Julieanna Blackwell, Community Contributor
Naples Daily News
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Fortunately, the other day I found myself caught doing something many resident Floridians do this time of year. No, I was not late for my tee time. I was not heading out to the beach, or returning home from a boating excursion. I was stuck at a red light. Further, I had the honor of waiting at the same red light twice. I say that it was fortunate because I was able to witness something I don’t often see, at least while waiting at an intersection.
When sitting at a red light there isn’t much to do. I don’t text in the car. I didn’t fiddle with my stereo because it was playing my favorite CD. I had already applied two layers of lip-gloss during the previous red light. So, I sat there with nothing to do but look out the window, and that is when I saw them.
They didn’t see me, nor were they even aware that anyone was watching them. Past the wavy fog of exhaust fumes, I saw a couple walking down the sidewalk.
I grew up with sidewalks, yet in the suburban sprawl of Southwest Florida they are far and few between. I didn’t even know there was a separate pavement dedicated to walking alongside an intersection where I spend an inordinate amount of time — because amazingly the light is always red. What snagged my attention wasn’t my sudden discovery of an existing pedestrian walkway, but the pedestrians.
Now, you might expect me to say that the couple was a pair of squirrels scampering about looking for acorns, or a pair of majestic sand-hill cranes ambling out from the woods. No. What I saw was a couple walking down the sidewalk.
This couple wasn’t a pair of high schoolers dodging the school bus and playing hooky. They weren’t snowbirds on a power walk, or a set of moms out for a jog. The pedestrians passing my sputtering car were a young couple.
They weren’t dressed in the standard seasonal uniform of shorts and flip-flops. To be honest, the weather was a little too cold for T-shirts. They wore jeans and nice sweaters, which made them almost too cosmopolitan for the intersection. What set them apart was not their attire, but the way they walked.
They held hands.
I watched them slowly strolled past; their fingers laced together swinging between them like a loose knot. They were unaware of the excessively long red light, or the cars lined up for a mile, and they certainly didn’t care about the people sitting inside them. The only thing they were aware of was walking together.
They were in love.
The young woman playfully bumped into the side her young man, as he skillfully cupped her hand in both of his, and they continued on their walk. I could tell they weren’t a young couple who just met, there was a familiarly within their stride. My imagination placed them on the threshold of embracing themselves, stepping into the commingled part as an established couple. They were in love, like lovers throughout time, and for a small moment I was swept off my feet along with them. The lovers made me smile.
The light turned green. Pressing on the accelerator, inching forward into the crosswalk of the intersection, I remembered my destination. So, as I passed the young couple in love, I blew them a secret kiss for luck.
To all my fellow couples out there, embracing each other while skipping down the paved side of the street, hand in hand and in love, I wish you a happy Valentine’s Day.