It's the beginning of summer in New York City; Ava had come to Manhattan to help her Aunt Sophie with her diner. It was near the Greenwich Village, one of Ava's favorite places in the city. It had been a couple of days since she began waitressing, and everyday she'd eat her lunch at the same spot, at the same time. She felt as though she connected with "the Village" picturesque scenery.
One day, with less than half an hour to spare, Ava finished her lunch and began to stroll around the vast water fountain. She slowly soaked it all in, watching people and enjoying the sound of their laughter.
There was a small group of guys walking by the fountain, one of them looked back as he noticed her graceful stride. He kept on glancing over as he talked with his friends. He might have considered how he could approach her, had they not been on their way to eat a late lunch.
Ava returned to the diner to continue her shift; she covered the long counter and register area. Ava was waiting on two regular customers, (the local older men that sat for hours drinking free refills of coffee), when she heard a commotion coming from one of the tables in the corner. She narrowed her eyes in that direction, observing only laughter between a trio of young men.
Meanwhile one of them kept peering over, recognizing the young lady from the park. Now that he was presented with a second chance he resolved to not let it slip away. His friends were heading out, so he seized the moment to meet her at the register. She smiled, as she did with all customers, he remained emotionless.
"Can I help you with anything?" she asked a bit confused.
He just pushed his glasses back with his finger, looking down he pulled out a five dollar bill from his wallet.
"Can I have five ones please?"
Ava chuckled, "You kind of looked like Clark Kent when you did that."
She handed him back his change, this time receiving a smile back. His friends were standing outside waiting. When he walked up to them, he turned around quickly to catch one more glimpse of her, Ava had been watching all along. They made eye contact through the window until she was interrupted by another customer.
Once she was done, she glanced back but they were already far off. She bit her bottom lip, unsure of what to make of that peculiar incident. It only lasted for a minute or so, but that was long enough to leave an impression on her. Not knowing who he was, she referred to him as Kent.
The next day, as usual, she sat on her bench. Her eyes drifted off on a small group of children playing with the water from the fountain. She saw a familiar figure walking passed the background. It was Kent sauntering alone across the park. Ava sat up to see better, he kept moving and felt a gravitational pull towards his left side. When he turned his head he caught sight of her too.
He slowed down briefly revealing a charming grin, causing Ava to sit back as though she were satisfied with his response. She burst out a smile that eventually began to fade as he continued to walk off, turning often to see her, still wearing his cunning grin.
Ava was strangely fascinated by his mysteriousness, although stumped by his little amount of interest to take action in approaching her. She wondered why he was so unwilling to come to her; doubting herself, whether or not she should have demonstrated more attention towards him.
Lastly, she questioned if she'd even see him again, which judging by the circumstances of their frequent run-ins, he must live in the area…right? Ava was expecting him to show up at the diner again, unluckily he never appeared. Her night shift had come to an end, still a Kent-less evening.
A week had passed and no sign of him; no casual encounters nor accidental mix ups. His image had become a blur, but she never stopped looking around during her lunch breaks. Disillusioned; she accepted the fact that there was only a few weeks left in New York before she had to fly back home.
Ava was closing down the diner, excited to go to a couple events held down at The Village tonight. There was a small concert featuring a couple of Independent Bands, art performances and poetry readings; along with a silent film on the main lawn.
Having just finished cleaning up, she heard the door chimes sound.
"I'm sorry, were…" she paused and almost dropped her wet rag.
"Hey," he said.
"Hi there," Ava was dumbfounded.
"I was hoping to find you here tonight. I stopped by yesterday, but you were off."
"They didn't say anything to me today," Ava replied, very disappointed.
"Well they said I could catch you today so…Gosh, I'm such an idiot! I've been meaning to talk to you for so long now; ever since I saw you at the park that day. And when I saw you again, the only thing I did was ask you for change."
They laughed and all the discomfort was lifted. He walked her out in hopes to continue talking.
"I saw something going on down by The Village," he hinted.
"That's actually where I'm going."
"Can I join you?" he asked nicely.
"Of course you can," she smiled angelically.
They wandered down the sidewalk, talking briefly with no pressure to impress one another just enjoying the company. His hands hung out from his jean pockets, while she controlled her nerves my biting down on her lip.
