Dinner Saturday night was on the patio of a Mexican restaurant off South Congress in Austin. Sharing the table with me, my niece, her boyfriend, my friends. After a meal of good food and conversation that prompted some hearty laughter, we stood in the parking lot saying our good-byes. I hugged her then gently pushed back a bit so that I could look at her face while she was still in my arms. Before me I saw a beautiful young woman with a glint of light in her eyes and a glow of happiness around her cheeks.
Suddenly, it was obvious.
You love him, don't you?
She smiles, Yes, Aunt Alison, of course I love you!
I laugh, hug her tighter, No, babe, HIM. You love HIM.
She moves in closer, lowers her voice to a whisper in my ear, Yes, I do.
She then turns her head, searches the lot for him to be sure he wasn't in ear shot. Satisfied by the distance between him and us, she faces me, twists her expression, and looks at me in panic, breathlessly confessing, But I haven't told him yet.
I remember that. I remember when feeling romantic love for someone was safe when it was yours but admitting it, actually telling him, saying it out loud, well that was some scary stuff.
But I'd forgotten how lovely young love looks. She wears it well.