"Where the heck are you taking me?"
As our sonic blue Chevy drove us closer to the mountains and away from where I was so sure he was taking me, a sly smile crept across the corners of his mouth. He had successfully confused me. I had no idea where the night was headed.
With our hands interlocked, we walked down the softly lit streets of Manitou, with me going on about something I wasn't at all paying attention to, noticing every restaurant we were passing by and mentally checking it off my list. It wasn't until we passed the charming and, dare I say romantic, fine-fondue eatery knows as The Mona Lisa that my heart sank just a bit. I would be lying if I said I hadn't always wanted to enter into that elegant doorway and spend the night in a world of fine cheese and chocolate. That is, until yet another mischievous look took over his face and, instantly whirling me around, we walked straight into that place like the adults we sometimes pretend we are.
Dinner that night was filled with four of the most delicious courses I have ever had, sparkling wine, fondue stick fighting, lots of eye gazing, and the occasional eye rolling, sharing memories, laughing hysterically, older couples sneering at us when we're being too flirty, holding up our wine glasses, and in our best rich-snobby accents, replying, "hmm hmm hmm the economy..." (shout out to all my Parks and Rec fans!)
After a dinner of exquisite perfection, we took a stroll through the small mountain town, drenched in late summer twilight. Tourists from Kansas were packing the kids into the mini van as the night crawlers took their place in every pub and coffee lounge that lined the street. Manitou was waking with a slightly different crowd.
It wasn't long before we found ourselves in one of our favorite places, surrounded by what is called the Penny Arcade. At first, we were just browsing, but before long, I was digging through my purse, rounding up all the pennies, nickels, and dimes that I could find. Pin ball, love doctors, grip tests... the possibilities go on in a world where a few cents can bring you endless fun. The stress from work, deadlines, and of course planning a wedding all seemed somewhere far, far away. All that seemed to matter that night was the he found her, she found him, and oh how perfectly her hand seemed to fit in his.
The night was perfect and so was this last year, but not because everything went perfectly. Giving up on perfection, and the way you perceive how life should happen, is usually the first step towards pure happiness. As Joseph Campbell puts it, "You must give up the life you planned in order to live the life that is waiting for you." In a world filled with duties, demands, and deadlines, it's so important to stop and be present, live the life in front of you, write the story before you. One day you'll turn around and say, "wow, that was well written."
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