We met in a quaint coffee shop one quiet afternoon. The persistent sun shone through the oval window onto his table where he was reading a dog-eared P.G. Wodehouse. He was in his own world full of chuckles. As I dropped two sugar cubes into my flat white, he laughed deeply, dimples forming in his broad face. I stirred my coffee, and he laughed again, and again, until he glanced around, realising he was no longer in his own world full of chuckles, and spotted me. His dimpled cheeks reddened. I broke into an amused grin. We got to talking about Jeeves.
Eventually, we made plans for a dinner date. We never expected to have to put it on hold due to a pandemic and instead get to know each other through a webcam. Our video calls piled up until we could meet again, at a distance, wearing masks. I never realised how little I looked at another person’s eyes before. His were beautiful, caramel with amber flecks when the light shone. The more we laughed, the harder it was. We wanted to interlace our fingers like daisies, brush lips like colliding waves, embrace like colours in a rainbow. We wanted more, and then we got less. We lived in different cities, and could no longer meet up.
But he wouldn’t give up. He phoned me on the 1st December, holding a takeaway coffee, having instructed me to go to my local too. I quickly ordered my flat white and smiled at his dimpled cheeks on my scratched phone screen. ‘So,’ he said, clearing his throat, ‘I propose we share advent together. Every day, we buy a coffee from an independent café and send each other a photo, or video call. We help the independents, and we have some fun in the lead up to Christmas. How about it?’ And we did.
On the 25th December, he turned up at my parent’s door, where we were merry and pink-cheeked, and had two coffees, wearing a mask that read, ‘Marry Me?’.