Fresh Start

creative writing, writing, fiction, flash fiction, loveHe took in a deep breath and let it go, watching as it appeared in a cloud before him. Ice covered the ground and everyone around him was bundled up against the frigid air. The sky above him was the weak blue of winter. The trees were skeletons of their summer selves.

He had tried sitting on the bus stop’s bench but had found it much too cold. He chose to stand instead with his hands tucked under his arms and bouncing on his toes to keep warm. Every few seconds he would look to his left to see if the bus was coming up the street; up until now, it had been empty. He’d turn back to look across the street, growing more and more impatient. He had somewhere to be, things to do, people to see. Didn’t the bus driver know that?

There was some movement to his left, he looked over hopefully. The bus was nowhere to be seen, but he did see someone walking toward him. It was a woman, bundled up in a coat with her face buried in her scarf. As she came closer he was able to make out her features better. She was short and appeared to be stocky (though it was a little hard to tell underneath her winter layers). Her bright red hair shone in the weak sunlight. Blue eyes glanced at him as she neared the bus stop. Her nose and cheeks were rosy from the crisp air. He thought she was stunning.

“Hello,” she said. “Cold day, isn’t it?”

“Very,” he answered, glad he hadn’t lost his voice.

“It’s sunny, though, which is a nice change from the rain.”

“Hopefully it will help melt the ice.”

“Oh,” she said sighing, releasing a big cloud of air. “That would be nice. I normally walk, but it would take me twice as long to get there in these conditions.”

He wasn’t sure what to say, he checked his watch instead.

“Are you late?” the woman asked.

“No, not yet, but the bus is,” he said gruffly, letting out some of his irritation.

“I’m sure it’s not their fault. The roads are awful. I bet they’re just doing their best.”

That caught him off guard; he hadn’t thought of that. He gave her a long look and she caught his eye.

“What?” she asked, a smile playing with her lips.

“Nothing,” he said quickly, looking away.

“Uh huh,” the woman said as if she didn’t believe him, but was too polite to say otherwise.

“What do you do for work?” he asked and instantly felt lame. What an unoriginal question.

The woman bounced up and down a few times and shoved her hands deep into her pockets. “I’m a librarian. What about you?”

“I’m an associate at a local law firm.”

“That sounds fascinating!” The woman said and she really seemed to mean it.

“I guess it is, not as interesting as working at a library,” he said trying to bring out a smile.

“Oh, I’m not sure that’s true,” she said humbly looking down at the ground bashfully.

“Sure it is! Librarians don’t get enough credit.”

She looked up at his eyes glittering. “Thank you,” she said simply.

“Anytime,” he replied a smile coming to him effortlessly.

The rattle of chains and a diesel engine drifted over the icy road. They both looked down the street to see a bus coming their way. No! He thought, glancing at the woman. Too soon! For once the bus is too soon! 

The woman caught his eye. “Your bus?” She asked indicating with a shrug of her shoulder keeping her hands warm in her pockets.

In a split second decision, he made up his mind. Not this timeI can be late this once. 

He smiled a smile that crept up into his eyes making them shine. “Nope, not mine.”

The woman gave him an odd look; he could tell she didn’t believe him.

“Is it yours?” He asked nodding in its direction as it came in line with them.

She smiled at him mischievously. “Nope, not mine.”

“Well that’s good then,” he said genuinely.

“Yes,” she replied. “Yes, it is.”

 

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