He sat at the table next to mine
At an old mom and pop diner on highway 20
somewhere near the Mississippi and Louisiana state line.
With a silver beard and knowing eyes, his lips parted, eyes crinkled, cheek bones raised revealing a veneer smile, he nodded a ‘Good day’ and I smiled back.
“Where you headed?” His eyes fixed on the Georgia tag on the only other car sitting outside in the dusty parking lot. I fumbled and mumbled a heavy-hearted “California.”
“Destinee!” he proclaimed as he sighed and sat back in his chair “Destinee Franklin, the only girl that had the power to give me a heavy heart.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a withered old photo. A young girl, with deep mahogany skin and bright eyes stood grinning in a blue shift style dress.
She looked beautiful. She looked happy. She was loved.
They were married for 47years before the “good Lord called her home”
They met when he was 22 and she was 19, back in the day when “people knew how to love.”
She stole his heart during the mashed potato dance and ran off with it to Chicago in hopes of becoming a singer.
He loved her but gave her space, making regular journeys like the one I was on, to show that special person the love and support that is needed but send a reminder of what is waiting at home.
He became a better man for her. Learning how to be kind and sensitive, caring for her through her insecurities and being strong enough to guide her when she returned home. She was strong headed but he loved her for it. She was easily complacent but he found ways to overcome it. He loved her and in time they learnt to carry each other.
As I listened tears filled my eyes as I whispered “I want to be someone’s Destinee.”