He is not in love her.
He knows love, in his mind at least, and knows that love is something that comes with time, something that must grow and develop, not anything that can be gleaned from a single conversation, or even from years of casual contact. And so he knows he cannot be in love with her.
Maybe he could be in love with her.
Were the world a slightly different place. If he’d met her a year ago, when he was still single, or if he’d never met Katrina and he was still single, or if he’d had the confidence to approach her the first time he saw her, sitting at the table by herself, reading, maybe if it had been a book he knew, maybe if he could have used that as an excuse to strike up a conversation with her without looking like a complete idiot, maybe, then, maybe, he could be in love with her.
Maybe he will be in love with her. Maybe his relationship with Katrina, wonderful as it seems to be, will come to a sudden unexpected end. and there she will be, funny and witty and gorgeous and perfect as she was that day in the cafeteria. Maybe years from now, when their children ask them how they’d met, the last two years will have become nothing but an amusing anecdote.
Maybe she would never have dated him anyway. Maybe she would have, but she would have turned out to be mean or shallow or boring. Maybe they would have just become friends. Or maybe, just maybe, everything would have worked out fine and he’d be sitting here, at this same table, looking over at Katrina, and wondering if he could ever have been in love with her.