I’m sitting in a cafe, Penneys bags gathered at my feet, coffee brewing a festive warmth. “Is your food nice? It’s lovely in here isn’t it? Merry Christmas!” He sits three tables down from me, this elderly stranger, our conversation ending as he removes his hat and joins his wife for lunch. There’s something about this moment, the most ordinary, timeless reminder of the sheer power of true love.
I wonder about the Christmases they have lived through before, the memories made and lunches shared. I know nothing about this couple, I can only speculate that they are well into their 80s and just as in love as they were when they were my age. We move at different paces as we reach for our coffees. My whole day has been a buzz, a hustle and bustle of Christmas presents and running errands, yet now, everything feels slower. Not real-life slow, movie slow. I feel like I am watching their love story unfold on a black and white cinema screen.
As age takes hold, years falling into decades, surely the heart stays constant? I know just by looking at them that their love has not frayed, their chemistry has not aged. This elderly couple do not know that their relationship is a symbol of hope for the modern woman, that somewhere, behind the Insta likes and Tinder swipes, love is nestled. The real love – the love we read about, write about, dream about.
I put my coat on, grab my bags. “Happy Christmas!” I smile, because I know that whatever life throws at them, whatever way their path veers, they will walk it hand in hand. That’s the thing about the great loves, maybe they’re stronger than life, because I do believe that they really are timeless.