The events of this story are entirely true.
Two people sat alone in New York City’s Financial District. It’s strange; those city streets are usually packed with business men and women walking hurriedly to their next destinations. Swaths of suited professionals bump shoulders and knock suitcases as they navigate traffic. But on one warm April night, it seemed that they’d all gone home. It seemed that they’d all let those two alone to enjoy the night’s peaceful solitude.
One of the two was a boy whose smile was more permanent than history. His breath smelled faintly of whisky. The other was a girl. Her eyes were like the heart of a flame, flashing a smooth yet fiery green.
On that night, the noise and vibrance of the city had mellowed. The urban jungle was more like a gentle meadow. One where bright, green leaves spring from the branches of tall trees. One where a soft wind brushes over the grass and reads, and the leaves dance behind the breeze’s lead.
They were sitting on a bench in front of a dimly lit building. They’d wandered there as the musings of the night had fizzled to a close. They only heard faint echoes of sounds trickle in from the heart of the city.
They both leaned back and exhaled in relaxation. The boy closed his eyes and let his hand drift slowly until it rested on the girl’s thigh. The warmth of the night bathed his skin, and she felt reassuring next to him.
He took another deep breath, smelling the earthy fullness of the air. As he exhaled, he smiled wider and began to laugh softly to himself. He thought of them both laying in the middle of a meadow, looking up at the beautiful sky and watching the leaves dance with the breeze.
Then, something struck him. He kept laughing softly. But gradually, he began to laugh harder and harder.
“What?” the girl asked, laughing herself.
“Get up,” he nearly whispered, taking her hand as he stood.
“Just get up. Please.” She looked into his eyes, and she saw that he needed her to stand. So she did.
The boy pulled her close, wrapping one hand around her waist and holding her hand in his other. She fell against him and felt his body, loose and free. For a second, her face rested against his chest, and she heard the soft beat of his heart.
He started to move his feat slowly and rhythmically.
“What are we doing?” she asked.
His eyes closed, smirking, he said, “Dancing.”
They both laughed loud, bursting the silence of the city. He started moving faster and faster. She followed behind. They swayed and swirled, not thinking about who might be watching. Moving back and forth, in circles and in lines, they flowed like cool water. The buildings in their periphery swayed with them like kind trees in the distance. They danced together, feeling the energy of life pulse through their feet, feeling the spirit of each other’s presence.
Eventually, they could dance no more. The girl gently let go. Out of breath and dizzy, the boy stumbled backwards. He put his hands on his knees to gather himself, breathing deep between laughs.
When he looked up again, he saw her standing about ten feet away. And in that moment – her standing there, illuminated by the lights of the city – he was paralyzed.
She turned and saw him staring. “What is it?” she asked.
“I just…” he started. “This looks like it should be in a movie.”
She laughed. “What do you mean?”
The boy shook his head in disbelief. “You. Standing there. It looks like it’s straight from a movie.”
She smiled sheepishly and started to walk towards him.
“Wait,” he breathed. “Don’t move.”
“Just stand there. Stand there for one second.”
She took a step back. He took a few steps back, too, so he could see her more clearly.
And he stood, looking at her, wondering why he deserved to see her there, thinking that maybe there was a God, and that if there was, then God was good, and if there wasn’t, well, then he was the luckiest person on the entire planet.
“Wow,” he whispered.
She smiled and started to move.
“No,” he blurted. “Not yet. Just one more second.”
She stood still. He steadied himself, making sure that his vision was pure and still. Then he raised his hands and made a square with his thumbs and forefingers. He centered the girl in the square, and, at the right moment, he blinked once, hard, saving the moment in his memory forever.