Truly a romantic image. A young man meets the woman of his dreams, who happens to be a guest at the Watergate Hotel. To catch her attention, he burns his declaration of love for her into the grass where she will be able to see it from her balcony.

And there it remains: "I LOVE YOU KIMBERLY" in 6-foot-high letters of brown grass, a whole-earth valentine facing the hotel's front windows.

The people in the co-op say someone in the hotel did it.

The people in the shops say someone in the hotel did it.

The people in the hotel say someone in the co-op or the shops did it.

Inquiring minds want to know -- who is Kimberly and who burned his feelings for her into the Watergate East Co-op lawn?

"It was done around Inauguration Day," said Sherry Arnstein, who lives in a co-op apartment with her husband, George. "It must have been done by someone from out of town, since it's geared toward the hotel. It was done in the snow, and that was wonderful, but now that it's hurt our lawn, it's destructive. I wonder who the lucky Kimberly is?"

"We've been here for four inaugurals, and this was the happiest ever," said Marilyn Norwood. "I can see how one of those young men could have gotten carried away."

"Graffiti is all over the world, and sooner or later it had to come to the Watergate," said co-op resident Leonard Horwitz. "I just hope they give us our nice lawn back."

(They will, but they have to wait until the spring thaw to reseed.)

But wait. There is an eyewitness. His name is Edward Schleifstein, an "old Washingtonian" and Watergate East co-op resident. And his story must be told.

"It was done by a young girl, a 14-year-old girl with a big brown dog, who lives in the opposite building. She did it on the first big snowfall . . . it was inaugural weekend. She wore boots and dragged her right leg to make the proper size of letter. The grass on that side is very fragile," explained Schleifstein, denying what others had assumed -- that the culprit had used some sort of defoliant to get his point across.

"I saw her doing it again on the second big snowfall. I yelled at her, and she got scared and ran away. I don't know what her romantic inclinations are . . . Unless Kimberly is the dog."

Or unless the writer left out a period: "I LOVE YOU. KIMBERLY."