The Stranger

He’s in the cafe, ordering a latte. It’s a very busy cafe, not surprising considering it’s nearly eight a.m., and most of the tables are full. My table is the only one with a single person, and the piles of papers I’ve stacked around the condiments are effective in warding away others who might beg a seat.

“Mind if I sit here? Everywhere else is full,” and as he speaks he’s already resting his hand on the back of the chair opposite, ready to pull it out and sit down. It seems my ploy has not worked after all, but I’ve already requested a fresh coffee and don’t want to just walk out now. I’m not quite that anti-social.

“Fine. Just don’t yap on to me about your life, or anything else.” He grins.

“Deal. I’m Andrew, just so you know.”

I side-eye him. Strawberry blond, blue eyes, fair skin. Nice hands, fairly tall. At a guess I’d say he’s taller than me, but until just now he was standing and I was sitting, so it’s harder to compare. He sits quietly, abiding by his promise to not talk at excess, and drinks his coffee. He reminds me of someone I knew – though I left all that behind when I came to Boston – and suddenly I keep seeing the similarities. No ring – possibly single, which might explain why he’s sitting opposite me instead of taking his coffee to-go. Could be that he’s searching for a new significant other.

He’s academic. Jeans and long-sleeved shirt, jacket dumped to one side. I recognize this pattern from my own study days; I employed it a lot myself. Nice enough clothes, picked at random, probably in a hurry. It leaves more time to think about the mysteries of one’s universe. He drinks absently, lazily – flips a few pages, drinks, never puts the cup in the same place. Maybe he’s on autopilot, fueling up after an all-nighter.

From the jacket pocket he produces a paperback. Clearly he likes to save money – I’m surely not the only one who’s noticed that hardbacks cost more than paperbacks – and if the scribbles are anything to go by he’s studying it in detail. English major, perhaps. Or Classics.Β 

The coffee is finished and he drops a ten on the table, glances at me.Β 

“Er… This might be a bit forward of me, but, um… in case you want to meet up sometime.” He drops a scrap of paper on the page I’m marking and leaves. His handwriting is appalling, and I’m sure I’ve seen it before. I trace the numbers and letters a few times before it clicks. IΒ have seen this writing before.

Well, I’ll be damned.

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23 thoughts on “The Stranger”

  1. Interesting, but like Gerri, I was left wanting more. I hope I can read the other parts to this trilogy … SOON!

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  2. You are simply that unique one…the one whose writing flows…just naturally…spontaneously…no need to make an effort to read it…every word passes so…so…my words fail me here literally. Do keep up with your writing

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  3. Aww c’mon! As we would say here in Oz…”Fair shake of the sauce bottle!” You can’t leave us hanging like this. You are in serious danger of a good thumping here! πŸ˜‰

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