February 10

She lay in bed all day thinking about what transpired between two strangers in fleeting glances and awkward smiles. She tried to outline his facial features out of memory—curly short hair with a few streaks of silver combed back, a stubble beard, with a perfectly chiseled jawline, and low set ears. She thought about his eyes and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t recollect their color or shape. He sat with a slight hunch as if bending over the sketchbook. The tones of his charcoal pencils outnumbered the colors on his shirt. He wore a pair of worn-out denims and crisscross leather sandals. He was of a slim build but it seemed as though he had recently shed a few pounds.

She was amazed at how much detail she had absorbed into her mind in just a few moments of sitting next to him the previous evening. She thought about going back to the lake that evening when something distracted her from her thoughts. It was a knock on the door. And that is when she realized that she had wasted most part of her day idling away in thoughts of a stranger. “A stranger!” she said aloud and let the sound of it sink in. She opened the door only to find a little white cylindrical shaped package left on the staircase. With knitted eyebrows, she picked up the package, turned it around to see if there was an address, a name, something that would give her a hint about the sender or what was in the package. It weighed light, like paper. Like paper? she wondered. She quickly took it in and closed the door behind her. She carefully opened the package and saw that it had only a sheet of paper rolled and secured with a white string. She undid the knot and rolled open a sketch of the view as seen from where she sat on the bench the previous evening.

She knew then that they weren’t strangers anymore.


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