I was a very romantic 17-year-old and regularly indulged in British literature. I also watched romantic comedies which filled my imagination with all kinds of wild ideas. One day while pondering why I didn’t have a date every weekend, I came to a startling conclusion. I wasn’t walking enough. All of the heroines in the novels met interesting people on walks. The characters in the romantic comedies met their future loves while out on walks. I was thrilled with this realization.

I now had an action plan. If I wanted a date to the dance, I just had to go on a walk. I put on my best dress, smeared red lipstick all over my lips and headed out the door. Full confidence. It was going to be just like the movies. I would walk down the street and casually meet the most eligible bachelor in the entire high school. I’d say something witty and then he’d ask me to Prom. It was all perfect until I stepped outside.

Now, let me tell you something about my neighborhood. It was not a pristine countryside. My family lived in a struggling neighborhood. The police helicopter flew over our street every evening at 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. waking me up. It was probably foolish to go on such a walking venture alone, but I was a romantic with a heart full of hope. Walking worked in the movies so it would work for me. I walked past the drug dealer’s house, the homes where the owners mowed the lawns and the ones that didn’t. I walked fast by the couple yelling at each other and a little slower by the couple kissing. I walked past a few kids riding their bikes in a church parking lot. I walked past the elementary school and the grocery store. No one paid any attention to me. The cars swished by and I didn’t have a date. It was nothing like the movies. I kept walking hoping for my romantic encounter but then my feet started hurting from my heels. It was time to go home.

I still enjoy walking around my neighborhood although I’m wiser now. I wear flats and don’t expect to meet Mr. Darcy along the way. I do occasionally find other interesting things on my walk. Today I found a beautiful leaf. It looks like a heart so I took it home with me.

I guess I’m still a little bit romantic.