I’ve always found interesting how people can share a bit of themselves to strangers, knowing nothing about the other, but feeling comfortable to share a piece of their life. For some people, it is nothing, just a brief shiny light on a whole life. For others, it is the story of their life; a story meaning so much that you cannot believe that they’ve put in your hands such a treasure. It is a treasure that you’re meant to keep and protect, because if you don’t, it feels as if you’ve betrayed yourself. I won’t betray the words and confidence that I got through the years in naming people, but I think some stories are too beautiful to let them unheard. Fairytales are not only in dreams; some happens. As this one…

***

One day, I met this couple in they’re seventies. They were from Virginia. At first, nothing in particular could’ve been said about them. A couple as any other couples. Retired for some years, they were enjoying life together surrounded by their children and grandchildren. The man could talk a good, not perfect, but nonetheless a good French. Intrigued, I asked him where he had learned French. His wife, a beautiful and kind woman with sparkles in her eyes, smiled to me whispering on a teasing tone, “from his French ex-girlfriend.” To my surprise, her husband reddened and made a shy smile to his wife looking at her, as they were alone, back in time, as if they had just met and fell in love. In this look, there was so much love and complicity; it was stunning. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was enough to see that even after so many years together, they were totally, unconditionally, still in love as if it was the first time. A life of love, as in our fairytales. “A miracle,” according to the lady. And then, she told me their story, a love story as in a book or in a movie.

            They met in Geneva, Switzerland. She was a young twenty-five-year-old employee at the American consulate. He was a young US marine on post outside the country. The day they met for the first time, he was at the consulate to bring some papers. She did not say how he was looking, but from her eyes, you could guess easily that he was, without doubt, breathtaking in his uniform. She noticed that he had a ring, but on his right hand. She found it strange since “US marines could not be married when on duty outside the country,” she informed me. Then, he came back to talk with her. In talking together, they learned that both of them were already engaged. However, they met again, and again, until he asked her, “when do you know when you’re in love?”

            During their love affair in Switzerland, she told me that one night around eleven in the evening, they met in the Ambassador’s office and made out on the couch in the office. “Make out at this time was not like today,” she added to be sure that I was not thinking that something naughty could’ve happened. She laughed about remembering this moment, because “her brown hair was usually nicely kept up with small pins,” she said, and the following day, the ambassador shared a note with all the employees saying that he didn’t mind people working in his office and relaxing on his couch, he just wanted no pins in his back…

            When time to get back at home came, they were afraid that this idyllic moment was just what it seemed to be, a love story with no future… Back at home, they continued to meet as two young people, and six months later, they were saying “I do” in a small church in Washington D.C.

            The lady kept talking about how their life was. At first, military life was fine for her and her husband. They had two children one after the other. The first ten years, they moved from military bases to another, even moved to Japan. After a time, for their children’s sake, her husband decided to retire from the US army. She concluded her story on “we met when we were twenty-five and we are together since then. Fifty years now…” And, she looked at him as he was taking their bags to go… And they shared that special look that only love can be meant from it.

***

This story is a real one. Love can happen anywhere at the most unexpected moment. You only have to listen to it and take your chance. In the case of these two people, it is what happened. They were meant to be together, but their obligations tied them to two people who were waiting. However, they followed their hearts and their “miracle” happened. Life is full of surprises… and I can only thank this lady for the chance to have given me a glimpse of what true love is…

People come and go in a hotel. Life keeps going for everyone once they passed the front door like an end to a good story. When we get the chance to hear such a story, shared by a happy couple that was so beautiful to look at, we consider ourselves the lucky ones.

 Émilie Moutou

 



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