“Oh! I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else…someone I’m supposed to meet here…”
Henry kept talking…almost as though he couldn’t stop. But I took another step.
I really couldn’t help myself…he sounded so puzzled…so flummoxed…so un-Henry like…that I had to laugh…
Yes. Yes. The laugh he had been listening to and apparently loving for the past few months…my very “unique” laugh…
His head snapped around and he started to reach for my arm.
Suddenly. It was ‘the perfect storm’.
Three little boisterous boys came racing down the aisle after a visit to the bathroom in the back of the restaurant…
I quickly moved to get out of their way…but I was not quick enough as one of them bumped into me…
So…as Henry turned away from the table, reaching for my arm…my cane got caught on one of the spokes of the wheel chair that I did not even know he used!
I let out a cry as I started to fall…but Henry caught me and I ended up in his lap.
I looked at him and then down at his chair…
His laughing eyes looked quizzically into my surprised ones…
“I bet you didn’t expect this…did you? Vietnam…second tour…Bouncing Betty…”
“By the way…where the hell were you going, Karla?“
I was almost…but not quite speechless…
“You see…when I first saw you sitting here and you watched me walk in…I saw your eyes start to narrow and you tilted your head…”
“I thought perhaps you were disappointed at what you saw…” I started to falter at this point. I was feeling quite stupid.
“Or…: Henry interrupted patiently.
“Or…maybe the sun was in my eyes as I was trying to clearly see as well as desperately hoping that this beautiful woman walking toward me would be the incomparable “Annabelle”…the one with the sexy laugh.”
“Oh…” I said quietly. “I guess…” I had no snappy return for that.
Henry looked over my shoulder and motioned for me to turn around.
“We have an audience who appear to have almost stopped breathing…” Henry said.
When I turned and looked, there was a small group of diners who had gone suddenly quiet when I had cried out as I had fallen into Henry’s lap.
I turned back and grinned at him.
“So…what’s our encore?” I asked.
And then he kissed me…on a brilliant fall afternoon in the Canal Park Cafe overlooking Lake Superior…
And everyone clapped. Because…who doesn’t love a happy ending.