Their walk to the park lasted a couple of minutes before they arrived. Passing through the different scenarios of entertainment, they finally grabbed some drinks and sought for a spot on the grass to watch the movie being projected on a blank billboard.
Ava was trying to read the captions, at the same time he couldn't take his eyes off her. Distracted by his penetrating gape, when Ava turned he quickly looked down, laughing.
"What are you laughing about?" she asked playfully, full of wonder.
"I'm just glad to be here."
Ava couldn't help discern a glimmer of sadness in his eyes. The mood suddenly got a little heavy.
"What's wrong?" she asked concerned.
"Nothing… Can I kiss you? I would really like to kiss you."
Ava smiled as she consented. But when he moved in she put her fingers on his mouth leaving him perplexed.
"I still don't know your name." she insinuated.
He gently brushed a couple of strands of hair behind her ear, keeping his hand there he smoothly pulled her closer and pressed his lips on her cheek, and as if they were in slow motion, he continued to kiss her on different parts of her delicate face. He rested his hand on her neck as his thumb paced across her jawline. Leaving a trail of faint kisses he finally met her lips.
Ava grabbed hold of his shirt by his waist and continued to endure this glorious moment. The music, the crowd's voices and the bright lights had faded out. His breathes grew heavier, lifting and sinking rapidly. Ava put her hand on his chest and felt immense pounding, just like hers she thought.
"Would you meet me here tomorrow?" he asked kindly.
"Yes… what time?"
"Around lunch time, I have to do something first but all should go well and I can meet you here." He instructed.
"Okay, sounds like a plan."
For the remainder of the film he simply sat right next to her, his arm leaning behind her, completely satisfied with her presence.
The next day, Ava asked for the day off. She had lost plenty of time with Isaac and she wanted to spend as much as possible, to really get to know him. It was then noon, and Ava waited faithfully on her bench. Ready, for at any minute, she would see her mysterious friend. She occupied the time rehearsing sweet things she would tell him or what places she could take him today.
Minutes kept flowing by and people kept going. It was close to one in the afternoon. Ava remembered that he had to take care of something before meeting her, so she merely assumed that he was running late.
Another hour drifted by. An hour wasted without sharing it with him, much less knowing what was going on. Was he attempting another disappearing act? She beat herself up asking why she hadn't exchanged numbers with him.
"Maybe this wasn't the exact spot we were supposed to meet at."
She began to walk to the lawn where they kissed last night. Feeling foolish if she was to find him there left waiting for almost two hours. Though once again her smile transformed in to a frown when all she saw was a man and his two dogs.
She began to spin around searching aimlessly, but all she felt now was hurt for being stood up. She couldn't wait to leave New York City.
Sunday morning, Ava was back at the diner, covering the girl's shift that had covered hers yesterday. Dullness filled her eyes as she simply coped through the day.
"Ava, some guy left this for you yesterday," said another waitress.
Her eyes lit back up. All she could think about was Isaac had left her a letter to apologize for whatever had happened. And she was ready to forgive him no matter what. She asked to take an early lunch, so she could enjoy her letter at her favorite bench, predicting that he would surprise her there.
Ava was practically skipping towards the park, excited to open her first love letter. It read:
From the moment I saw you, I was captivated by your simple beauty. I wanted to know you, touch you and kiss you. And for a brief moment I had all that. I want to thank you for the most cherished night of my life. It honestly felt like a dream. And I hope that's the memory you keep of me. If you are reading this letter it's because I didn't make it to our much awaited date. And for that I am truly sorry. Though I know you have already forgiven me, because that's who you are and the gentle spirit that you show. I wanted to share something with you that I probably should have said that Friday night, but your face was too lovely and I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing you smile. My reasons for my visit to New York, was for a personal and very expensive treatment I was undergoing. I have Chronic Heart Failure. That is why I disappeared for a while. My friends were aware of the risks and offered to travel and stay with me, in case it was the last time we could do so together. Sadly I knew that Friday night was my last chance for something great to leave with. People always ask, "If you knew you were going to die what would you do on your last day?" I believe I am the few that can honestly say I fulfilled my wish. My bucket-list is complete. I just wanted one night with the girl that would take my breath away. And you did, in the best way imaginable. If I make it through this, I will find you. And if I don't, know that you were the best thing that ever came in to my life, even if it lasted but for a moment.