One Reply to “4.9.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. She chose him because of his hat. It was red and it stood out. It was a funny sort of hat, like a beret made of wool, a little misshapen and loose, like it belonged to someone with a bigger head. And the boy wearing it was a little misshapen, too, as though different parts of two people had been put together, and one of the persons fat and one of them thin.

    He was writing something in a book, his thoughts probably, for thoughts are easily and quickly lost if they are not written down. She understood that. She sat down beside him, without making a sound, and close enough she could read what he was writing. He held the pen in thick fingers, swollen almost, and the delicacy of his writing was a surprise to her – the thinnest scratched lines and all his letters looped and curled.

    ‘My name’s Tricia, if you’re interested.’

    He paused and looked over his shoulder as if there must be someone there that she was speaking to. She liked that. It gave him away. He was not used to being talked to. He chewed on the end of his pen and looked as though he was thinking and looked as though he was not thinking about her. The trees in the park were still and the birds hidden, even their singing – but if you listened as hard as listening can be, then they could be heard.

    ‘Tricia,’ she said again.

    He dared to look and looked away again. He pretended to read over what he had written and he went to write again, but didn’t.

    ‘And I’m looking for someone.’

    ‘Someone?’ he said, his eyes still fixed on the page in his book and the interrupted sentence that was there.

    ‘Well, not so much someone,’ she said, ‘as something.’

    He nodded as if he understood, and in his head, slow and slippy, he thought of witty things to reply, but the time between her speaking and his thoughts sharpening into words seemed too long and so he did not voice them. Instead he said nothing.

    The sounds of traffic reached to where they were, the insistent horns of taxi cabs and the revving of bus engines and the rumble of trucks or delivery vans.

    ‘It’s not easy for me to say,’ she said.

    He shifted uncomfortably and closed his book, one thumb tucked into the pages to keep his place. He looked again as she knew he would. She smiled at him without showing her teeth and she said she liked his hat.

    ‘You want my hat?’ he said.

    ‘Not exactly,’ she said. ‘But it is a nice hat.’

    This time he did not look away. She tucked her hair behind her ear. It was a practiced gesture, one so singularly delicate and so sure that once another boy had remarked on it. He’d said it was like music or poetry. He’d said it was beautiful and it should be recorded somehow, so others could see it.

    ‘Do you know what happens when two strangers kiss?’ she said.

    He shook his head and looked quizzical.

    ‘Me neither,’ she said, and she leaned into him and her breath was a warm whisper on his cheek and she smelled of lemons and she touched his face with the very tips of the fingers of one hand.

    It was just a kiss. It could be counted in seconds. And he was just a boy in a red cap and he didn’t even have a name. But it changed things, that kiss, changed the whole day, for him and for her. They sat without speaking afterwards, and she took his hand in hers and they just sat, and it felt funny and nice. She laughed and he did, too; and an old man sitting on the bench opposite and who had watched the whole thing, he laughed also and he took that story home with him and he told it to his wife, and she tucked her hair behind one ear, same as the girl in the park, and the old man kissed his wife and she laughed. And it was just a kiss.

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