“You love him. I’m half blind, and I still can see it all over your face.” The old man continued staring at my laptop screen as he spoke. “I’m 80 years old and I know love. When you’ve loved as much as I have you just know it when you see it.”
I glanced at the picture of my Piano Man on the screen and simply said. “I do love him.” I was trying to keep it short because I had some writing to revise.
“I met my wife on a ferry boat.” The old man looked up and then around. “The boats were much smaller then. I worked in the snack bar. She sat on a stool and asked for hot cocoa and pie. It was so cold that afternoon.”
I forgot about my work and started to pay attention. “So what did you say? How did it all start?” I’m a sucker for a love story.
“She bought hot cocoa and a piece of pecan pie.” He smiled and I noticed that he was missing most of his lower teeth.
“So she just walked in and bought cocoa? “I was dying to know the details, but I’ve learned that you can’t push a natural story teller too much, or the story might lose its goodness.
“Oh but the beginning wasn’t sweet. She just sat around. I served a few customers and then asked her if I could help her. She told me she was thinking about it and I thought she was looking at me, but I wasn’t sure. Then when the boat left the dock, she asked for two hot cocoas and two pieces of pie. I gave them to her and felt dumb. I thought she liked me, but it was obvious she was with someone.” He stopped talking.
“Oh wow. I’m sorry.” I wanted to make him feel better. I stayed quiet too.
He broke the silence. “She started eating the pie and asked me if I was hungry. I was confused, so I didn’t say anything. My boss had been paying attention to us and told me to go on a break. I was really confused after that because we never took breaks when the boat was moving. But my boss gave me a stern look and told ‘go and eat the pie.’ I went around the counter, sat next to her and ate the pie in about 4 bites.”
“You were hungry, huh?” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Not really. I was just really nervous and shy, but she wasn’t and that helped. She told me ‘Maybe you can buy me pie tomorrow? On land?’ I said okay and we agreed to meet by the pier the next afternoon. I married her 8 months later. I ride the ferry to celebrate our anniversary.”
“Wow! Today’s your anniversary!” I wanted to give him a hug. I love romanticism.
“Yes, our 48 years, 3 months and 1 day anniversary.
I looked at him and he rewarded me with a toothless grin. I smiled back and thought I really love this type of New York moments.