Learning to Love

I write romance stories: fanciful tales where girl meets boy in some improbably mundane location and somehow they end up falling into bed and into love in some order. They’re kind of silly, really.

I was in the grocery store when a woman reached around me to pick up a carton of instant hot chocolate. I felt her warm breath on my ear as she whispered, “excuse me, love” and wrapped her arm around my waist to steady herself. I held my breath until she let go; I couldn’t really tell what I was feeling but I didn’t want it to end.

I turned and looked, and she was beautiful. Her silky chestnut hair framed a lovely and perfectly made-up face; not like my mousy brown ponytail and plain looks. Her eyes were like dark windows into infinity and her slight pout just begged to be kissed. Maybe the reason I’d never met a guy I liked was that I simply wasn’t straight. She broke the mood with a laugh.

“We seem to have bought the same items.”

I looked down and she was right. All the same items sat in both our baskets. I chuckled and asked her, “What else are we picking up today?”

“A bottle of powdered garlic, a box of tampons, and a small pack of rum-filled chocolates.”

It was like she’d read my mental list, except for the chocolates, but that was too good an idea to pass up. We finished shopping, then topped it off with a light dinner at Steven’s on the wharf. She ordered first and chose the cobb salad and scampi, which is my favourite.

We chatted for hours; it turned out we were both from Denver but had fallen in love with Cape Cod, we’d both been tom-boys as little girls, and were both looking for the right man without success. By then I wasn’t sure if that last one wasn’t a bit of a fib. Weirdest of all, we were both named Diane.

Everything about her fascinated me: her lopsided smile, the way her hair caught the light when she moved her head, the faint smell of jasmine from her body wash. When she suggested a walk on the beach I went eagerly, despite the fact that we were each carrying a bag of groceries. At least they were non-perishable.

We found ourselves standing barefoot in the breakers with our parcels and our shoes a few paces back. The moon was rising over the Atlantic, turning the whitecaps to gold. My arm was around her soft waist and her hand rested gently on my hip.

She leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Do you love me, Diane?”

I started hyperventilating as I turned to her. “What?” She’d spoken from my heart and it gave me butterflies.

“Do you love me?”


“Then you know you can love yourself. And that means you can love someone else. Find them.”

She kissed me; my body pulled close to her, clinging to her warmth as she slowly faded away. For the first time I understood real love.

My stories don’t seem so silly any more.