The Strange Man

The snow crunched under his feet. He watched the others playing as he looked up from his laptop, the last bead of a rosary dripping onto his lap. He clutched at it, as he folded his blazer tighter around his shoulders. He should have felt the cold, but he didn’t; he only felt the chill that emanated from the girls and boys that scampered around. Some slid and fell, others were sturdier on their feet and charged at the others, their little gloves packed tightly with brilliant white snow.

However, none of them mattered to him. As his laptop packed up in front of him, it feeling the weather more than he now, he studied one of the people lingering in the white-coated garden. She had to be only about fifteen, and, auburn-headed, her straight fringe cut across her calm-sky-coloured eyes.

In an instant, as she slid past him, caught in a gust of wind, their eyes locked, and his not-blue-not-green ones widened, as though he was finally seeing the true meaning of life. And then she catapulted to the floor splendidly.

The man jolted to life. He hadn’t meant to stare at all, but his bouts of oddness and vagueness were becoming more and more often now. He had often heard his colleagues joke “you must take only 30 percent of what he says as true realism; when he’s being serious, try taking 50 percent…”

He jumped up, and bolted over to the girl who was giggling as she lay face-upwards on the grass. She had a glass-chime kind of laugh, one that broke into the crisp sky like beautiful lightning.

“Are you okay?”

As he spoke, his northern accent spilt out; he was finally showing someone his true side after many years of concealing it.

He stuck out a large hand, onto which she latched her own petite one.

“Thanks,” she said smoothly, though the pitch of her voice was drawn two ways. She was an actress. “I guess you’re busy?” She indicated the laptop with a nod of her head.

“No, not really. Just work,” he joked, one hand supporting her opposite elbow, being protective, yet trying to convey what was flitting through his peculiar mind at that point.

And then he gave her his patented grin, broadly showing two rows of gleaming, almost-neat teeth.

The End

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