Eyes met, glance away, and then meet again. An awkward dance, like junior-high students mingling, yet it still caused Luke’s heart to jump. The eyes peeked out from beneath the brim of a faded baseball cap. The navy had turned a mottled gray; the Cubs logo was a pastel peach.
He could feel a rush of warmth as his heart beat kept a frantic pace. Luke looked out of the bus windows. He gripped the overhead bar tighter as the bus came to a squeaking halt.
Luke looked back to the woman with the Cubs cap. She was just staring out the window. He could see the gentle slope of her nose as he gazed on. Yet, when she looked up, he winced. There was something.
His mind flashed with the thought of a woman not long ago. Her face wrinkled in disgust. Asking him to fight, but he hadn’t. He couldn’t. Those blue eyes beckoned him, though. He straightened, wetting his lips. He had to talk to her.
The bus stopped again and he watched to see if the woman rose, she didn’t. Luke decided not to leave until she did. His stop was only a few more, but when they came to it, the woman still had not budged from her seat. He grasped the rail for several more stops, until she finally stood, and exited the bus. Luke froze almost unwilling to follow, but he caught a faint wisp of lilac, reminiscent of a home he once knew.
Once he reached the street he looked frantically for the woman and saw her heading down 40th street. He half-jogged half-walked, to catch up with her. Luke slowed as he grew closer, his crocs scuffing on the concrete.
She turned slightly to see who was coming so quick behind her. Her hands clutched her bag and she drew away slightly unsure what his intentions were. Those eyes flashed at him. