I went out to take pictures late this afternoon. It was bitterly cold–way colder than I’d expected or dressed for. I didn’t know the weather had changed. I’d been ensconced on the 17th floor of a hospital helping someone I love get through a surgery for the past 3 days.
Despite the cold, it felt good to be out. I took a bunch of pictures, none of them really worked, but it didn’t matter. I ran some errands and bought coffee beans. I felt like I do when I come home after a long trip.
As I was walking back to my place, I saw an attractive young man on a skateboard waiting at a red light. (What skateboarders wait at red lights? I thought to myself.) When I got closer, I saw he was holding a small bouquet of flowers. Adorable–they must be for his girlfriend, or maybe his mom, I thought. This could be a cool picture. The flowers looked surprisingly small in his large hands.
“Hey there–I’m wondering, can I take your picture?” I say.
He turns. “Um, sure.” He moves a little to the side.
I snap a couple. What a handsome face, nice smile. I back up and take some more. He asks me why, what this is for, and I tell him I just like to take pictures of people on the streets of New York. If they want it, I’ll give them a copy, I say.
“That’s funny, how crazy, I mean, it’s sort of like what we’re doing–”
“My wife and I just started this thing where everyday we give flowers to someone on the street, a stranger, not someone we know. Just as a surprise. Just to make them smile.”
He looks totally sincere. Even so, I am incredulous: “Really? That’s amazing, that’s really amazing, how sweet.”
The light changes to green.
“Can I give you these flowers?” he says.
“Can you give me those flowers? Are you serious?” I honestly feel like this is as close to a proposal as I have ever gotten or will get in my life. “Yes, yes, absolutely.” I start to tell him about the past 3 days, how stressed out and tired I am, and how unexpected his flowers are, but he doesn’t need to hear my story. That’s not what this is about. The handsome young man on a skateboard in the West Village puts the flowers in my hands, and smiles softly, as do I. He pushes off with one foot and rolls away.