Mark Johnson
3 min readApr 12, 2023
Man in yoga pose

With the sun rays creeping through his bedroom window Stanley awoke to a new day. He stretched and yawned, his mind foggy but rested as he went through his morning routine. After relieving himself in the bathroom, he shuffled his feet to the kitchen of his condo for an ice-cold cup of water and prepped his Russell Hobbs retro 6-cup coffee maker to brew.

He then went to the front room, where the bright Californian sun poured through the living room’s window, bathing Stanley in the pure morning sunlight. He further woke up with a 30-minute low-impact workout keeping his body tight and flexible. Stanley often found some epiphany or a frame of thought during his workout that would set his day off on the right foot. Today his thoughts encircled the one that got away; her name was Vera.

Vera was a 30-something Italian woman he had met on a scouting trip to L.A. Upon their first meeting surveying a location; he could tell she was a woman of substance. She was more than looks. Intelligent, funny, caring, and Stanley’s type with Sofia Loren-like curves. On that trip, he had felt she was feeling him, which neither discussed as the chance meeting turned into what seemed like a four-day vacation.

After months of longing, trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work between them as she called N.Y. home and he was in Sacramento, the strain finally came to a head, and they stopped talking. Their meeting was too perfect; why ruin the memory by trying to keep it going stationed on opposite coasts?

As that thought crossed his mind, Stanley wrapped up his morning exercise routine. The smell of coffee filled his condo with the robust aroma of Italian ground beans. He drank another ice-cold glass of water, hydrating and invigorating his body; he showered and dressed for work. Ready for a cup of freshly brewed coffee, fully dressed, he thought of Vera with his first sip and how she would describe the taste of the freshly brewed coffee in her Italian accent.

Ready to set foot outside, he began to think about what he could do or what he could have done better as it pertained to her. Yet the answers never came. Reflecting on why they decided to call it off stemmed from the fact that they both were ambitious and had ideas for their lives that didn’t entirely mesh with the other. It was like their meeting was divine, but their future together long term doomed from the start.

On Stanley’s drive into work dodging traffic in his gold Lexus coupe, he continued to reflect on this chance encounter turned short-term relationship. How one time, he made plans to let her go, and now a year later, the strongest of feelings backed by a burning desire was overtaking him. He felt the way his life had progressed from then; it was time to get her back. Sparked with that resolve, Stanley hit the gas a little harder, the G forces torquing his vehicle forward ahead of traffic, ready to devise a plan and execute it in the name of love.



Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.