It’s a little known fact that the Issaquah Highlands is teeming with mischief and romance for this October edition I’d like to channel a little Edgar Allen Poe and sprinkle it with Harlequin Romance. This story is pulsing with heart-stopping idioms that will make you groan and roll your eyes. Percy had his heart set on a lady who lived in Ashford Park. Annabel had a heart of gold, but she was blind to the existence of this gentle Software Test Engineer whom his coworkers would describe as “a bit quirky but always having his heart in the right place.” Her daily descent off the 554 bus at 5:41pm was always followed by the lone walk up NE High Street…or at least she thought she was alone. Percy descended the Connector bus at 5:37pm each day pinning his hopes on Annabel’s timely arrival. Her steady-paced ascent up the sidewalk was met with a rising heartbeat as step after step she closed in on her duplex.
Percy knew Annabel’s route home by heart. For an entire week he had followed her from a distance, not wanting to bring attention to himself, yet hoping to catch her response to his gifts. Each morning on his way to the bus stop he placed a crimson geranium on Annabel’s front steps, embellished with a ribbon around the pot. Each evening her steps were empty, he observed, as he delayed his passage in front of her house after she shut the front door. He had hoped that maybe she would display her accumulated flowers in recognition of a secret admirer, in appreciation of the gesture, but each day the steps were empty and the porch had nothing but an Adirondack chair on display.
Percy knew Annabel loved geraniums. He discovered her adoration for this velvety plant by accident last week when he missed his Connector bus and ended up on the 554. Sitting across the aisle from him was a lovely young woman who couldn’t take her eyes off the potted plant in her lap. A plastic Fred Meyer bag swaddled her new charge and she gazed at it for the duration of the commute. Seven days later Percy stood on the sidewalk feeling a bit broken hearted that his secret daily deliveries went unacknowledged.
Saturday morning Percy rose early and purchased his eighth red geranium plant – hoping this would elicit a response. He carefully tied the pink satin bow so that it was snug around the plastic rim and gently placed it on the fourth step of her stairs. Then he retreated across the street to wait in his car. With half an eye on Annabel’s doorstep and the rest of his gaze on his hands he played out scenarios in his head of her reaction to the flowers. How she would swoon, or say, “Bless his heart!” – but Percy reminded himself of his anonymity. Disgusted with his daydreams he reached for his car keys but then stopped. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a movement in front of the duplex. Could it be Annabel? Serene eyes and delicate eyelashes glanced his way but this was not the object of his desire. A graceful four-legged creature swung away its head from Percy and leaned over the fourth step. In one nonchalant bite the deer nipped off the red blossom and began to chew. At that same moment Percy leaped out of his car and shouted at the thief, but he paused when his eyes met Annabel’s, who had flung open her front door to the sound of Percy’s yell. The deer leaped over the shrub and scampered across the neighbor’s lawn. The man and woman were left staring at each other with sheepish grins. “Are you the one with the special deliveries?” Percy made a half-hearted attempt to explain his position, but Annabel smiled and beckoned him up to the porch. She led Percy around the side of the duplex and through a gate where she paused and gestured at a planter box filled with seven bloomless geraniums, and his heart skipped a beat. “I was heartbroken seeing your gifts gobbled up by the deer while I was at work. Maybe they’ll grow back.” Percy responded, “You stole my heart the first time I saw you on the 554.” Annabel smiled in return and said, “You’re a man after my own heart.”