And it was all written on my face. Isabell smiled, doctor Richards, Jacob, was still looking at me and even Luna noticed how tense I was, her paws were on my chin, everybody seemed to be wondering if I was going to move or not.
Luckily, Lucy broke the silence and forced me to come to my senses.
-Doctor Richards, you have no other appointments for the rest of the day.
-Thank you, Lucy, he nodded smiling at her then turned back to us.
-What a pleasure to see you, Mia! I didn’t know I would see you so soon, such a lovely surprise!
-Hi, Jacob What a surprise…indeed. I had no idea you were a vet, at least not the one here!
-Yea, I didn’t mention it, I know…but you found me anyway so no need for it now. He smiled broadly, again showing off those perfect teeth. He looked so good with his broad shoulders, that enigmatic smile, dark hair and in that white coat.
Lucy was looking from Jacob to me and back, in surprise, and so was Isabell.
I started to question my appearance fast… How was my hair right now? I had my low cut grey ripped jeans on with a strappy draped black top and a pair of espadrilles. My hair was naturally wavy, wishing I had put some extra shine before leaving the apartment.
-Please, come in. Jacob invited us into his office then he approached Luna, petting her softly.
-Can I have her now?
-Sure, how do you know she’s a girl? I asked.
-I think I can tell by the bone structure of her face, Mia.
-Really? That’s cool! Luna didn’t seem to protest at being pulled out of my arms. In fact she was looking at Jacob as if she’d seen a very charming male cat, haha! He placed her on the central table of his office and she sat there without fuss, observing him whilst purring away.
-I found her last night, in my building, and she doesn’t seem to have an owner apparently so I will keep her. I don’t know anything about her or how she made it to my apartment.
-She seems very comfortable, Isabell whispered while looking at Jacob and Luna. Are you?
-I am, no worries, I smiled. I was observing how careful Jacob was with Luna and how she purred looking up at him.
-I am guessing she’s four months old. She seems healthy, she’s clean but we need to give her a bath and administer her a treatment against potential parasites and also a vaccine. We will register her here, if that’s okay with you, Mia?
-Good, good. Let me call Lucy and get to work then.
I watched how strangely calm Luna was, for a cat which usually doesn’t like water or perhaps never been to a vet’s office. Isabell was flicking through a waiting room magazine of some description which she had picked up from the waiting room.
-How are you getting along with your new found friend? asked Jacob.
-Okay, I guess…She seems to be used to living with someone as she followed me through my apartment everywhere and even if it sounds strange, she kind of answers me when I talk with her. Talking to a cat seems weird though, doesn’t it? I started laughing when I realized what I was saying… And blushed a little. So I am thinking that maybe she is lost and her owner misses her.
-I don’t think so, she has no tag. She doesn’t have indoor claws either. Most probably a stray cat. But you can post an online announcement and we could also put an advertiser poster here, if that makes you feel better.
-Yeah, that would be great! Thank you, Jacob.
-What are you doing after we finish here? Are you free or have plans for lunch?
-Ummm, I looked at Isabell, I have to grab some cat food and everything needed to accommodate Luna.
-Oh, we have a small shop too in the clinic so you can get everything from here. I can help you take Luna back to your place and arrange everything, if you want. I have no other plans and I would love to have the opportunity to take you out to lunch.
My jaw dropped. It was like I was hearing my own words said back at the apartment. Luckily, I was saved by Isabell this time.
-Oh, you guys, I could take care of Luna while you go have lunch. I would love to spend more time with her. I love kitties and she’s adorable.
I didn’t know what to say. Isabell winked at me and Jacob was smiling and waiting for an answer. Of course I wanted to go to lunch but I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole situation. Then I snapped to my senses…
-Yeah, we can definitely do that. I’d love to, as well. I didn’t really want to exclude Isabell but seeing her silently reassuring me helped me decide.
Lucy came back carrying a shining Luna, now looking somewhat aware of her new perfumed coat and very confident. Lucy placed Luna on the table before Jacob, where she squeaked a short meow as if she wanted us to acknowledge her presence.
