A short story I started, but never finished. Enjoy!

As they sit across from each other on this brisk autumn morning, they feel a level of comfort and familiarity that, as perfect strangers, they can neither explain nor understand. As they gaze across the table at one another, tea in her hand and coffee in his, each longs to know more about the other. Despite this urge, both are feeling too timid to speak.
Now she begins to feel embarrassed for inviting him over. She never does things like this; invite total strangers to her table for coffee. Him, being the shy man he is, cheeks flush and palms clammy, blurts out the first thing that pops into his head, “How’s the tea?” How’s the tea? He thinks, that’s the best you can do? With a sheepish grin, she looks up from her tea, takes a sip, and replys, “Quite lovely, thank you.” And with that, the silence has returned. However, it no longer feels awkward, as it had a moment ago.
They both seem to be enjoying the silence, and the company of the other, as they sip from their steaming cups. Without speaking another word, they finish their drinks.
He tips back his cup, emptying the last of his coffee into his mouth. Then he sets the cup down, politely thanks her for the company, and excuses himself from the cafe.
As she sits there, alone, she is overcome with discontent. How could I not ask for his number, or at least give him mine, she thinks. With out much more thought, with the assumption that she will never see him again, she pulls a book from her bag and begins to read.

Several weeks later, with the cafe debacle a fading memory, she begins to board her train. She is taking a trip up north to get away from the distractions of the city. Luggage safely stowed, she begins looking for a seat. Silently she sits across from a gentleman reading the paper. The unfurled paper blocks his face, but she notices his well tailored bright blue blazer. Between the blazer and the newspaper she assumes he must be an older man and decides not to interrupt his reading.
After a few minutes spent gazing out the window she reachs into her bag, pulling out a notebook and pen. The notebook lay open in front of her, pen sitting atop the blank page. By this point she is glaring at them, as if willing the pen to write on its own. She can’t think of a thing to write, which is nothing new. She has been suffering from writers block for months. First she tried switching from her computer to a typewriter, hoping the change would spark her imagination. When that didn’t work she tried pen and paper, still nothing. With the deadline for her new book fast approaching, this trip is her last chance to find inspiration and solitude. She hopes the change in scenery will shake free the vivid thoughts and dreams that inspired her first book.
Suddenly she has the feeling that someone is staring at her. So lost in her own thoughts, she hadn’t noticed the man across from her put down his paper. He is staring in stunned silence. As she begins to blush, she realizes it’s the man from the cafe. After a few moments of silence, she lets out a little laugh. “Hi,” she says. “Hello,” he replies with an amused grin.
“I didn’t expect to see you again,” she says. The glow on her face telling him it is a pleasent surprise. “What are you doing here? I mean, why are you on the train?” Once again she can’t find the right words. She pauses for a moment, she was beinging to get all in a fluster. “Taking a trip?” She finally asked.

Remember to smile,
Hipster Harrison


2 thoughts on “Strangers

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