It was two days before she saw him again. This time he was coming out of the bakery on 18th street with two long loaves under his arm. Hanging from his shoulder was the brown leather bag she recognized from the other day when she saw him close the book he was reading and place it carefully into the satchel before getting up to leave. It was warm in the park that day and she watched with awe as he moved gracefully away from her in the direction of the river. She wondered if he was a writer and if she'd ever see him again.
It was warm again today; spring was approaching fast and the boulevard was crowded with the first wave of summer visitors and shoppers and lovers enjoying the weekend together.
He was younger than her. That much she knew. He didn't yet have the thin lines under his eyes that had recently begun to show on her face. She wondered if he had noticed her and if this would mean anything to him, though she suspected that he gave little thought to age. He seemed to transcend such mundane issues, living instead in the loftier places where spirit dwelt and love still had meaning.
She was intrigued by him, strangely inspired by his presence; the slow way he moved, confident yet unhurried and gentle. She thought he must have someone at home waiting for his return. No one needs two loaves of bread just for themselves, she thought. She wished that she were the one who would greet his return, but she didn't understand why. What power was passing between them? Would he feel it too? She wanted to reach out and touch him.
It occurred to her that every day, all over the world, such encounters must take place. How many missed chances for intimacy? How many lonely hearts?
It wasn't long before he was out of sight and she began questioning if he had ever really been there, just like she had the other day. Picking up her two handled shopping bags, she rose slowly from the bench where she had rested. She felt a warm breeze as it blew in from the west and noticed that her nipples were hard. Closing her eyes, she felt the wind caress her, its knowing fingers moving through her hair and across the brown skin of her exposed legs and feet. Turning, she walked slowly across the grass and into the anonymity of the crowded city street.
- Chris Moraff