Engines of Creation


The Stranger and She

“Hello stranger!” said She, somewhat cockily. She had always wanted an opportunity to say that, but sadly She was no Alice Ayres. It did not sound as cool, quirky or intelligent as She had imagined it in her film-starved head. Stranger awkwardly smiled back at her. He was not entirely used to getting this kind of attention from women. Not that he was a bad-looker. Infact he was quite handsome, with a kind of rustic charm deliciously blended with his carefully careless windswept hair. He was still sitting in his leather sofa where he had been fidgeting all evening, secretly stealing glances at her every now and then with an outward appearance of nonchalance. But he was always the one making the first move. Thats the way it has always been. Law of the universe. Men approach. Women oblige. Or reject. Or tease, as the case may be. This was different, and he could not quite decide what he felt. Flattered… maybe.

But you see he was already taken. Or that’s what he muttered to himself. “Hmmm. It’s a steady ship?” It has not been long, he said. As in, it hasn’t really set sail yet. “Was it going to?” At this, he got up so suddenly, it startled her. He was pacing up and down the length of the room. Then slowed down. The thing is, he said, she did not know about it yet. “But of course, you are not in two minds..” He stared hard. Then looked away. And now back again. No. He was certain. He was going to tell her tonight, soon as he got back home. “Happy to hear that. Nice meeting you… Stranger.” She smiled at him for one last time. “My bus leaves tonight. See you when I see you. And here is my number. In case…” Stranger took the little note she had scribbled on. By the time he looked up, she was gone. The note had a little doodle of something. A flower. Or a puppy, perhaps. There was no number. He scratched his ear, lit a cigarette, and drove back home as nonchalantly as he had been sitting all evening…