That tear in her eye, it just melts me.
What kind of soul would I have if it didn’t move me and make me want to protect her?
Listening to her tell me about Bill and her worries about the funeral, takes me back to those early dates, the first time we went for a meal together, tapas and prosecco in Cafe Andaluz.
It was when she first told me about her husbands death and I wanted to protect her then, just I like I want to protect her now and make all her sadness go away.
Like then, I can see she’s fighting it inside, trying to choke it back, but her eyes are glazing over and I can hear her voice change and I know that she’s struggling.
I took her hand and she pauses waiting for me to respond, I hold her gaze for a moment to let her regain some composure.
I want her to hear this and that I’m completely sincere.
“Don’t worry baby, I’ll be there with you, I’ll be there if you need me, I’ll hold your hand and wipe your tears away”
She smiles, a funny smile, smiling through the sadness, she takes a deep breathe and sniiffs back a tear
“Thanks honey, I don’t want to pressurise you, I know it won’t be easy to come along and meet everyone particularly under the circumstances but I’d really appreciate that”
I smile and squeeze her hand. I want to reassure her, let her have one less thing to worry about.
“Its not a problem, honestly, I’m not worried about meeting everyone, I’m a big boy and sometimes you just have to take the rough with the smooth, its all part of the deal”
So much for my attempts at being reassuring, she’s now smiling and crying, the tears are running down her face. She leans forward .. puts her arms around my neck, kisses me on the cheek and whispered “I love you so much”
Fuck, that did it, I feel myself start to well up, a combination of pride and somethig deeper, I don’t have the words to describe, its like I had been waiting for this moment, but scared off it and have been putting it off.
That feeling was relief, relief that I could open up and tell her too ..
“I love you too honey, I’ve loved you for such a long time and have been so scared to tell you”.
I pull her towards me, put my arms aroud her and kiss her full on the mouth, she kisses me back and we’re locked there for a few seconds.
I can tell she’s crying, I can feel her chest rise and fall in small spasms, so I pull away to let her settle and catch her breath.
We’re looking at each other, her blues eyes full of tears and we smile. Dopey smiles, stupid dopey smiles, eyes full of tears, but we’re happy.
In my peripheral vision, I can feel the stares from staff and other diners, looking over at this strange coouple, one minute they’re chatting quietly and the next they’re crying.
Do I care? Not a jot.
I just smile back at them and they look away but I can tell that we’re now trending as the hot local topic of conversation.
Her face is red and her eyes puffy, “I bet I look so attractive right now” she says.
“You look great honey, you always look great to me”.
I know its corny but its completely heartfelt and if you think about it clichés are only cliches because they often fit best.
She’s busy in her hand-bag, pulling out a set of hankies, offering me one, but I’m okay and just sit smiling my dopey smile.
Then the kids are back, looking at us, wondering what has happened. Claire sits beside me and asks me if I’m okay, I smile and tell ther that I’m fine but my eyes are elsewhere.
The boys are round her mum, asking if she’s alright, David and Max are cuddling her and looking at her wondering whats going on.
Jamie is giving me the evil eye. I think if he was bigger he’d like to punch me.
For all he’s a brat, he’s very protective of his mother, I have to give him credit for that.
She puts her arm round him and sits him down and tells him ..
“Everything’s going to be alright”