Under The Willow Tree

His smile was the brightest one I'd ever seen like sunshine on a rainy day. But it hadn't made an appearance in the longest of times.
He woke up each day as I laid in bed beside him. He drank his coffee as I sat across from him at the table. He drove to work with me in the passenger seat. He worked all day in his stuffy office while I stared out the window looking down at the bustling city below. After work, he walked to the park as I sat under the willow tree. He went home at five while I napped in the passenger seat. He ate dinner on the sofa while watching TV while I lounged on the recliner. He got in bed and stared at the ceiling for hours before drifting to sleep while I laid in silence beside him.
He did all this without a smile.
Every day was a monotonous repetition of the day before. I tried to help him. I tried to change his path, but he ignored me like he couldn't see me.
It got worse and worse until it happened.
On the 21st of June, he started his unchangeable routine. He woke up. We ate breakfast. He went to work. He left work. . . .
Then, it happened. She collided into him on the way out of the office. She had been carrying a big bouquet of flowers that obscured her line of vision. The collision caused a fall. She fell with the flowers, and he looked down. For the first time in a long time, his face looked different. He looked almost perplexed.
"I'm so sorry," she said quickly. "So, so sorry, sir."
He didn't say anything, but he didn't move either. This caused her to look a little uneasy. She quickly began picking up her flowers.
Eventually, she began to struggle with collecting the flowers. There had been quite a few.
He bent down and picked up one of the last flowers. He looked at it for a minute. It was quite beautiful, a golden zinnia that looked like the sun.
He handed it to her. Their fingers touched.
"I think it is just as much my fault as yours," he said.
The next day, she sat outside the office. He looked perplexed again until she started talking to him. He sat down on the bench beside her, and I watched from across the street.
He didn't look happy, but he did look a lot less sad than he normally did. After ten minutes, they exchanged numbers.
As the days progressed, he saw her more and more. They met after work and walked to the park as I sat under the willow. They went for drinks on Friday nights as I sat a few seats down in the bar. They started going to church together on Sundays as I sat in the back pew.
Eventually, he met her family. They were lovely people, full of the sunshine he once had.
Each day his sadness lessened bit by bit until I would almost call him happy.
One day, he took her to the park where they walked after work. It was the 21st of June, two years after they met. I sat again under the willow.
They walked a while that day before stopping in front of my willow. They stopped. He got down on one knee. She said yes.
He smiled. For the first time, in the longest time. The sunshine from his face filled the park, the air, the sky. The woman cried and hugged him as he stood up.
As he stood, he looked at me. He smiled more. Then, he turned to her. As she wiped the tears away, he led her closer to me. He touched the willow and looked down to where I was sitting. His eyes were watering now. She looked down too with lingering tears in her eyes.
They looked at the plaque I sat beside that read, "In loving memory of Ira Love. Beloved wife."
"She'd love you," he said.
"I do," I whispered, wiping away the tears falling down my face.
I looked up into his eyes. He stood up and gripped her hand. His face was bright with a smile I had not seen in the longest of times. I smiled back, but he couldn't see.
I was just glad to see the sunshine finally break through the rain.