Saturday, January 12, 9:00pm.
It was a beautiful, calm Saturday night at the BLVD Bistro & Bar. Although the temperature outside was below freezing, the bright, colorful city lights that shone through our long glass windows warmed up the room. Guests from the Wyndham hotel next door filled the space. Over at the private corner booth sat a lawyer working on a case, typing away on her laptop. Sitting at the bar table were two young ladies from Boston enjoying their Japanese Echigo Beer. What struck me the most that night was a young couple who sat at the communal table located in the center of the bar, inches away from the cozy candlelight. Sitting across one another, the handsome man and beautiful woman stared deeply into each other’s eyes -- not a second wasted on anyone else or their surroundings. They ordered a bottle of UKO Malbec, a red wine made with fresh red berries spices, and florals -- releasing a sweet, aromatic scent. They also ordered charcuterie platter, pork shanks, and a flight of High Voltage whiskies. Their hunger and thirst was as strong as the love they share with one another.
Love was in the air. It has been a while since I last saw a couple so enamored -- the type of affection only seen in romance movies. Witnessing an intimate moment being shared, I asked the couple if they would want to sit by the cushioned booth at the back of the bar so they could have some privacy. They told me they didn't want to move because all they needed was each other. Every moment they spent with each other was precious -- not a second would be wasted.
Henry and Catalina, the two love birds, shared their story with me. Their story begins as children, when they both lived and grew up together in the same neighborhood. As they grew, so did their friendship, eventually becoming best friends. However, because they attended different colleges, they lost contact with one another and eventually, their friendship faded. Years later, however, they randomly bumped into each at a café. It was this moment when they both realized that their relationship wasn’t just a friendship, but something deeper and more profound -- a one-of-a-kind communion. The hidden fire between Henry and Catalina was immediately reignited.
Despite living in different countries, they took a leap of faith and decided to give love a chance. They were confident that their love was strong enough to overcome distance. And so a few times a year, they would fly out of their countries and meet up somewhere in between. The BLVD Bistro & Bar was their chosen destination.
Deeply moved by their story, I had to give them my two-cents. I told this young couple that love, second chances, and spontaneous opportunities lie on a conveyor belt. You can either grab them or let them pass you until they disappear into the unknown. And because these opportunities are so rare, you must risk it all and grab them -- love conquers all.
Genuinely appreciating my input, they thanked me for my kind words. Their expression of gratitude was followed by a group hug and a bunch of photos being taken. They even invited me to their wedding!
The couple stayed at the bar until closing time -- 1am. At this point, Henry and Catalina were the only ones left at the bar. But before they left, Henry asked me for a favor. “Would you play a song for us?” Henry asked, a tinge of breakage in his voice. “Of course,” I replied. “What song?” “Layl's "Te Prometo" he responds, the title translating to “I promise”. As the song played, they got out of their seats and fell into each other’s arms in a warm embrace. Hands interlocked and bodies centimeters away from touching, they slow danced by the large glass window. City-lights entered through the window and reflected against the mirror, projecting the couple’s silhouettes against the wall -- their shadows moving gracefully to the rhythm of the music. Once the song was over, I hit "replay" so they can continue their dance.
This is what unconditional love looks like. I wish them the best in their eternal future together