It's been a good week for romance, with painstakingly planned and adorable impromptu proposals restoring our collective faith in humanity and its capacity to love. But now, rather than a modern romance involving video games and subway cars, a decades-old love story is melting our hearts.
Nine days ago an anonymous Vietnam veteran posted a missed connections ad on Craigslist titled, "I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972." He opens by describing his role in the 1972 bombing of Hanoi, his depression following the air raid, and his decision to kill himself that day. But before "retrieving the Smith & Wesson Model 15 from the closet and giv[ing] [himself] the discharge [he] deserved," he decided to go for a walk in the rain...
And then I saw you.
You'd taken shelter under the balcony of the Old State House. You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous. Your brown hair was matted to the right side of your face, and a galaxy of freckles dusted your shoulders. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.
They retired to a cafe and talked "like old friends."
For my part, I shared more of myself than I could have imagined possible at that time. I didn't mention Vietnam, but I got the sense that you could see there was a war waging inside me. Still, your eyes offered no pity, and I loved you for it.
After about an hour the man went to the restroom, and when he came back the woman was gone. She hadn't left a note or a phone number or an address, and he never saw her again. Forty-two years passed, during which time the man married another woman and had a son; his wife died four years ago, and his son the year after. He's forgiven himself for his role in the Vietnam War largely because of the anonymous woman in the teal ball gown:
You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can't possibly imagine my gratitude.
Whenever it rains, he thinks of her. The whole thing sounds suspiciously like the plot of a Nicholas Sparks novel, but this man's testament goes to show that outrageously romantic encounters aren't restricted to kitschy paperbacks and sappy movies.