a single almost-Romeo and Juliet moment. Catching eyes from across a not-so-crowded nursing room lobby, the television playing the 6-o-clock news dully in the background - nothing new to report since the 4-o-clock news.
It wasn't the meet-cute they'd imagined 50, 60 years ago, their eyes starry with the romantic comedy relationships and marriages of their friends' lives.
One day, their friends had whispered in the dark of a movie theatre, their other arm around a new girlfriend; their hands trembling as they brushed hair out of their eyes to make a place for the veil; their whole body shaking as their beautiful wives clung to their hands and the doctors asked for "one more push!" One day.
One day, they'd learned to tell themselves as another February came and went with no roses on the doorstep or special lingerie picked with them in mind. One day, as the younger generation learned how to hold hands, sweaty palms in their parents' basements, and still they didn't know themselves.
And they'd thought one day had come and gone, brushing past them in its rush to get to its one man or woman, forgetting all about them on its way. Somewhere along the line, they'd forgotten all about that whispered promise from years so long since past; they'd forgotten the pain of being the only one left alone and had bought a cat to sleep on the other side of the bed.
One day, one day stopped passing through their minds; they'd locked it up in the back of their memories, told themselves to forget it; that one day was a fairytale told to those who don't get the storybook ending. A consolation prize that never comes to pass.
And now one day had come, brushing in through the curtain-less windows, weaving around the wheelchairs and Rummy cards, landing right in their lap and pulling their focus across the room to one of the so many people they'd stopped noticing years ago.
One day came, in the back of a nursing home, the 6-o-clock news playing in the background, for two people who had forgotten what one day was.