It was the London from books. The air of the city was full of rain, hopes and smells. It was full of pale sky and falling drops that reflected buildings, people and occasionally dogs.
He couldn’t stop looking at her. She appeared from out of the rain and he didn’t know where she was going. She was like a ghost in this city and he didn’t want to know who she was.
Her pale green eyes were fixed on the book she was reading. He couldn’t tell what book it was.
She got up. He got up too. She thought for a moment and went to the nearest café. There weren’t many people there and he easily found a table in the corner so he could see what she was doing. She opened her book again. It was wet from the rain but even from his corner he could smell its pages. Maybe it was just his imagination. Yes, it was, he thought.
She took out a pen and a piece of paper from her bag and started writing something.
“Do you want sugar for your tea?” asked the waiter politely.
“What?” He looked at the waiter with a smile.
“Do you want sugar for your tea?” said the waiter again.
“Sugar? Oh, no. Thank you.”
He was afraid he had missed something while he was talking to the waiter and she was gone but she was still there writing her letter and eating ice cream. She smiled to herself and finished writing.
He would have liked to know whom she was writing to and at the same time, he was afraid to know more about her. The small details might ruin what the rain created.
She put the letter in the book and closed it. The rain stopped and now there was bright sun everywhere. He felt disappointed.
She got up and left the book on the table. He didn’t follow her but, as soon as she disappeared, he took her book. He had never heard about this book. He opened it and read the letter.
Hello, my friend.
You don’t know me but, believe me, I know you. I have met you so many times that you can’t even imagine. But it all started today. It’s when I met you for the first time.
No, I’m not stalking you – but the rain every time gets it right. We always meet and you always remember, even if sometimes I forget. It’s complicated and even I don’t know the whole story.
So, run, and then you will see a blue bus. There will be a woman there in a red coat. Ask her for a date. Just trust me this time. You never do though.
He read the letter again and then, he didn’t know why, he ran. The streets were empty and the sun was whispering her words gently in his ears. He didn’t know for how long he ran but then, suddenly, a big blue bus appeared in the middle of the road. He stopped. The bus stopped as well and its doors opened.
He saw a woman in a red coat as the letter had said. She was beautiful and somewhere deep inside he felt warm. She looked and smiled.
“It’s mad!” he said when she came closer. “I’m sorry but – could I ask you out? I mean I usually don’t do it like this but… It’s a mad story. You wouldn’t believe me!”
The woman looked at him carefully and then laughed. Her cheeks went pink but she couldn’t stop laughing.
“Ok then,” she said simply. “You can tell me about it on our date.”
“Really?” He looked at her, shocked but happy.
“I would believe things you couldn’t even imagine.” She laughed and then added, “When can I see you?”
“Today… tomorrow. At eight. Can I have your phone number? I’ll call you to… you know.”
She nodded and took a small notebook from her bag.
“Here.” She gave him small piece of paper. “I will wait for your call. Now I have to go now. See you.” She turned away.
He had never asked a woman for a date like this.
He will probably never ask again.
A young woman was standing in the graveyard. She wasn’t crying. She was remembering the day when her parents met. She remembered the rain and the taste of that ice cream.
Her father looked so young then It was better, really, for him not to know. Time travel, mysteries… it was too much. She looked one more time at his grave.
The rain had stopped. It was time to go home.
Maria Barnes is 25 years old. Although it is not her first language, she started to write in English two years ago. Her influences are Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman. She also write reviews and general mutterings on her blog, 42andotherproblems.blogspot.com.