He was overcome by the scent of her perfume, the same his wife had worn all through their short marriage.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” he said, when their lips were less than a centimeter apart.
She pulled back, her eyes wide with surprise, “Did I do something wrong, Stephen?”
“No… No, it’s nothing you did… It’s just, I lost my wife in an accident four months after we married. You’re wearing her perfume and… Well, I only just decided to date. I’m just… I’m not ready. I’m so sorry, Sophia. I thought I was.”
Her brown eyes softened, “Oh, Stephen! I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you were dealing with that. Should we end the date or would you like to get a cup of tea and tell me about her?”
“Tea would be nice, actually.”
As they ducked back through the door and out onto the street, Stephen thought about how much he appreciated Sophia’s easy compassion. Perhaps the date wasn’t quite over after all. Perhaps he might love again… If they took things slowly. He reached for her hand as they walked, flashing her a nervous smile. He hoped he could follow his heart.