The first time she saw him, she was doing her dishes. Washing up her plate and glass. Her knife, fork, and spoon. Washing away the evidence of a dinner for one.
It was love at first sight, though she could not tell you why. He was simply walking down the sidewalk, one hand in the pocket of his suspendered trousers, the other hand holding a book about four inches from his spectacled face. She was finishing up her silverware, and when she’d looked up for a few seconds to escape the steam from the sink of hot, soapy water, she noticed him out her window.
And here she is again. In her kitchen, preparing to wash her dishes. She is waiting, too. Waiting for a glimpse of a man with a book. A man she loves but has never met. Feeling as though one more evening of her life is slipping away. Tears slide down her cheeks, though they could just as well be beads of sweat from the steamy water that is slowly filling the sink. A squirt of liquid dish soap erupts into an explosion of suds. Sends a cloud of rainbow colored bubbles high into the air. She reaches for her dirty glass, plunges it into the waiting water, and starts to scrub it clean.
With a sudden surge of courage, she shakes the water from her hands, grabs the book she’d previously set out on her gray Formica counter, and sets in motion the plan she has been rehearsing for weeks. She is tired of waiting for her destiny to come to her. Today she is meeting it head on. Walking in his direction while pretending to be engrossed in her own novel-and bracing herself for the carefully orchestrated collision that will change the course of her life. Books will fly. Glasses will be knocked askew. And a heart will be won.
The last rainbow colored orb of soap breaks, and she wonders how long she has been staring at her motionless hands, still immersed in the soapy water, clutching the glass.
Tomorrow, she reassures herself. There will be more dirty dishes tomorrow.