Of course we started laughing. This cat seemed to have so much personality, I couldn’t believe it was possible. But I was also afraid that things are going to get a bit more complicated now as she was about to receive her first treatment. However, things seemed to be running smoothly, it appeared Luna had a comprehension of the time saved if she behaved.
Or maybe it was just me, overthinking and imagining things. We gathered everything needed, the kitty was secured and happy, freshly perfumed and ready to become my flat mate. Isabell took Luna and left for the apartment.
I took advantage of the time Jacob would need before being ready to leave, trying to calm my heart rate as I could feel it racing excitedly and I was sure my face would be all red and blushed by now. I silently wondered where we might be going and what I am about to find out about this man.
-Are you ready, I heard Jacob asking me.
-Yeah, let’s go. Lead the way, I said and we walked outside the clinic down the street.
-Do you mind if we go by motorbike? I know Central Park is not far but it could save us some time and I was thinking that maybe we can have a picnic. I know a lovely bakery on our way and we can grab something from there.
-That sounds perfect and I’d love to catch some sun and fresh air! I didn’t want to tell him I actually disliked speed and have a fear of speeding cars and motorcycles, I wanted to confront myself on this occasion and maybe resolve my problem once and for all.
-Do you trust me enough to come with me on my bike? He asked.
-I think so, I mean you do have records of me coming to your office and people have seen us together so I trust you’re not a speed freak willing to risk everything on a motor ride? Surely?
He started laughing and took my hand, gently caressing it while looking into my eyes.
-I am not going to scare you in any way, Mia. I just want you to feel completely safe with me and I will do my best in this regard.
His eyes had something that made me calm down. I can’t describe it, something like a deep understanding of how I was feeling and that I needed some comforting, maybe, I don’t know but I just felt like they were telling the truth. We were right in front of his motorbike that was looking appealing indeed.
I just nodded silently and put my helmet on. He closed it and helped me get onto his bike then he sat himself, took my hands and guided them onto his chest, pulling me closer to him.
-For anything, anything you want to say or do just press on my chest and I will stop, okay?
-Okay, I agreed, yet I was thinking no way I will ever do that. I am brave, I will make it, I have to.
And so we departed. My pulse raised and I felt my blood starting to speed through my veins along with the streets we were passing. I thought it was me pressing my hands too hard against Jacob’s chest when I noticed him stopping, but then I realized we had stopped at the bakery and I sighed with relief.
We got the goodies and continued our journey but this time doing a bit more turning. By the time we arrived at the park entrance, I had had enough of motorbike riding.
-Are you okay, Mia? Jacob asked me with a worried look on his face.
-Yes, it’s just that…I have never been on a motorbike before, I am not a two wheel fan, actually not even a four wheel…I didn’t even finish saying this when Jacob was already holding me in his arms and I realized I was shaking.
– Come on, let’s grab our lunch and let me take you to my favorite place in this park.
-Oh, you have a favorite place here, sweet. Me too, I wonder where’s yours but I’ll let you surprise me.
We entered the park through the northern gate and passed the lake going towards the Ravine, or so I was imagining but we stopped short at the Untermeyer Fountain.
-This is it, Jacob said to me, this is my favorite place in this park.
-How …unexpected. It’s a lovely piece of art, indeed. I like the faces of these girls, it’s like a childish game they play around water and there’s a display of naïve beauty, honesty and simplicity you can only find these days during childhood…I paused and my thoughts flew back to my childhood days when my parents were holding my hands and walked with me, it was the same feeling I felt back then. That nothing exists in this world except beauty, honesty and joy. I sighed and something deep in my heart must have slipped a tear.
-It is, but you see, Mia, I think that not only during childhood you find this beauty, these raw, genuine feelings. It’s always possible to bring them back into your life within the people close to you.
-Maybe, I don’t know…melancholy creeped in me.
