It was just a sandwich.
A boring old bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
It could have been the most decadent, masterful dessert—it didn’t matter.
The consideration, care, and attention paid making it was the same. Every shred of lettuce, every slice of tomato, every layer of this boring old sandwich was laid as if it was the rarest, most precious ingredient she’d touched.
He walked loudly through the old door and it shut with a thud, rattling the window next to it.
He immediately freed his feet of heavy, leather boots and woolen socks, relieved to be barefoot once again, and continued to peel off layers of clothing while she stood and watched coyly from the kitchen. Orange hi-vis jacket and jumper, overalls, beanie, and finally a pair of blue jeans fell to the ground. He stepped free of them, wearing nothing now but cotton boxers and an oversized T-shirt.
She casually strode over to him, feeling mighty pleased with the simple sandwich she’d constructed. With a shy smile and a quick kiss, she took his hand and led him to the sofa. Hands. Oh, how she loved to hold them! The sense of security she felt when large, rough fingers entwined with hers was a feeling she craved. And his wholly fit the bill. Long, slender fingers calloused by years of labour and playing guitar, pressed gently against the back of her hand, enveloping it as he followed her.
She felt him watching her, studying her movements as she tried to calmly make her way to the living space. She took her time, taking pleasure in every step that they made together holding hands, prolonging this moment of domestic bliss.
But it was all a bit of a charade though; she was far from calm. She had butterflies making a ruckus in her belly, the drum in her chest pounding so hard she could feel it echo into her throat, and her palms were sweaty. As the heat rose into her face, she was sure she was going to burst!
Almost paralysed with anticipation, she would have been relieved if time were to stop this very instant. She could then hold his hand forever, and avoid the awkwardness of eye contact and conversation. For that was her tell. Most courting couples relish in intense eye contact, seeing it as a sign of strong affection, connection, and intimacy. But for her, she’d look away when her feelings were too strong, too intense, and so she’d just as soon break eye contact as make it.
But time was not kind, and didn’t stop, and so she swallowed hard and with a gentle smile she motioned for him to sit. She was sure he’d seen through her façade, and as she placed the plate on the coffee table, he stifled a playful chuckle and she proceeded to dutifully present him with her creation.
They sat in silence. Their eyes affixed. He took a bite and, without breaking his gaze, chewed it slowly and deliberately. It was just a sandwich. A boring old bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. But he savoured it like it was the most exquisite thing he’d ever tasted.
She sheepishly dragged her eyes away from his, and in that moment he knew.