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Wednesday, January 11

Just don't overthink this.

"Why do you always have to be so cynical?"
"Because sometimes things come. Good things. But there's no future in them."

Seeing him, walking across the street towards her, his long legs covering the distance with no effort at all, his unruly hair piled on his head, hands in his pockets, she suddenly felt the urge to take a picture. To stop the moment entirely and watch him, his hooded eyes peeking out at her, lopsided smile on his face, watch him walk toward her for the rest of her life. Or at least for the next hour or so.

But she couldn't stop time, couldn't even slow it down to admire him properly, and suddenly he was there. Standing before her and waving his left hand in a gesture of greeting.


He didn't sit, and she felt unsure of what to do. So she stood, just as he made to sit down at the table. They both paused, frozen in awkward positions, looking at each other. After a few seconds of this, his mouth partly open, her knees still slightly bent as she rose, they began to laugh. Earnestly and with a little bit of embarrassment. 

In that moment, she remembered why she was here, sitting at an overpriced, outdoor patisserie on a crowded street on a windy day. She remembered why she had worn her new skirt, cinched at her waist and reaching her toes, and why she had brushed her hair out carefully in the mirror at her studio, letting it fall around her shoulders freely, as she rarely did. 

Because there was something there, between them. It had been there when they had met, a week ago, in a crowded house on New Year's Eve, and it was there now. It was quieter now, in the light of day without the borrowed courage of alcohol and the rush of new beginnings, but it was still there; of that, she was sure.

Still laughing, they both sat down, smiling at each other, comfortable. 

He leaned forward in the small iron chair and folded his hands on the table. "You haven't been waiting long?"

She shook her head, feeling shy about his closeness, the intensity of his stare. "No. No, not at all. I'm just -- I'm enjoying the day."

He looked out at the sky, which was a beautiful soft blue and nodded slowly. "We are pretty damn lucky, that's for sure."

"I know! This is my first winter in California, and I--"

"Wait, really?" He looked at her, head slightly tilted.

She nodded, used to this reaction. "Yeah."

"But I thought your parents..."

"It's complicated, but technically, I have only been living here since November. Before that, I was in Michigan." She shrugged her shoulders as he looked at her as most people native to California did when she revealed this news, as if they couldn't imagine a young woman such as herself having to face the atrocities that lay outside their state's borders. It was a mixture of astonishment and awe that she found endlessly amusing.

"Wow. Then yeah, I guess you really must be enjoying today," he said. And it was true. She couldn't quite get used to the weather, and had to keep reminding herself that, in spite of the fact that she was wearing a skirt and tank top, in spite of the fact that she had taken a nap in the grass a few days ago, and in spite of the fact that she had spent all of last weekend lounging in a pool, it was January. January. Her Michigan counterpart would have been decked out in snow boots, a large winter coat, and three pairs of long johns. And yet here she was, sunglasses in hand, about to have lunch outside in a very nice part of town with a very good looking man.

Life, she thought, was strange, indeed.

"What are you writing?" He gestured at the red notebook in front of her, which was open, her favorite pen lying beside it.

"Um," she looked down at the scribbles on the page and, for once, felt grateful that her handwriting was barely legible, even to her. "Nothing really." A pause. "Stupid stuff."

Looking up, she saw that he was looking at her, a wide smile on his face. "Oh yeah?" Eyebrows raised, eyes sparkling mischievously, he was beautiful, and she had to remind herself to breathe.

She laughed a little, smiling stupidly back at him. "Yeah."

Unlike most people, he did not ply for more details, grab for her notebook, or ask if he could read it. He just  smiled at her and nodded, accepting her answer.

A waiter approached them then, a skinny man with a black apron tied around his waist. He handed them both slim, one page menus, took their orders for water, then walked away.

"Have you ever been here before?"

She looked over the menu, which had an array of pastries and sandwiches. "Nope."

"Me neither." Their eyes met over their menus. She smiled. "It will be an adventure, then!"

Just then, their waiter placed two glasses of water on the table before them. As soon as the waiter left, he picked one glass up and held it up to her. "To new adventures."

She held her glass to his and laughed spontaneously. "To new adventures."


First draft of the first part of something, my friends.

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