Her name was Juliana.
I met her in a coffeehouse ducking out of icy New York rainfall. I didn't notice her at first. She is that type of woman, alone, in a dark corner, mysterious. I did not plan on staying long, wished to grab a cappuccino and get back to my flat to relax.
I made the last payment on my Jeep and desperately needed to slip out of my work clothes. Credit card in hand, I walked over to Zeke, owner of the café, to inquire about part time job openings as a barista.
That is when Juliana noticed me. All it took was a slight turn of my head and our eyes caught and I was blinded. Everything around us faded into background. The only sound, my blood, pumping, sending oxygen to my cheeks, rising, as apples in October.
She motioned to me and I nodded. Slinging my leather backpack on one shoulder, I held my books under the other arm, juggling my coffee. She stood to help me, smiling as she approached. She had the softest brown eyes I ever saw.
I could stare into them forever and that evening, I did.
She spoke, introducing herself. I studied each strand of her mane, that of a thoroughbred, wild and shining. It was just past shoulder length, straight and black and she kept waving it from in front of her eyes.
She was painfully adorable.
Juliana asked if I had any plans for the evening. Shaking my head that I did not, she took my hand, leading me out of the café. Opening the passenger door for her, she slid into the Jeep I now owned. I knew a drive up Route 5 along Lake Erie would be a reprieve from the dankness of this day.
She popped a CD in the player and sang as I drove. Tilting my chin upward, I glanced towards her out of the corner of my eye. No words needed to be spoken. We both recognized that stare.
I was falling in love with a complete stranger.