Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fourth Street

It was the kind of nighttime weather in which people enjoy to be out of doors: warm, with a light and steady breeze. The sidewalks were filled with couples and clumps of twenty-somethings, chatting casually and laughing, reveling under red and blue neon enchantment.

Colin had seen her there several times before, always with a lively band of girlfriends, and he was quite smitten with her: the sweet mirth of her laughter, her bright eyes, the sheen of her mocha-brown hair, her slender shoulders; he even thought her teeth looked charming when she smiled and talked. He had never spoken a word to her, but he felt certain she knew he had noticed her; she had caught him staring in her direction on a couple of occasions, setting his heart pounding.

That night in late July, he took leave of his boisterous pals and slowly strolled over in her vicinity. He pressed around a noisy crowd gathered just behind her, and drew close to where she was standing. He could smell the fragrance of her hairspray and light perfume, and saw the very fluttering of her eyelashes when she laughed.

Her blue eyes flashed briefly over to him. His heart thumped.

She diverted her eyes back to him with a small warm smile, her pale-pink lips pressed gently together. But before he could smile back, she had turned her attention again to her circle of friends.

He wandered back to his own friends, who were oblivious to his plight, but he heard nothing of the foolishness he was certain they were speaking among themselves.

He was aware of nothing except for the lingering vision of that girl's sweet smile.

He considered going back over and talking to her, but he could not think of any winsome words to say. He would basically have to interrupt the conversation she was having with her friends - and then what would he say? He feared they would all look at him in ridicule - unless he could come up with some engaging wittiness, which he felt totally bereft of at that moment.

She and her friends soon moved on and, despite his breathless hopes, she did not look back towards him as they walked away.

He resolved to make a bolder attempt to meet her next time. The ache in his heart demanded it.

However, although he returned to Fourth Street on many Friday nights throughout that mild summer, he never saw that exquisite girl again.

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