"I love you, and I shall always love you."
She was saying while setting up the plates over the table. Transparent, like glass, plates, adorned with white ornaments - her favourite ones. She placed one napkin beside her plate, and one beside his.
Almost everything was set. The warm and sweet scent of their favourite dish - creamy shrimp risotto with mascarpone - filled the room with a mellow feeling of nostalgia. A sweaty green bottle of wine sat on the table waiting to be poured into the crystal glass she took from the wooden cabinet in the dining room.
I took these out just for you and me. That was our tradition, remember? As a young teenage girl, in her rusty and mouldy apartment in downtown, I was ripped from anything considered 'fancy'. I did not have any high-quality glasses. The first dinner I prepared for you was the most memorable one for me. I bought the cheapest wine I could find in the liquor store two blocks from my apartment. I didn't drink much alcohol, so I didn't have a dignified taste.
You were mortified when I started pouring wine in those two ceramic mugs, red and yellow ones. You were so unprepared for that, that you burst into laughter. I thought that you were mocking me and that I busted our date night. I was so confused and self-conscious because I truly liked you.
She was saying while pouring Tenuta dell’Ornellaia into her crystal glass.
You quickly explained yourself and made sure that I don’t overthink it.
The next thing I know, you bought me these glasses.
I was very defensive about that; I couldn’t accept your gift and I made you return it. I was so naive, I thought you really did it, but soon I realised, on our next date night at my house, that you saved them. You hid them in the counter I used to never open when I would be alone. You got to know me so quickly, you had amazing heed. I tucked all the best glasses, plates and silver wear I had in that counter and I would never open it when I would be alone, only when you would come. So, you hid them there. I had nothing to complain about.
She drank the first sip tilting her head back and reminiscing of all the memories.
I almost forgot! The candle!
She rushed over to the kitchen to get a lighter. Flame, orange and blue, overpowered the thread stuck inside the vanilla-scented wax. It felt warmer.
Those nights, after I met you, were different. Once I met you, my life changed. My apartment was no longer cold. You made it feel more like home, you made it feel warmer, like the candle I just lit. She continued speaking as she was taking her first bite of dinner. Both of us loved the comfort of my apartment that we would rarely leave. That was where we both felt safe, in our little bubble, our safe haven.
Open window; cold breeze tangling my curls. When I would be alone, I would hate on that night air as it was bringing all the smells from the street, but with you, that air was as beautiful and pleasant as our nights.
Aged, and in some places, ripped, brown leather love seat placed in the middle of the empty room was where we would sit all night. You would bring your acoustic guitar you got from your granddad. Before you would play, you would tell me stories your granddad would tell you. The one about the scar spread across the body of your lovely guitar was one of my favourites, and the one when he almost broke it when the fight started in the bar. I would listen to your lovely voice, echoing like a melody in a cramped apartment we shared.
You would never get tired of singing and playing the same song repeatedly. Your fingertips crashing over tiny wires; the melody of my favourite song and your voice like a honey glaze on the lips. “More Than Words” by Extreme; that was my favourite one. That would be the first and the last one that you would play for the night. Then our dinner would be ready.
All we wanted was right there, all we needed was around us, between us and inside of us.
The proposal. I will never forget it. Sunday, seven o’clock. You rang the doorbell. I knew it was you because I only had you. – She stopped and took another sip of cold wine that warmed her body as the breeze was crawling through her curls. I opened the door and there were you, holding the bouquet of colourful roses. “These are for you, my love.” You gently spoke.
We quickly made our way to the aged love seat and then you began.
“White rose” You took it from the bouquet and handed it to me. “The first day we met you wore the nicest white blouse I’ve ever seen. You shone so brightly between Fantasy rack and Mystery rack. Picking the books, you would take, read, and then return. I could hear you whisper… I wish I could have these at my house… You sighed. You couldn’t afford to buy them, so you had to go to the library. I was so shy that I just watched you as you were walking away with two books nestled close to your chest, both with white covers."
“Red rose” It was the next one you took and gave me. You pinched yourself on the thorn of that rose. “‘Sugar and Love’ coffee shop, near the library where I first saw you, you were there. I was sipping the warm latte in the corner of the coffee shop where I would nestle alone with my thoughts, and then you came and stole my attention. As soon as you came in you sat somewhere in the middle. I was close enough so I could gaze into your lovely face, but distant enough so I wouldn’t feel anxious. Before the coffee, you ordered, came, you had opened your notebook and began scribbling something. I couldn’t take my eyes off of your fingers playing across the blank paper. I was imagining you writing a poem. In my head, I called it ‘Rosalyn’. Soon, your coffee came. Your lips touched the ceramic cup and stained it with red lipstick. My red Rosalyn…”
“Pink rose” I blushed thinking about your gesture and your homely heart. “After some time, I summed up the courage to introduce myself to you. I noticed that you liked to read books in the library from time to time, but in an unconventional way. Instead of sitting on one of the desks and reading, you would lean back over the fantasy rack and read there. I love that about you; that gave me even more strength to come closer to you. I brought a book I saw you taking a few days back. I did it intentionally so I could start a conversation with you. I sat, leaning back over fantasy rack, beside you. May I? I asked. You smiled, and you blushed. Your rosy cheeks warmed me and cleared all my thoughts. You noticed the book I held in my hands and that was when we first started talking.”
“Black rose” I wondered why black, but you soon explained. We had wonderful times spent together, but not everything was lollipops and rainbows. We had moments of doubt and grief. I know it is a quick shift from getting to know you to few months into knowing you, but… I need to show you the moments I remember the most, for good and bad. These moments changed me forever, so here it goes… The moment that broke my heart into shreds was the moment you wore all black. Your lips barely moved, trying to compose those two words. She died. You whispered. You meant your aunt, the woman who raised you. You were still you, but the girl I fell in love with was lost, somewhere deep within your soul. Every time I would look at you, I would see black. You practically never used to wear black before, but back then that was the only colour you knew for a long time. But I needed to be close to you because if I would have left, I would be broken for eternity. But, with you, we would build ourselves up and would be whole again, and that is what we did.”
“Gold rose” I have tried to think of what you meant to say, but the thing you said, was nowhere close to what I could ever imagine. “For this rose, I do not have a story, because that story would yet to be made.“ Then, to my surprise, you pulled a tiny box adorned with gold flowers, from your pocket. I was sitting still, covering my lips with shaking hands. You knelt before me and asked me that magical question. „Will you marry me?“ The gold ring shone from inside the box, tucked inside a small black pillow. I jumped from the love seat I was sitting on and fell into your embrace. Those were the most memorable moments of our love story.
Soon enough she finished the dinner. The candle was still burning. She stood up and got closer to the cabinet where she kept her crystal glasses. On top of that low cabinet sat the white framed photo. She gently placed her fingers over the frame and rose it up, closer to her eyes. That was the photo of their wedding day, which happened three months after their engagement. I loved you then, and I shall always love you. Rest in peace, my love. She blew out the candle.