Bob came around the corner slowly, giving the poorly lit street sign a glare that made him look like a pirate. He had managed to turn onto the correct road. Fucking finally, he thought. This place is impossible to find. He slowed and began his glare anew, giving each passing house an evil eye. It seemed tonight was the night everyone in the neighborhood had decided to leave their porch light on, so Catherine’s strategy of her’s being the only one didn’t quite work out. But despite the nerves filling Bob’s chest from running late, he managed.
He sprung from his car and came right down the walkway. He looked as though he was coming to serve a warrant. Through the lace curtains, he saw movement, and then the worry of being late transformed into the nerves that always seem to form on a first date. He stopped, ready to knock, but now too scared to do so. He held his fist near the door, took a long breath in, slowly released it, and gave a firm tap.
Catherine opened it and smiled. “Hi,” she said.
“Sorry I’m late,” Bob said. “You were right. It’s really hard to navigate these streets at night.”
She stepped out and closed the door behind her, locking it with her key. “It’s okay,” she said. “I needed the few extra minutes anyway. Are you ready?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Bob said. He began to turn toward the car, still filled with nervousness, and then stopped. He spun back around and looked at Catherine, still standing on her front step. Her brown hair was up, revealing a soft neckline and sparkling earrings. Thin white straps held on a dress that was playful in its beauty yet snug in all the right places. The dress hung low enough to flirt with the tops of her knees, and Bob caught site of a discreet anklet near her feet. His eyes poured over her like a man dying of thirst seeing water. His tensions vanished. “Wow,” he said. “You’re going on a date with me?”
Catherine smiled, seeing the sincerity in his eyes. “I’d like to,” she said.
Bob moved back onto the small lawn and allowed her to take a few steps down the walkway. His eyes were still taking her in. Catherine felt a glow pulse through her, and she gave her body a playful spin. They stood, two friends who had known each other for years, and truly saw each other for the first time.
“Have you ever been to the mountains?” Bob asked. “You know, up in the snow?”
Catherine shrugged. “Sure. My grandparents used to have a cabin my family went to for Christmas back when I was a kid. We would make snowmen. Why?”
Bob stepped closer to her, but stayed just out of reach. “You know those nights when it would snow and you’d wake up in the morning and everything would be white?”
Catherine nodded, smiling, remembering a very special Christmas morning she had as a child.
Bob took one more step and reached forward, almost touching her hand. “The snow comes while you’re sleeping and covers the world. You wake up, not noticing it at first. You bumble around and get your coffee and then you look, you see it through the window, right in front of you.” He held his hands up, as if creating the frame. “You can barely believe that so much beauty has been there the whole time, waiting. Waiting for you to just look up and see it. Then you run over to the front door and fling it open to see if it’s true, and there it is. A world of soft and silent beauty spanning as far as you can see. Endless and delicate. Perfect.” Bob reached up and took Catherine’s fingers into his own. “That’s what you reminded me of just now.”
Catherine, for the first time in her life, knew what it meant to feel beautiful. And as her body flushed with heat and her fingers responded to his soft touch, Bob enjoyed the sincerity in her eyes.