We met in a coffee shop

Devil in the Details

Julia Bertolero_online

Every few days I go to this coffee shop by my house to study and, nearly every time, I see the man who will undoubtedly become the love of my life. He just doesn’t know it yet.

When I first saw him, our eyes met only briefly. He quickly returned his gaze back to his book (he’s shy, obviously) while mine proceeded to sink into a long, enamored stare in his direction — pretty much continuously until he left.

In the weeks that followed, I really got to know him and I realized that we’d be perfect for each other. For example, he always drinks black coffee, which shows how he isn’t a weak-ass loser and that he takes things bullshit-free — all of the frills of lattes and macchiatos do not appeal to him.

He is also incredibly kind and selfless. One time, when he was getting up to bus his own dishes (what a stand-up guy), he also grabbed the ones that were so carelessly left on the table next to his. It was such a beautiful act of charity that really showed how much he cares and how conscious he is of others’ feelings. That’s a guy that won’t break my heart.

But what really gets me about him is his intelligence. He’s always either buried deep in his books or taking long pensive stares out the window. I mean, he seldom even notices my constant (creepy?) glances towards him. Then again, he could just be playing hard to get. He’s so funny like that.

Once we’re together for real, we’ll sit at the same table. We’ll date for a while, until he finally confesses his undying love for me in a nervous whisper before the backdrop of a cool autumn sunset. We’ll both graduate with honors, spend years travelling the world together, and then settle down in a small house on a hillside with our three German Shepherds (two girls, one boy). We’ll have mutually agreed upon the hypocrisy of marriage, so we’ll instead choose to share in a beautiful, non-legally binding, but still very deep and loving, relationship for the rest of our days. A classic love story.

The only problem, then, was actually talking to the guy. I mean, I was so certain that we were destined to be together, but just knowing that added all this pressure to our first real meeting. This was set to be the quintessential “How did you meet?” story that we would tell to everyone else for the rest of our lives. It had to be perfect.

There was also that very small, but very real, shadow of a doubt that this first meeting could go poorly. I’ve never been so good at first impressions, and even though he’d already made a great one, I could end up jeopardizing our entire relationship if he didn’t immediately swoon during that first conversation. Did I really want to risk our whole future together like that?

And, honestly it’s not my fault, this whole fated destiny that hasn’t actually been realized (yet). I blame the clichéd Nicholas Sparks novels, I blame the stupid Disney movies with the princesses who always find their prince, I blame the unfailing dreams of all the hopeless romantics in the world that have somehow, without my realizing, slithered their way into my subconscious.

So then I was left to marinate in my nerves, knowing full well that Cupid had only done one half of his bidding, that I was going to have to make up for his sloppy work, and that the future could only collide with reality if I let it.

But I guess that’s the thing about expectation: It only creates opportunity for future disappointment. If I were a smarter, more rational person, I wouldn’t have thought about it so deeply, wouldn’t have dreamed up this whole stalker-esque relationship for us. Instead, I would’ve simply kept my expectations low, assumed possible rejection and worked up the guts to actually speak to him out loud — outside of my overactive mind — inferring nothing about our possible (inevitable) destiny.

But it’s already happened, the damage is done, and now I will only ever be able to compare a potential real life relationship with coffee guy to the one in my head. So, rather than let reality tarnish the flawless illusion of our fantasy relationship, I will simply let them coexist within their parallel universes.

Coffee shop guy and I will have an everlasting relationship in my imagination, in a place that will forever be referred to as the future. And, let me tell you, it’ll be great.

Julia Bertolero writes the Friday blog on the details of everyday life. Contact her at [email protected].

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