Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Through the kitchen window . . .

May I tell you a story that features a friend of mine?  She shared it with me last week.
It's an incident that she'd watched unfolding through her kitchen window, and it's such a heart-warming story that I'm sure you won't mind hearing it second-hand.

My friend lives in London.  Her flat overlooks a busy pavement, a noisy road, and the entrance to an underground station.
Each morning, sitting by her kitchen window, she enjoys her breakfast whilst watching the world hurry past.

There are many people going by . . .  some of whom, over time, she's come to recognise.
There are the pupils, often late for school, who rush by the window clasping their homework.
There are the office workers waiting at the bus stop, looking for a bus to transport them to work.
And there are the cars that draw up by the pavement, disgorging passengers who then rush into the station to catch the next tube into town.

My friend had grown familiar with one such car which stopped briefly outside her flat each weekday morning.
From the passenger seat would emerge a young man.  Invariably, he would reach back inside the car for his briefcase, accept a lidded paper cup of coffee from the driver and then, clasping briefcase and coffee, dash into the melee at the station entrance.

However, last Friday, as my friend munched her toast, she was in for a surprise.

The accustomed car drew up . . . the passenger got out . . . but what was this?
Instead of reaching back inside the car for his briefcase or accepting the proffered coffee, he was fumbling with his jacket. Out of the pocket he drew what appeared to be a small box and . . . my friend peered forward in excitement, what was going on?

The young man had dropped to one knee on the pavement and . . . no, she thought, surely not!
Putting down her half-eaten slice of toast, my friend moved closer to the window . . . the young man was opening the box and removing a small object that gleamed in the morning sun.

My friend screwed up here eyes to look . . . was it a ring?
She had never seen the driver of the car, but the normal pattern of events was rapidly changing.
A young woman emerged from the driver's door and, clearly flushed, came to stand by the kneeling young man.

Yes, my friend decided, peering excitedly through the window, it was definitely a ring.
The young man held it out . . . the young woman looked down at  him . . .

At this critical juncture, a large bus drew up outside the flat and everything else was blocked from view.

When the bus had discharged its departing passengers, absorbed its new ones, and finally continued on its journey, the parked car had gone.
Of the young man there was nothing to be seen.
My poor friend, who had been wholly absorbed in the gripping story, was left wondering . . . had they?  Hadn't they . . . ?

On Monday, as she watched intently from her window, it was clear that the usual pattern of behaviour had reasserted itself.
But my friend is quite convinced of one thing.  As the driver's hand reached out to give the young man his coffee there was something new and sparkling on her fourth finger!

In an unsettled world, how good to share an indisputably happy story.