bermuda shorts, a sleeveless polka dot over-blouse, white sandals with white anklets, and carried a small white patent leather handbag. She had no forearms. Finger-like appendages hung from her elbows.
I tried to ignore her deformity but found myself sneaking peeks at her reflection in the window alongside me. Distance made their conversation inaudible to me, but their perpetual dialogue, laughter and playful animation revealed the warmth and depth of their feelings for each other.
I stalled by reordering cups of tea. I was intrigued by the contrast in the appearance and behavior of the two couples.
The beautiful people slid across their booth seats, stood and prepared to leave. I observed that the woman was tall and willowy. The man appeared to be about 6'5" and, in my humble opinion, was a perfect specimen of manhood. The woman walked in front of the man, past the cashier and out the door. He paid the check and followed. They never spoke or so much as acknowledged each other's presence. They were perfectly sculpted pieces of cold marble.
I was on my third cup of tea by now and feeling uncomfortable about lingering any longer when the second couple stood and prepared to leave. When he reached the woman's side of the table, the man leaned over and whispered something into her ear, causing her to visibly blush and giggle. They embraced. I hid behind my menu and cried.
They were walking towards the cashier when the man suddenly turned and came back to his booth. He reached across the seat on which he'd been sitting and came up with his red cap.
My eyes were still moist as I managed a smile and said, "Good thing you remembered it now, instead of after you were on the road."
He grinned broadly and walked over to me. "See this here pin?" he asked with great pride as he pointed to a small brass heart stuck in his cap. "My wife gave it to me over 40 years ago and I'm never without it."
I smiled approvingly and he returned to the cashier where he paid his check and walked out with his arm over his woman's shoulders.
As my eyes followed them to the parking lot, memories of my father trickled back into my mind and I was struck with thoughts of something he had told me when I was a youngster working beside him in his roadside fruit and vegetable stand. "The sweetest fruits are often the ones with blemishes and imperfections."
I was warmed by thoughts of my father's words and realized that while the beautiful people had caught my eye, it was the second couple who captured my heart.
Chris and Gary Hills on their wedding day on June 26, 1982.
Chris and Gary Hills in 2012.
John Thottathil and Mary Thottathil on their wedding day on October 7, 1978.
John and Mary Thottathil on their 32nd anniversary in 2010.
Melinda and Dick Johnson on their wedding day on November 25, 1955.
Melinda and Dick Johnson in 2012.
Chris and Cris Dewey, married in Santa Barbara, December 3, 1978.
Cris and Chris Dewey with their five kids in 2012.
Gary and Evelyn Sutter on their wedding day on August 22, 1981.
Gary and Evelyn Sutter in May of 2010.
Linda and Julio Gallo on their wedding day on August 18, 1973.
Linda and Julio Gallo in 2012.
Ray and Bette Wright on their wedding day on February 14, 1947.
Ray and Bette Wright celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in 2012.
Jeanne and George Everitt on their wedding day on June 26, 1954.
Jeanne and George Everitt in 2012.
Alice and Robyn Goshorn married July 12th, 1971.
Alice and Robyn Goshorn a day after their 41st wedding anniversary in 2012.
Married in Los Angeles, California on July 10, 1982.
Michael and Cynthia Herbert in 2011.
Bob and Lori Howard married on January 31, 1981.
Bob and Lori Howard on their 31st wedding anniversary.
Paul and Clare Leger on their wedding day on August 15, 1970.
Paul and Clare Leger in 2011.
Donald and Azucena Almanza wed on September 14, 1967.
Donald and Azucena Almanza in 2010 at their son Abraham's wedding.
Sergio and Yolanda Melo married on September 12, 1981.
Sergio and Yoland Melo in 2012.
Chris and Beth Ann Chiles married on July 18, 1982.
Chris and Beth Ann Chiles in 2012 on their anniversary trip in Victoria, British Columbia.
Jesse and Patrica Beauchamp married on June 4, 1972.
Jesse and Patricia Beauchamp in 2012.
Svetlana and Nicholas Romanov on their wedding day on August 9, 1973.
Svetlana and Nicholas Romanov in 2012.
Alan Kluger and Amy Dean on their wedding day, December 28, 1975.
Alan Kluger and Amy Dean in 2011.
Hank and Dinny Dreyer on their wedding day, May 28, 1949.
Hank and Dinny Dreyer on their 60th wedding anniversary.
Dave and Jane Soyka married on June 30, 1972.
"On our 40th anniversary! June 30! We celebrated in Hawaii -- Golf at Kapalua!"
"My grandparents, John Clarke, Jr. and Janet Reynolds Clarke, have been married for 52 years. They have had three children, five grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews. They live in Mystic, CT. Here is a wedding photo..." -- Andrea Simmons
John Clarke, Jr. and Janet Reynolds Clarke in 2002 on a cruise in Alaska.
Jane and Gary Harvey on their wedding day, May 7, 1977.
Jane and Gary Harvey in 2011.
Lauren and Mark Struthers on their wedding day, July 10, 1982. The photo in front of the chapel they were married in in St. Louis, Missouri.
Lauren and Mark Struthers on their 30th anniversary, in front of the chapel they were married in, currently moved to the grounds of a winery in Ste. Genevieve, MO.
Susan and Michael Denney in their wedding day, January 30, 1971.
Susan and Michael Denney in 2011.
Gerard and Carol Terrell on their honeymoon in December 1981.
Gerard and Carol Terrell on March 5, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ at their son's wedding.
Rhoda and James Lynch on their wedding day, December 26, 1971
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