Natasha peered anxiously at her reflection in the mirror. Was the lipstick too bright? Had the eyeliner smudged? Was her hair too frizzy?
“My, my! Aren’t we all dolled up today!”
Natascha spun around to find a smiling Anna standing in the doorway.
“Oh, Anna” she said, “don’t tease me.”
Anna crossed the room in a few quick steps and engulfed Natasha in a hug.
“You look as pretty as a picture, dearest” said Anna “your new friend does not stand a chance. He will be head over heels in love with you before the evening is over”
Natascha blushed to the roots of her hair.
“Anna” she admonished in a mock angry voice “I barely know the man. We are meeting for just a cup of coffee. It’s not as if I am going on a date with him”
“Well, well. As they say, a lot can happen over coffee” Anna teased as she exited the room.
Natascha pirouetted before the mirror. Excitement had added a radiance to her face, a sparkle to her eyes. Despite her denials, she did feel like a teenager on her first date.
A week ago, she had been without a friend. A loner by nature Natasha preferred the company of books to people. She had been sitting by herself under her favourite tree reading poetry by Lord Byron, when in a deep baritone someone recited “she walks in beauty like the night, of cloudless climes and starry skies”.
Startled, Natasha gazed up into a pair of blue eyes, the colour of an Indian summer sky. They crinkled at the corners as he smiled at her and then plopped down beside her on the grass. He did not introduce himself and neither did she. Instead they shared poetry, quoting from their favourite poems, arguing over their favourite poets. While Natasha loved the romantics like Byron and Shelley and Keats, her new friend was a die-hard fan of the innovative free verse of Walt Whitman.
They met a couple of times over the week. Natascha learnt that his name was Jeremy. But that was all. Like her Jeremy too did not talk about his life, past or present. Instead they discussed poetry. Every time she met him; Natasha felt a soul connect. As if she had known him for years, as if they were two verses of the same poem, one incomplete without the other.
Jeremy watched Natasha come towards him. Her beauty made him catch his breath. He held out the bouquet of lilies he had brought her. The florist had suggested a bunch of roses, but Jeremy knew that Natasha would prefer lilies. He just knew.
Dr Anna watched the elderly couple from a distance. Married for forty-nine years. Anna knew that a married couple developing Alzheimer’s disease at the same time was not unusual, as care-giver spouses had a high chance of getting dementia.
But to fall in love with each other again? Now that was a miracle!
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