Stella always had issues with talking about her feelings. The words just never seemed to flow properly. They came out jumbled- stifled somehow. She often felt like she was choking on all of her unspoken thoughts, so she’d finally just given up. She preferred to keep to herself and focus on the three people who knew her best: her mother, her best friend, and her cat Steve. She had believed herself content until she met Daniel…

Daniel was tall…with a smile that seemed to touch one end of the horizon to the other. She’d never had the courage to talk to him but she’d grown accustomed to watching him from a distance. They had the same class schedule so it was easy. She’d grown so accustomed to this silent victual that she’d nearly had a heart attack when she looked up and saw him looking at her. One look. Her heart stopped. She swore she was about to die. Then, he smiled. On a sharp in-take, air rushed to her lungs. It was all she could do to keep her hands from rushing to her mouth and running away. What to do? What the heck do I do?! She smiled back. Her mind was spinning…she’d just smiled at Daniel. She forced herself to memorize everything. The red shirt he was wearing with the dark blue jeans. The locker he was leaning against talking with a friend. The stupid flyers hanging on the wall advertising the last banquet they would attend as college students…after three years of longing for him in the shadows…there eyes had finally met. She knew, with certainty now, that he knew she existed. She could finally lay this thought to rest.

Forty years later, Stella sat in the sun room of the same home she’d lived in for forty years surrounded by her children and grandchildren. They loved to hear the story about how grandma willed her future husband to see her. With loving eyes she finished her story the same way and “that’s when you’re grandfather first looked at me.” Daniel’s eyes shifted from his wife to the ground. Clearly his throat he chuckled, “That’s not entirely true, love.” Stella smirked as all eyes now shift to Daniel. “So are you trying to tell me that you had a crush on me the whole time?” Daniel smiled, “No, I first saw you when you arrived on campus with your parents ten minutes before freshman orientation. Your parents were fussing because they were late and you were fiddling with the silly purple backpack that you took with you everywhere. You had a purple bow at the end of your braid…you ran right past me.” She listened in silence, tears rolling down her cheeks. He’d never told her this. All these years she’d thought he’d never noticed her until that day a few weeks before the banquet. It was as if she was just seeing him for the first time. In that moment, they decided they’d never loved each other more.