-What’s wrong? He took my hand and we sat on one of the surrounding benches.
-My parents died when I was seven. In a car accident. This is why I don’t like speed. I just realized how much I miss them. These faces…they remind me of myself in my first seven years of life. I wish I could…or at least…I don’t know why I got so sensitive. I’ve seen this fountain before. When I came to New York I used to walk in the park after work and passed this place many times. But today, I don’t know…
-Come here, he took me in his arms, I didn’t mean to sadden you. I thought it’s a beautiful place for lunch. We can go to another place, if you want.
-No, it’s beautiful indeed. That’s the thing about beauty. It always has a sad emotion attached to it, it gives it that light you can’t forget, I sunk into his arms. It was so good resting there for a moment. It felt…natural.
-Tell me about your parents, if you’d like…he whispered.
-My mother, I remember she had long hair and I loved to watch it move on her back as she swayed next to my father. My father was a tall man, his hands were strong, I felt so safe whenever he picked me up into his arms. I always remember them holding hands whenever I wasn’t between them. And the light in their eyes. He was a history teacher and my mom was a medical assistant.
The day they died they were coming from the hospital. My mom had completed a long shift that day and my father picked her up from work. There was the stupidest thing that ever happened. There was a chase and a driver who was trying to escape the police. The speeding car shot out of the side road and collided with them. ..
I was supposed to be in the car too if my aunt hadn’t visited us and I hadn’t been left at home with her. They died on impact.
I like to think they somehow completed their mission on Earth so they had to pass to their next one. Being a paintings curator you see all the majestic beauty in paintings and I somehow connect them both to it. Angelic faces and heavens. I want them to be in that beautiful world instead of here, even though I was left behind. I know how much they loved me so … I just couldn’t continue.
I felt Jacob’s arms tighten around me, I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I knew deep down that they did love me immensely and that was my comforting brick.
-My aunt looked after me, she’s a wonderful woman. I visit her often and talk heart to heart. She was the one that cultivated in me the appreciation of art, during our trips to Europe. That’s why I became a curator.
-You’re a beautiful soul, Mia. I felt Jacob’s eyelashes gently tickling my left cheek as he pulled himself closer into me, his face almost hidden in my hair.
-Thank you, I giggled and slowly started to calm down and let that initial melancholy pass through me.
-What about you, Jacob, tell me about your childhood, your parents…
-My childhood was all laughter and travels as my father was an airline pilot and we used to travel several times a year. My mother is the vet you were supposed to see today, Amanda Hamilton. She’s on holiday with my stepfather. My father died of cancer when I was in high school… It’s one of the reasons I took my license as a pilot as well but only for small planes. I often truly only find myself when I am flying.
-I agree that flying is fantastic, I love skydiving and find it liberating, maybe we can try that at some point, I said shortly. How did you become a vet?
-I became a vet because I had always admired how my mother wanted to cure, help and save the beings that couldn’t talk. I decided it’s what I’d love to practice every day and wouldn’t get tired of it.
After my father died I tried to offer support to my mother, she insisted on indoctrinating me, he started laughing, with training in culinary art and dance lessons whenever we got the chance. It was like a shared activity we had when none of us was working or studying. Then later, after a while, she met Daniel and he was able to make her happy again, she’s a wonderful woman.
-I am sure she is, Jacob, just as your father was, I looked up into his eyes and I noticed that grain of light that sadness brings at times.
How beautiful his face was and how deep were his eyes. They seemed like a mirror of truth where you can’t hide.
And there, in that moment of truth, he gently approached me and our lips touched. I closed my eyes and sunk deeper into his arms and our beings found comfort through this embrace.
Time stopped, there were no birds singing, no water falling, no sound of footsteps, no wind blowing through the leaves of surrounding trees, no bees flying upon the field of flowers, no sun shining, just a soft feeling of… us.
We came back to the park smoothly, so too came the surrounding sounds and we both smiled. It was a beautiful day, 20th of June, the longest day of the year.
