She was looking at him, recognition filling her senses, and questions bubbling to the surface. She had seen him the previous evening, and his glances spoke to her. Appreciative and furtive, he had come across as a gentleman even she caught him looking at her. She twisted her colourful clay bangles before letting her hand tug at the ends of her burgundy and animal print scarf subconsciously. Her white summer dress and tan leather sandals looked becoming on her, as he decided to finally approach her.
This reluctant fashionista now took a good look at him. Good shoes, check. Smart tee short, check. Casual khakis, check. Well ironed, double check. Then, she met his gaze.
“Hi,” he said, “I hope I didn’t scare you.”
You most certainly have, she wanted to say. But her pounding heart stopped her. She smiled and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, looking at the nearby stall of scarves for some inspiration. Where were her words when she needed them the most? What could she say without sounding rude? What could she say without letting him think this could go anywhere?
“Umm,” he finally said, “do you remember me? We met yesterday, at…”
“Yes,” she said, her voice slightly shaky, jarring her back to her senses. Then, “what are you doing here?”
He smiled and looked down. Then, letting his hand rub the back of neck, he looked up again to give her a sheepish smile. His leather wrist watch caught her eye as the brass dial reflected the light streaming into the street. She had to squint for a moment.
And as she did, she realised what a wonderfully open smile he had. Not the flirtatious, make me melt kind – the friendly, make me talk kind.
“Coffee?” He asked.
Her coffee coloured eyes suddenly clouded with fear and apprehension – and something more. She slowly shook her head and began backing out, before she turned and left, her steps hurried and urgent as she strung her way through the throngs of shoppers in the narrow street.
Standing there in the middle of the crowded flea market, he couldn’t hear a sound over the thumping of his chest.
This is one riddle I am determined to solve, he decided before walking away. And as he did, he turned to look her receding figure one last time. But she had already disappeared.