Trusting Strangers

To: Stranger

I don't know who you are. We've never spoken, we've never had anything to do with each other. I saw you sitting alone with a copy of The New York Times folded on your table by the window in the coffee shop. You stood up to pick up your order from the counter, and now you've found this note in between pages 68 and 69 of your magazine. 

I'm dead by now if everything went as I expected it to go. But I'm at peace, because I know what I've left is in good hands with you. You may think that odd, what with our relationship non-existent. Having lived a life like mine, I know that most times, a stranger is more trustworthy than any man or woman you know. 

Here's some information:

S.T.A.

SH9856C 

How this ends is up to you now. Remember, trust strangers as I trust you. Stay alive. 

~

The middle-aged man had obvious dark circles around his eyes. His eyes usually a whirlpool of melted sapphire, glistening as he blinked - but today, it was a dull and ordinary blue; like that of a blunt colored pencil. He was in an off-white T-Shirt with a faded print of a beach that was in a desperate need of ironing and a faded pair of jeans to match.

This was not an unusual outfit if you were his next door neighbor at Riverside Heights, say, or his dog, Russ. This change of clothing as opposed to his creaseless and perfectly fitting suits would strike some of his acquaintances. Perhaps, if you were one who had a drink with him at The Pit in booth 23 or his driver of the black sleek limo he owned. Yes, then it would strike you so. 

He did not take a second glance to the two-person table's occupant who was waiting at the counter for his order. His eyes faced the opposite direction as a rough blistered hand taped in a folded piece of paper into the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine. The sound of the crinkling pages were softer than a whisper as the same hand closed it. His expression showed no anxiety, as he walked slowly back to his own table by the entrance, only the Parker pen in his hand now. 

He did not sit down, but took the last sip of his steaming hot coffee standing, and quickly checked his phone which he slipped instantly back into his pocket. His trainers made no sound as he walked towards the doors of the cafe, and out to the buzzing street. 

"Damn!" The young man in his early 20's, exclaimed as he dabbed his napkin at the coffee stain on his light blue shirt. Nearby customers gave him slightly disgruntled glances, which he gave no mind to - the stain was still perfectly visible. 

He sat down, and the table's presence annoyed him now for having caused him to bump into it. He hoped this girl he was to meet (who was exactly four minutes and thirty-nine seconds late) fancied the "grunge look". This was the third girl Henry had introduced him in the last month and a half and he was determined to make it work. Plus, he had a good feeling about the name Rosalyn. It reminded him of... roses - a definite sign of romance. He sighed - the day had been so far uninspiring. 

Two laughing women walked through the door, probably after a day out to the spa or shopping. They seemed high on neighborhood gossip and the freedom of a nagging husband and kids. The young man sat in his seat pondering on the point of all the romance and bother of maintaining a relationship if, in the end, they preferred the company of another. 

Diverting his attention from the two ladies, he picked up his copy of The New Yorker; the cover of it an ever so comical sketch of pairs of rabbits drinking wine. He began to run through his magazine as he had for the past five years of subscription; the fiction piece first, the poems and the comics at the back were his reading requirements on the day he purchased the issue. He flipped through the middle section of the magazine - his thumb instinctively aware of where the short story was likely to be. Always after the letters around page forty-five and before the critics which normally began at seventy.

"The Color of Shadows. Interesting title." He shook his head, making himself alert of his surroundings. Standing over his shoulder, eyeing the title, was the vaguely familiar girl he had met at Henry's birthday party months ago. She'd gotten a haircut it seemed. 

"Hi Rosalyn. Good to see you," He greeted as he got up and held out a hand.

"Nice to see you too, Aidan," she said with a small smile. 

As they both took their seats, he, of course, was contemplating the effect of the handshake. 

"Y'know, there's this great limo outside of the cafe. I wonder who's it is. Anyone famous in disguise over here?" Rosalyn said, in attempt to make conversation as well as purely out of fascination. She scanned the faces of the customers and turned back to her "date" after one round. 

"Don't think so. Do you want something to drink, eat?" Aidan asked, just like the gentleman. 

"A caramel frappuccino sounds good to me," She said as she got up, her purple wallet in hand. Aidan, again just like the gentleman, insisted upon his buying the drink as she remained seated. And her, being just the lady, insisted otherwise. It seemed that he decided that it was enough playing gentleman for one drink. 

As she stood in the back of the line, three waiting impatiently in front of her, he peered aimlessly out the window. And indeed an elegant black limo was sitting outside. 

The End

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