"When Snowflakes Fall in Love"

October 27, 2008
By Kate Motsinger, Indianapolis, IN

The tiny bell above the door
Jingles shrilly as another customer enters,
Rubbing frostbitten fingers together
And stomping snow into the welcome mat

The plump maître ’d bustles out,
Jamming a pen into frizzy orange hair
And adjusting bejeweled spectacles.
Her painted face splits into a wide smile.

The newcomer is ushered into a seat
Tucked in the far corner of
Lulu’s Petite Tearoom
Beside a small window.

Beyond the frosted panes,
Snowflakes are falling in love,
Performing intricate figures on the wind
As they travel from the country to the city,

Whispering their tidings
To the unsuspecting lovelorn
Of Cupid’s plans
For their searching hearts.
China tinkles in the background
As flushed waitresses squeeze between tables,
Laden with trays of tea and finger sandwiches,
Which totter dangerously above the heads of young lovers.

Nat King Cole croons out of the vintage radio
While hundreds of suspended paper hearts sway
To and fro in the radiator’s waves.
A waitress dumps a cup of tea in front of him—

Sloshing its contents onto the saucer and
The lace tablecloth below.
Turning the single rose over in his hands,
As he turns his speech over in his mind, waiting, waiting.

The bell trills above the door.
Looking up from his lap,
There she is, cheeks rosy from Jack Frost’s kisses
And eyes sparkling sapphires in the early afternoon’s rays.

She locks eyes with him,
Tugging off a knit wool fedora
To reveal chocolate cascades of hair
As she seats herself opposite his shaking frame.

The box in his jeans’ pocket
Digs into the side of a jiggling leg.
He sees her cherry lips move,
And hears himself respond mechanically, rose forgotten.

She stirs her tea ‘round, never sipping it
While he shreds a napkin beneath the tablecloth.
An outside force seizes control of his body,

Making him whip the box out of the pocket,
Knocking his tea over,
While limbs struggle to arrange themselves
Into a composed creature, bent at the knee.

The words stumble out in a confused rush
As he fumbles to open the little velvet ring box.
A hush falls over the tearoom,
Heads swiveling to see the events unfolding.

At first, there is absolute still.
And then her answer, dangling in the air to be
Born away on Cupid’s winds, a beacon to illuminate the world.
In a word: “yes”.

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