Strangers: Chapter One

The first time I ever saw her was from one of the 3 windows in my studio apartment. She was just walking down the street, red hair flowing behind her in an autumny sort of way. I almost felt as though she should be wearing a scarf and holding a mug of hot tea. Visually, she was stunning. The hair is what got your attention, the freckles reeled you in, and the eyes made you stay. God, those eyes. Huge like planets amongst the constellations of freckles, brown as mud, and totally gorgeous.

She looked like the kind of girl who had books on her shelf that she kept telling herself she’d read but never seemed to get to. She looked like the kind of girl who scoffed when you called her a hipster despite the black combat boots she wore everywhere (the kind with the real laces, no zippers on those babies). She looked like the kind of girl who used words like “affluent” and “juxtaposition” in everyday conversation.

I considered waving my boyfriend over to observe her with me, but decided against it, or rather, couldn’t find the words. I took mental images of her and went back to making dinner.

⬢ ⬢ ⬢

The pigeons were particularly rowdy today. I’m guessing because of the heat. They always seemed more unsettled and flittery during bouts of heat like this. Winters cold as ice, summers hot as hell. It was the damn lake, that’s what her dad always told her. That damn lake, he’d yell in between slugs of malt liquor.

There was a man sitting across the way from me; he was staring at his charcoal grey iPhone and eating a scone. The pigeons around him were very interested in the scone, but he didn’t seem to notice. I never understood people with their smartphones. There’s so much more to life than a screen.

He followed a set pattern with the damn thing. He’d put his phone down for a sec and take a bite of scone, I think it was blueberry. Then his phone would light up in his lap and so would he. You could almost see sunshine behind his eyes. His shockingly straight teeth and wonderfully ungroomed eyebrows gave him this look on his face that made you truly feel how happy he was. Just one of those people, I guess.

Oh the damn pigeons, terrorizing the squirrels again.