My plan was to write and share my recent exploits of the wonderful Los Angeles trip from which I just returned. But that will have to wait.
Tonight I am called to share another story more recent. This is a timely love story.
With the 100+ degree heat here in Chico, we did not leave for the high school track until 8:40 p.m. Don, our dog, Chai and I began our laps around the track walking quickly in hopes of getting in the one mile before dark. Around the track, we noticed two young men strategically placing tea light candles along the perimeter of the oval track. Curiosity prevailed and Don asked the busy young man what he was doing.
"It's my one year anniversary with my girlfriend and I am inviting her here to have a picnic in the middle of the field."
I can hear the "Awwwwwwwwwwwwws" even over the cyberwaves.
Is that not one of the most romantic things you have ever heard?
Our romantic hero was somewhere between 18-22 and determined to surprise his girlfriend with something special.
I offered to help as he and his friend, Andre had quite the daunting task ahead of them. Don chimed in that he wanted to help, too. Don and I completed lap number three and headed to the water fountain for Chai before returning to assist the young man.
The problem was that even with the heat, there was a strong, balmy wind that would not die down. We tried lighting several tea lights to no avail. I began to walk around the track to test different locations to see if there were any structures within the bleachers that offered enough of a barrier to keep the little lights lit. Don suggested to our hero that he walk his girlfriend around the track and point out to her his good intentions. We told him he needed to either create luminaria bags or get glass candle holders to contain the flame.
Don and Chai headed back to the car but I couldn't forsake this Romeo at his hour of need. I suggested that maybe they light the candles later on at the end of the evening in a romantic ritual of declaring their love. At that point, he called for his friend and started to take off. He hollered back "Would you watch our picnic basket and stuff till we get back?" "Yes, sure." And they ran off. . . To where?
I wondered as I stood there with the dark of night quickly descending how long they would be gone. The only two other people who had been walking the track left. I could not see Don or Chai anywhere. It continued to get darker. I decided this would be a good time to do some cool-down stretches. I tried to call Don to see where he was and tell him what I volunteered to do but remembered he had left his cell phone at home to charge. Okay..... Now it was pitch black and I am standing on the oval track all by myself and wondering what the hell I was doing. Was I crazy? Where were Don and Chai? I couldn't leave the picnic basket and walk halfway back to the parking lot to find them so I began waving my flashlight app from my iPhone in hopes Don would see me and return to join me. Nope.
I assuaged my apparent whimsy with the thought of the depth of true love that this young man was willing to go for his special lady. Surely, that was worth a middle-aged woman standing all alone on a high school field at 9:30 at night. Yes, it was. It had to be. Our Romeo has a poet's heart that needed to be expressed and I was going to stand there for as long as it took even if Don returned and tried to convince me otherwise.
Not too much later, the handsome young man returned carrying a large ice chest that was rattling with the sound of glass. I asked him what he had and he said he had gotten bunches of glass candle holders and he was now going to encircle a place in the middle of the field and set up the picnic there and then call her to finally come and meet him. My heart smiled but in the dark it went unseen.
As I was leaving I asked him his name. Jakeen (my phonetic spelling) and her name, Gisella. How poetically romantic that they weren't named Tom and Sue but their very names were audio contemporaries of Abelard and Eloise. I wished him well and told him to have a wonderful evening and thanked him for caring this much.
Walking back towards the parking lot, Don was sitting and waiting on the bench with Chai at his side waiting for me. He said he never saw my flashlight waving (Note to self: Use lighters instead of phone apps for any potential concert waving needs).
Gisella, my wish for you is that you were able to truly embrace what your poet labored to capture for you. And that for Jakeen, you continue to honor your heart in all your endeavours.
"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it."
- Ivan Panin
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