She was a dancer rehearsing in New York when her mother called with bad news. Her father had been hospitalized with a serious infection, but was being cared for by a handsome young intern.
The doctor had heard that the dancer was beautiful, with a shining crown of auburn hair and a body too heavenly to be true. When their eyes met over her father's sickbed, an electric spark passed between them.
But he quickly quenched the fire in his eyes, and his handshake was cool and businesslike. His strong sense of professional ethics forbade him from making advances toward a patient's family member.
They saw each other frequently over the next few weeks. She watched him sketch a diagram for her father and was captivated by his artistic hands, with their strong, narrow fingers. He was haunted by her soft voice and the way she sat quietly beside her father for hours -- helping, reading, comforting.
It was difficult for him to suppress his attraction for her, but he succeeded. She thought he didn't know she was alive. So she did something quite unlike her. She followed him to the cafeteria, sat down beside him and tried to impress him with the fact that she had been a June Taylor dancer. He had never heard of them.
But a few days later he sought her out in a corridor of the George Washington University Hospital. He had just moved on to another medical service, so her father was no longer his patient. He asked for her phone number -- she offered him paper, but he said he would memorize it.
She was sure he'd never call, but the next day he did. He said he'd flipped a coin with the resident to see who got to ask her out. He had won.
On their first date they picnicked on cheese and root beer in the park. She spilled her soda, so they shared his. Engrossed in conversation, they both reached for his cup at the same time.
Their hands met. Their eyes met. Their lips met.
Over the next two years her father was in and out of the hospital, and they saw each other almost daily. When he had a break they grabbed dinner in the cafeteria or McDonald's. On his day off he'd make dinner for her and her mother at his small, nearby apartment. Over cups of coffee at night and brief walks grabbed in midday, their love grew.
Her parents continually praised his gentle, skillful ways.Watching the young lovers helped ease the mounting pain of a sickness that would not heal.
On his deathbed, her father said: "Promise me you two will get married." One year later, they did.