AUTHOR'S NOTEThis is a new story inspired by - but not based on - real life situations. This story is not "chaptered" like my other stuff. I'm just going to write it in parts and post them as I go. It's told in third person point-of-view, with two POV characters. As always, I welcome and appreciate all comments and feedback!

Enjoy!

x-x-x-x-x

Joe stands on the steps of the library, smoking a cigarette and watching the bus stop across the street. Any moment now, he'll see her come out the front door of the place where she works, turn left, and go to the stop to wait. He doesn't know her name or where she lives. He's not even certain what she does in that building across from the library. She's always alone, always taking the bus. No one ever seems to offer her a ride. Joe never sees anybody waiting to pick her up at the end of the day. All he can say for certain is that he sees her every afternoon at precisely this time.

Joe's certainty does not fail him today. He spies her leave her workplace with her large, battered satchel in her hand. Her overcoat is undone. The early April breeze catches it and teases it open to reveal a grey skirt and pink blouse underneath. Her blond hair flies out of control in the wind.

Joe wishes he could see the colour of her eyes. He imagines they are blue, the colour of the sky on a September afternoon, so infinite that he might stare into them forever and never quite reach the centre of her soul. Annie Rae's eyes had been like that, blue and boundless. He could have spent eternity gazing through the windows of Annie Rae's soul. She used to say she could see straight into him, and he always believed her. Annie Rae had known him better than he knew himself. Joe wonders what she'd think if she saw him now. Probably, she would shake her head, sending her brown curls falling across her eyes. She'd sigh and say, "Oh, Joseph..." in that way she had; scolding, but not angry. The woman across the street isn't like that, he decides. Annie Rae was never in a hurry, patient and rarely angry. The woman across the street always seems to be in a rush.

He longs to cross the street, to satisfy that one curiosity about her eyes. He wants to say hello to her, ask her name, and stand there with her until the bus comes. Of course, he knows he can never do that. It's bad enough that he watches her every day. What would she think if he walked right up to her, a complete stranger, and dared to speak? She'd think he was crazy, at the very least. Maybe dangerous. She might call the police.

He takes one last drag and exhales the smoke in a thin stream. He drops the remains of his cigarette and crushes it with his heel on the damp stone of the library steps. Just as he does every day, he waits until the bus comes and the woman gets on. Then, he turns away from the scene across the street and enters the library to spend a precious hour with some true old friends.

TBC