>Separately, the man and woman were noticeable; together, they could have been a perfect ad for the latest in cell phones or skinny jeans.  Attractiveness rose from their bodies in waves like heat from a Memphis sidewalk.

Edgy, too–just a bit–with an assortment of piercings and tattoos to punctuate their statement:  We are today’s “it” couple.  Curls peeked out from under the baseball cap that clung to his head at just the right angle.  As for her, she showed just enough cleavage to say, “Yes, these are my breasts, and isn’t it wonderful?”

They were beautiful people.

He and she cooed and flirted their way through the checkout line, then giggled about some private joke while counting out change.  It was a struggle just to keep their hands off each other, that much was apparent to anyone who happened to be looking.

Which was me.

And just why was I so interested?  Was it all about their good looks?  The advantages of attractiveness have been well documented—-the human being is sight-based, and better-looking people reap benefits less available to people of average looks.  But while cultures might agree on an “ideal” look, individuals are drawn to unique characteristics for specific reasons.  Jake Gyllenhaal and James Franco make me think bad things, but I harbor a significant crush on Adam Duritz because of the way his lyrics speak to me.  My personal preference is for dark eyed men, but the one I fell in love with looks at me each day through eyes of blue.

Perhaps it wasn’t their beauty that held my attention at all, but the obvious fondness with which they regarded one another.  It was a feel-good moment for me, and I looked around to see if anyone else was sharing the love.

Several feet away stood an elderly man and woman who’d likely chatted across the dinner table for many, many years.  They were observing the young couple as well, smiling as if gazing at something familiar.  As they watched, the old man reached out and took the woman’s hand in his own.

And that was beautiful, too.



  1. >Thanks for sharing this story. There have been several couples in my past whose love I envied, in a healthy way. I hoped that I would share long-term love just like they did. They were my "ideal" of sorts. How sweet that you witnessed both ends of the long-term love story of my dreams today!

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