Jacob took out my salad lunch, then his, and we ate our lunch overlooking the fountain. We talked about our holiday trips and what we liked most about them.
Our favorite bands and what were our dreams. We got up and walked across the park, we laughed a lot and imagined trying skydiving together in different places of the world.
It was one of those times when you feel natural, in your element, and every word seems to come out in a flow of ideas you have always wanted to share with someone who has the same perception as you.
It’s funny how quickly time passes too. Without knowing it, it was almost six.
-Jacob, I promised Isabell that we go to the movies together this evening. I’m surprised she hasn’t called me yet, we have been away for nearly five hours.
-Of course, let me take you home, Mia, and the image of the motorbike came instantly back into my mind.
-Erm…I don’t know…
-Are you comfortable enough to let me drive you or we can get a taxi, if it makes you feel safe?
-Let’s walk together where we parked and I’ll decide, okay? I asked.
-Sure, definitely. I want you to feel completely safe, Mia, he took my hand again and looked into my eyes.
We got to the bike and I thought I should give it another try as I knew that if I didn’t feel comfortable enough he could always stop.
-I’ll let you drive me home, Jacob.
-You know, if you perceive or feel anything, anything at all that makes you uncomfortable, you just press your hands on my chest and I’ll stop. Okay?
-Yes, and he helped me close the helmet and sit myself onto the bike. We’re going to 6th Avenue via 26th street.
-Ready, Mia? he asked.
-Ready, Jacob, and we departed.
I could hear the wind blowing in a wonderful way, almost as beautifully as when you hear it when you skydive. There was a feeling of safety that slowly seeped into me as I felt Jacob’s body confidently driving me home. I could see a different face of New York and I focused on the beautiful faces of the people we passed in cars and on sidewalks. One thing I adored about this city was the multicultural variety it gathered and the charm of it all. Uniqueness.
Arriving home, I didn’t feel awkward anymore what’s more I was somehow grateful for this experience.
-Are you okay, Mia? How was it this time, Jacob asked.
-You know, Jacob, I think this had a surprisingly good effect on me. I didn’t feel so much afraid anymore, I think, because I could relax more, even observe people on the sidewalks. That was …unexpected, I smiled.
His enigmatic smile reappeared again and he grabbed my hand and looking into my eyes, he kissed it.
-I am glad you enjoyed it, Mia. I had a fantastic after noon with you. Thank you for it.
-Thank you, Jacob. I had a great time, as well. I must get going now, Isabell is waiting for me.
-Of course. I’d love to call you later before bed time, to wish you good night, if you’re okay with it.
-Yes, I would like that, and I let him save my number into his phone.
-I’ll see you, Jacob! I waved and went towards the building’s entrance where Mr. Thatcher was holding the door open.
-Good evening, Miss Brown! he smiled.
-Good evening, Mr. Thatcher!
How are you this evening? I smiled back at him.
-I am great, thank you. Congratulations on your new friend, Miss Brown, I hope you’ll be delighted sharing your apartment with such a lovely little kitty! Mr. Thatcher was smiling broadly and displaying an emotion of joy on his face.
-Thank you, I am sure I will be, she seems to be cuteness in disguise, indeed. I’m going now to see if she missed me today. I’ll see you, Mr. Thatcher! I hurried to the elevator as I had Isabell waiting for me and I was awfully curious about what Luna was doing. I took the elevator and whilst waiting for the 15th floor, I recalled my time spent with Jacob.
By the time I got home and through the door my face was grinning a broad smile and I felt something like an inner peace inside me.
I opened the door and I had to cover my mouth and hold myself from releasing a crazy laugh at the scene in front of me:
There were sprinkled across my living room’s floor lots of cat toys and on the couch a sleepy Isabell, her long hair hanging down the side of the couch where Luna was nestled in close with her paws outstretched and grasped in Isabell’s hair.
I took my phone out and snapped a picture to send the girls and laughed and laughed as quietly as possible so not to wake the sleeping pair.