He said, “I love you.”
And she said, “I’m glad you think so.”
Yes, he was very much in love with her. Or at least, he thought he was. It just felt so right.
She was a nature girl, always dressed in earth tones and strikingly beautiful in that natural way. They spent almost every weekend afternoon together and during these times, they developed a very personal connection, a close connection.
He said “You make me feel so wonderful. I’m just so comfortable and relaxed around you. You’re not at all like those other girls.”
And she said “I love how you care so much about me.”
It was kind of an unusual love. They were totally different in nearly every way; not quite from different worlds, but close. Yet they had a peculiar connection; a unique kind of bond had been forged between them.
He said, “You bring beauty into my chaotic world.”
And she said, “You make me feel so appreciated.”
And they could go on like this for hours, fawning shamelessly over each other.
Her dark skin intrigued him as it seemed to change with her moods: sometimes the color of strong tea, other times chestnut brown and others the color of mocha cappuccino. And on rare occasions it seemed like you could see right through her. And her hair! He loved how it seemed to change color with the seasons.
And oh, how he loved those curves, sometimes it seemed like those curves could just go on for miles!
He said, “Your beauty is like a reflection of the sun and sky above and like the moon and stars at night.”
And she said “Ooh, I just love your creative use of metaphor.”
She always listened to his problems and she never complained, never judged. No matter what he told her, no matter what secrets he shared with her, she always managed to just go with the flow. She was always patient, never unkind.
He said, “I love how you’re always so very supportive”
And she said, “Well, the physics of water displacement are pretty intriguing.”
He didn’t quite understand that last comment, but he was nonetheless very impressed.
He said “Ooh, you’re so smart. And you can be so deep, too”
And she said “Well if you got to know me a little better, you’d probably find that I’m really not all that deep. “
And he said “Well I love you, all the same.”
And then she said something he found a bit disturbing. She said “You know, it’s not exactly the same.”
And he replied “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”
She said “You know you’re animal and I’m mineral, it’s just not natural.”
And it was then that he realized that sometimes she could be as cold and hard as ice.
And he passionately took issue with her: “My love for you is the most natural thing there is! Besides I’m almost 65% made up of the very same stuff as you!”
And she said “Yes, and I love how much you love me, but maybe you should find someone of your same molecular structure. I am just a river after all.”
And so he sat there, dejected along the banks of the Sangamon River, gazing upon her beauty.
Just then, a beautiful blonde walked up the path along the rive bank.
She said, “You look sad.”
He said “My girl doesn’t love me the way I love her.”
And she said “That happens sometimes. Tell me about her.”
And he said “She’s very beautiful. Patient and kind, understanding and supportive. A bit like you, actually”
And she blushed as she said “She sounds very nice. Tell me more about her.”
And so he told her about their love. He told her how they’d spend weekends together, how they appreciated each other so much. How he took care of her.
And she said “Maybe I should meet her sometime.”
And he pointed to the river “She’s right there.”
“Where? I don’t see anyone.” Then he pointed to the river again and repeated, “Right there!”
“You’re in love with a river?”
And he said “Sure what’s wrong with that?” And she said “Nothing. I love the river, too.”
And he said “You do? Our relationship seemed so personal, so intimate.” And she said “I’m afraid the river has many lovers. Probably not as many as there should be, but…”
And he jumped in “’Many lovers!?” and she went on “Yes, silly, when it comes to rivers, and all of nature really, there’s plenty for all of us to love. Plenty for all of us to enjoy, to give, and plenty for everyone to get in return!”
And he said “There is? I guess I never thought of it quite that way.”
And so he looked over at her yet again. And he noticed her blue eyes, like the sky, and her blonde hair and pale skin, like the clouds. And this time he felt something different stirring inside. The same kind of feelings he had for the river, but different somehow. He sat and thought about her and how it just felt so right to sit there by the banks of the beautiful Sangamon River with her by his side.
She was a nature girl, dressed in earth tones and strikingly beautiful in that natural way.
And he reached over and put his hand in hers as they sat by the river.
And then he said “I love you.”
And she said “I love you, too.”
And he realized he’d probably be spending a lot more time with her along the banks of their river. Perhaps the rest of his life.
PS: Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie!
Appeared as Notes from the River, Mahomet Citizen, Thursday February 6, 2014, by Scott Hays