short story originally written in 2009 for a contest, now updated and filled in a bit.
Every girl imagines the day her prince charming sweeps in and whisks her away from her ordinary hum-drum life. I am no different. In my version I am checking the freshness of tomatoes in the produce aisle or dropping off the dry cleaning. Then suddenly the sun bursts through the clouds and it all becomes a world of rainbows and butterflies, unicorns and glitter. He suddenly appears as if out of no where, smelling all delicious like Irish Spring and Cool Waters. His hair is thick, dark and wavy, his arctic blue eyes sear into my soul with a heat and passion never before experienced by any woman in the universe. A rich, velvety, Australian accented voice pours like whiskey from his full lips saying,"Excuse me miss... but I believe .." I blush as his hand touches mine." ...that you..." He tenderly kisses my palm. "...are the woman of my dreams." Losing all sense and sensibility, I succumb to his sweet intoxication. We marry, living happily ever after, having beautiful babies with mocha skin and curly hair like mine and ice blue eyes like his...
BUT that's not what happened. I mean, seriously, when would that ever happen, except maybe in Hollywood or a smarmy novel?
I met my prince charming when I walked up to him and said, "Hi, my names is Charlotte. You new around here?"
He wasn't. I was. He'd been around the office for years, but had been overseas for a few months. Color me foolish!
He was tall and a beautiful mixture of Cherokee and Italian exotic-ness. His hair wasn't thick but it was dark and wavy. His eyes weren't blue, but they were a deep chocolate brown with golden flecks in the light. His voice, though without an Australian accent, was deep and velvety and as smooth as buttah. Yes, by the way, he did smell delicious, like Irish Spring and Cool Water. Every time we were near, his man-scent would tickle my senses, and I'm sure I drooled more than once.
I was bold. I would walk past his desk and pause long enough for my perfume to linger, leaning in when we spoke. I'd wear his favorite color, which was green. Or blue. Anyway, whichever it was, I would wear it so he'd notice me. I'd ask him to help me with mundane little tasks that any simple girl could handle. But I wanted him to think I needed him. After all men like to be needed, right?
As we spent time together I came to know his other talents. He played the guitar so beautifully it could make a statue weep. He had a way around the kitchen that rivaled world class chefs. The saying about still waters running deep doesn't even come close to describing the depth of this man's wisdom and insight. He had much to brag about but was cloaked with humility and grace. How could I not find reasons for us to be around each other?
I couldn't sleep at night because I would only dream of him telling me he's in love with me. I couldn't concentrate on work because I could only imagine going home to him. I was almost obsessed with this emotion I felt for him. Yet I couldn't tell him. I couldn't tell him, because I knew he didn't care for me that way. We were only friends. I didn't want to ruin this great friendship. I knew I was the girl of his dreams. He didn't.
It's been 4 years. I have to move on.
I can't. I don't want to.
I have to tell him.
I fight it. I'm terrified of declaring my love...
...I did it.
One night we were hanging out with some friends at his place. I asked him if we could go for a walk. We went for a stroll to the park down the block. We often came to this park with rolling hills, a fishing pond and blossoming cherry trees. The whole way I said not a word. My stomach was tied in knots and I could only be grateful that I hadn't eaten anything in a few hours. He looked calm as could be. We found a bench and sat down.
"What's going on, Charlotte? You can say whatever it is on your mind."
It's just like him to be so calm and comforting and at the same time making it so difficult.
So I just came out with it, "I don't want you to say anything until I'm done. I am crazy about you. I have been since the day I met you. You are the kindest, lovingest, most sincere man I have ever met and you are everything I could want or hope for in a man. You are respectful to women, talented, generous and have such a heart after God. I know you probably don't feel the same, otherwise you would have done something about it. It's just that I couldn't go one more day without telling you how I feel. I love you and I don't know when I will stop. Ok?"
My face and body were hot with embarrassment and love. Tears rolled from my eyes and I couldn't look at him for another moment. I turned away to hide my face.
"Look at me." Gently he took me in his arms. "I know and have known for a long time. I love you too, but only as a friend. I will always be your friend. I never wanted to hurt you and thought maybe my feelings or yours would change..."
He broke my heart as gently and in as gentlemanly a way as could ever be done. We continued to be friends and somehow it was never awkward. A few years later he moved away. At his going away party I thanked him for his friendship and for the respect he showed me. After past experiences with jerks, this guy really showed me what a true man was like.
I still would dream about him on occasion. I still hoped he would suddenly fall in love with me. But a few more years passed and I met a new prince. That's a story for another time.
I figure that in life you have to take chances. I took a chance. I look back and ask myself if I would do anything different. In the end, there were no regrets.