He caught my eye across the train station coffee shop – he didn’t smile, in fact he gave nothing away. For the life of me I thought I must have done something to upset him in some way despite the fact I had never seen him before. But I held his gaze because it felt as though there was no where my eyes would rather be looking, at that moment. There was something in that electric look which had hidden meaning – but what? And then he looked down again, back to his paper, as though nothing has happened. I stared at him for moments longer trying to will those long lashes to flick back up and for his eyes to catch me in their stare once again, but no. I looked away. I felt shaken for some reason. As though angry words had been said, as though there were some unexpressed emotions between this stranger and I. But yet, there was nothing. Nothing between us. No history, nor present or future. Just some inexplicable angst.
At that moment he got up from seat, newspaper now folded neatly under his arm, suit fitted and smoothed to perfection. He did not look at me again. He left and I remained staring after him, mouth open slightly in unspoken shock.
The next morning I headed back toward the coffee shop. I must admit, this was not my usual, but yesterday my regular spot had been so busy i had headed to this one despite it being a little further to walk for my train platform. Today I found my feet subconsciously taking the extra walk in the hope of seeing this mysterious stranger once again. What it was which drew me in was still unresolved in my head, but something pulled me there. My heart began pounding hard when I caught sight of the back of his head through the window as he sat in the same spot as the previous day. His hair was perfectly slick and sleek, not a strand out of place, just as it had been the first time i had seen him. A different suit fit to his body today; a navy blue with a subtle grey pinstripe. He was like an out of place fantasy. As i walked in I saw him smile at the pretty young barista as she walked by with a tray piled high with used mugs. My heart flipped in my chest…what on earth was happening to me? Was that jealousy I felt? Jealously that he smiled at her but yet I got nothing more than a dark, blank stare? He was nothing to me nor I to him so why should he smile at me? I was nothing really compared to him. I had my charms but compared to him…well…I was more than punching above my weight. ‘So why then’, my subconscious queried, ‘had he stared at me so intently?’ I still didn’t know but as I took further steps in to the coffee shop I happily noted him notice me… at which point I slipped on a wet spot on the floor. The young barista came hurrying over with a paper towel, clearly that wet patch had been her next job, but it was a little too late for me and my ego.
My stranger was out of his seat and at my side with a hand reaching down to assist me in my clamber back up before I had barely hit the ground. I took his warm smooth hand gratefully as my cheeks burned, and he lift me to my feet. I could barely look at him. He was taller than i had expected, even in my three inch stilettos, and having to turn my face up to meet his eyes, those dark, brooding, angry eyes, seemed more than my ego could bare.
“Hey”, he said, “Look at me…”, so I did. He didn’t disappoint. The eyes were darker than I had noticed the day before, but this time they were filled with concern and worry – for me! His voice curled around me like cream, I could have bathed in it – so thick and warm. I felt instantly at ease looking up at him, my face turned up, my neck bent back. The barista was babbling on with her apologies and requests to get me a free drink but as we looked at one another, I felt as though she must be a million miles away, or else he and I were.
He didn’t take his eyes from mine for what felt an eternity, and before long, that worry I had seen in them was replaced with something else. Something darker. He spoke once again: “You need to be more careful, I don’t want you to hurt yourself. Do you understand?”.
I nodded mutely not fully understanding why I was being spoken to in this way by a stranger, albeit a handsome, all consuming stranger whose voice and eyes sent me spinning in to oblivion. ‘Why did he care if I hurt myself?’ I heard my mind quietly ask.
“Can I get you a coffee?” he asked. And so, the tale of the stranger and I began.
To be continued…