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Short Stories

The Meeting

Staring at the screen, rereading the line, making sure it said what it looked like it said. Picking up the cat as he passed, holding him to face the soft glow, "It says that doesn't it?" A mew was my only response, but it was good enough.

Fingers a flurry, tapping away a reply, muttering to myself non-complimentary comments about my typing inability, Send and then wait. The wait for a return message. You know the kind, the kind of wait that lasts so long that you think the scroll is frozen or perhaps the boot is upon you. That sitting on the edge of your chair, eyes boring a hole in the screen wait. With just enough anxiety mixed in , wondering how exactly the other person will respond or if they will at all. Thinking and rethinking of what you have just sent. Until a series of words appear and a sigh of relief is released before you read them.

Speaking as I type "Yes, I know where that is, can be there in 15 minutes, I'm wearing...."An exchange of descriptions and quick check in the mirror and I'm off.

Through the doorway of the bookstore, I start a passive search . I've been here many times before, every section, each level and the cafe. Figuring she'll be nervous and anxious, like me, she'll need a cup of coffee. So I opt for a table close to the window. Sipping the life giving java, and nibbling on a biscotti, watching the door as subtly as I can , occupying my time with a crossword.

After I figure out that 'Indigenous' is the ten letter word for resident, I spot her. I wonder if my eyes darted around as do hers. No matter, smiling to myself, delighting in her appearance. Just as I had imagined, noting she left nothing out of her description.

First she moved to the history section, then art, to travel, I guess she does know me a little. Finally while seeking the next ideal spot , she caught the scent of the French vanilla that seeps its' way around the store, to draw the coffee drinkers in, a very effective lure. In a moment she is standing not two tables from me, near the window. Back to me, attention directed at the passersby in the street, to the door and back. Almost like she was watching a tennis match in slow motion, movements only interrupted by a glance at her watch or a sip of her drink.

Rising from my seat, cautiously approaching as not to startle her. Softly I speak her name. she stops her movement, save the placing of the cup down on the table beside her.

Whispering my name , before she turns , not just her head but her whole body in a swift fluid act, reminding me of a ballerina performing a pirouette.

For a second time stops, eyes meeting for the first time. Taking in those pale blue eyes, just the shade you would find in the heart of an iceberg, but yet a raging fire burns from behind them. A light smile comes to her lips as she whispers my name again. Watching the pretty blue start to roll back as her lids fall. Knees buckling beneath her, starting to crumble, I lurch forward, catching her.

It wasn't hard to convince the staff that we were together and that she wasn't feeling well. It was almost as if they wanted to believe what I said. So helpful, they even got us a cab.

Within twenty minutes I had this angel on my couch, bedecked with pillows and a comforter, still fast asleep. And my cat, curled up on where I believed her feet were.

Truly my mind was a flurry of thoughts, perhaps was 'How will she react when she wakes? 'It's not every day you meet an almost total stranger , faint and wake up on his sofa.

In the kitchen I started to make some coffee , and a snack. A clap of thunder could be heard, but I paid it no mind, I had hardly noticed the storm clouds rolling in as I carried her in from the taxi.

While loading the tray, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin as Gatsby landed on the counter. I stopped to laugh at myself, before asking " Now whose the scaredy cat?" Bemused and curious I checked on my guest.

The living room was dark, due to the gloom of the storm. The sound of the rain tapping away at the windows. My eyes went straight to the now empty couch. The only thing remaining, a pair of shoes and her sweater. A flash of lightning catches my eye, as does the slow billowing curtains, drifting from the breeze. Breeze? My quest takes me to the now open terrace door, again I approach cautiously.

Peering out to spy upon her, standing on the balls of her bare feet, arms outstretched. head back, eyes closed, and even from this angle I can see the smile. Her clothes clinging to her form. Central park as her backdrop, as the rain teams down, the wind whipping through her hair. The storm rages and she dances and sways to its' music, lost in its' rhythm.

Silently I watch, hearing only the roll of distant thunder, the countless droplets and bare feet hitting the marble tile.

Whispering more to myself the to her "....the Mistress of the Rain I presume..." a feeling of guilt washed over me when she stopped suddenly, turning to me, eyes wide, as if I'd just waken her from a dream. After a long second passed, my being ashamed for interrupting was relieved by the warm smile she bore, along with sparkling eyes, rain streaming down her face.

Stepping out in to the storm, up to my guest, taking her hand into mine. Pressing my lips to the bridge of her knuckles, while looking up the length of her arm, locked on her eyes, then uttering the words, "I'm pleased to meet you..."
 

 

 

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