on the way home one night

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"That would be 200," the cashier said.

I give him the bills and look around the convenience store.

There he is, a pack of noodles right under his nose, reading the label. I like watching him that way - unguarded, unpretentious, raw. This man inches taller than me, in an army green jacket and gray baggy pants matched up with his favorite slippers. I've bought him countless new pairs but all he did was hide them where I couldn't find them and then ask me, "Hon, could you please get my slippers?" and when I tell him I can't find the new ones, he would pull his favorites from somewhere near him and say, "Oh, here they are," in a slow, precise way with a smirk on his face. The funny thing is I didn't ever plan to sack the old ones.

He notices me and walks reaching for the bags. "I was finding the ingredients for veggie bits. Dried leek flake? It lies."

The chimes ring as we exited into the deserted street, calmness binding the city on a spell as it does every night.

He finds my hand and holds it, like magnet knowing its opposite pole. We walk steadily and slow down when we hear the faint music from up ahead. We continue walking until we reach the building from where it is coming. It is an upbeat jazzy song with lots of trumpets and clangs. He suddenly lets go of my hand, dumps me the bags, and breaks out lip-syncing the sounds with ecstatic movements. He dances. Like a big-time idiot, though with a slightly good body coordination.

When the shock subsides, I laugh, and he prompts me to dance with him. Naturally, I say no and try to run from shame, but naturally too, he grabs me, the bags spilling, and we land onto hard cement. Naturally laughing our sh*ts out too.

He pulls me in the middle of the street, orange lights shimmering in the damp all around. He breaks out a few more moves leaving me to look left and right, checking if someone's watching or if a car's passing.

The song changed, and it is the cheesiest coincidence ever.

Oh, my love.. My darling.
I've hungered for your touch, a long lonely time..

Still lip-syncing, this man attempts to twirl me on my two left feet. Realizing I really do have such talent, he holds me out, looks at me and snickers, only lasting just a few seconds though until I stepped on his open toes. Oh the triumph.

And time goes by, so slowly and time can do so much
Are you, still mine?

He holds me back to him and we begin to dance.

"Remember our first dance?"

"Yeah, the one where we stepped on each other’s toes?"

"Yup. That was actually the highlight of the night."

"Your socks filled with sand."

"Your heels sinking in the sand."

“Why we didn't toss them earlier, I don't know."

"Cos yours smell really bad?"

"And you have five, black, dead toenails. Oh and an extra toe. Each foot."

"Ssh, it's our secret."

The wind blows a little harder, we hold on to each other a little tighter. I look down at the dampness of the street as I breathed into his shoulder and as the music caresses the air with certain melancholy in the lyrics, I couldn't help but agree to it.

I need your love, I need your love..
God speed your love to me

Years ago I never thought that I'd be right here. My few friends getting married one by one, godchildren piling up and I was okay with all of that. The idea of finding love in my 40's, 50's or even 70's was okay. I was okay to give up being in love. I could live with myself, by myself.

But all of it changed when I saw this man right here, now here in my arms, once standing in a row of book shelves, tall and reading a young adult fiction with his brows furrowed. I thought it was a myth, the idea of your world stopping when you meet someone who feels like home the moment you laid eyes on them. I think I was standing there for too long when he noticed me and said, "Yes? Can I help you?" I stammered, not knowing what to do, and turned around. I hastily paid for my book and scrambled down to exit. About two minutes after I left the shop, I heard the scariest, most puzzling syllable I've heard of.


I hesitated, I debated. I was stuck on the spot, my body evenly frozen to move.  Because I knew. I knew that when I turned around, I knew my life would turn around too.

Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea

I guess everything really happens in its own moment. And this – holding this incredible man right here, right now – is somehow inked in time.

Lonely rivers cry, wait for me, wait for me
I'll be coming home, wait for me.

I clutch him a little tighter, knowing home is just right where he is.