“Too clever by half,” he noted. “But that is not knowledge I give out to just anyone who asks me.” Sean was suddenly serious. “You’ll have to earn that right, I’m afraid.”
“In that case, all you will get from me is my name, and nothing more.” Technically, that was all I had agreed to give in the first place, but I wasn’t sure that Sean had noticed the wording, and decided not to risk my luck. At last, I could see my bus turning the corner. It would take another couple of minutes to reach the stop, but I basked in the knowledge that soon I would be out of the fierce cold.
“Fair enough. I didn’t expect anything more, anyway, to tell you the truth.” He reached into a pocket – for a bus pass, I assumed, although it wasn’t immediately obvious – without taking those startling green eyes off my face. The effect was disconcerting. “Now, enlighten me – what are you called?” I hailed the bus as it approached and gathered myself to board. Looking everywhere except for at him; avoiding his strange gaze with all the willpower I possessed.
“My name is Ruth,” I said unwillingly. We were now boarding the bus and as I scanned my pass by the driver, I looked away from Sean, embarrassed. My ears were flushed red like my cheeks, and I knew I was making a complete fool of myself.
“What’s wrong with that?” asked Sean, noticing my embarrassment. I sat down by the window.
“I hate my name. It’s an old lady name, and it sucks. No one is called Ruth these days.” Sean slipped silently into the seat beside me.
Sensibly but irritatingly, he pointed out, “You are.” When I did not reply, he added, “But I don’t think it’s an old lady name. After all, there’s a Ruth in the Bible, and she wasn’t an old lady, was she?” Well, I’d never thought of that before.
“I guess so. I hadn’t really thought about that before.” He smiled at me, and nervously, I smiled back.
“So, what sort of music do you play on that fiddle?” Sean said after several minutes of companionable silence, during which I stared out of the window, deep in thought. He gestured towards the case that I had propped against my knees, for lack of anywhere else to put it.