Crossing Paths

He's traveling through time in one direction, and she's moving in the opposite way. They never really had a chance.

She walked down the aisle, and sat next to me on the cross-town bus.  You've never met anyone like me!" she exclaimed giddily and somewhat desperately; a warm smile glowing on her face.  Honestly, my first thought was that she was crazy.

Looking up from the schedule I was studying, and momentarily confused, I mumbled something like "I don't think I  know you..."  then, sensing a slight fading of her beautiful smile I added, "but it's really nice to meet you.  Would you like to sit?" I motioned to the vacant seat next to mine. 

The way she slid into the seat and gently leaned over until our shoulders touched felt nice.  It seemed like she was immediately comfortable with me.  It was flattering. 

"What are you studying?" she asked, looking down at the bus route map in my hand.  Her broad smile settling into a comfortable look of contentment. 

My mind was now only half on my previous thoughts.  I caught myself staring a bit too long at her face.  "Oh, it's the bus schedule."  I explained.  "I ride this bus all the time from east to west; I know the times by heart, but going this way, west to east, it's surprisingly confusing for me.  I'm having trouble keeping straight what stop is next."  I looked at her face again.  I was afraid I was babbling. 

She seemed to be considering what I was saying, like it was a new idea to her.  She gently tugged the map that passed between our hands and sat straighter in her seat.  I suddenly missed our shoulders touching. 

Her initial enthusiasm had faded.  As she looked at the schedule, she was only half aware of me; the other half occupied by her thoughts.  "You know it's funny that you would say that" she said, "I'm doing the same thing.  Except I usually ride in the mornings; not the evenings."  The paper schedule was now commanding more of her attention than I was.  It surprised me how attached I had become to her in a few short minutes. 

I tried to rekindle the familiarity she had shown me in the beginning.  "Isn't that funny how we're both kind of in the same situation?" I offered, hoping to distract her from the paper in her hands that she had now become more interested in.  What had I done?  My stop was quickly approaching, but I felt that we had made a connection; however brief.  I didn't want to let it go.

Leaning over and rubbing my shoulder against her's, I tried to catch her eye.  "You know, it may sound strange, but you really made an impression on me.  She glanced over as if not sure what I meant. 

She smiled dismissively, and said, "We've only just met."  As the bus slowed at my station I repeated the first words she had said to me. 

"I've never really met anyone like you!"  I smiled at her warmly.  She must have thought I was crazy judging from her slightly confused face.  I left my seat next to her, walked down the aisle and left the bus.

The End

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