Trusting a Stranger

He looked up at the sky. Summer was definitely here. The days were getting longer, and felt like an eternity. Business was slow too. No one had the energy or inclination to deal with the heat any more than they had to. He was used to seeing stony expressions. But in the summer, these faces spoke a different story. The studied arrogance gave way to the tiresomeness and strain of everyday life. He made his way through the crowd, he had exactly 3 minutes to make the most of before he would be forced to get out of the way. With a time frame like that, he had to be very sure who he wanted to spend time on and who pass over.

As a rule, he always passed over the women. They might be stylishly dressed and driving expensive cars, but they almost always hesitated to buy anything without approval. He didn’t have time for hesitation. He’d learnt that the hard way. But sometimes, on a whim, he would stop by some of the women. Not the really attractive ones, never the really attractive ones. They looked through you. No. He’d pause at the mediocre ones, the ones who are too worried to make eye contact, who shift ever so slightly when he approached them. Even if they were in a car, with the windows up.

This woman, for example. She looks about average, but is dressed well. Wears sunglasses and sits behind the wheel of a vehicle you don’t normally see a woman driving – windows up, air conditioning on, looking ahead at the traffic light. He could see that she was listening to music by the way she was tapping her fingers on the wheel. He could say anything to her, she wouldn’t know. He leaned close to her window, held up the roll of sun film he was selling today and said, “I can help you escape the life you are trapped in. If you can just trust a stranger,” in a voice just above a whisper. She startled him by turning and looking straight into his eyes, as though she’d heard what he said. Then she shook her head absently and turned away.

He stood there looking at her for a moment longer, unable to shake the feeling that she’d heard him. Then he pulled himself swiftly away and into the crowd.


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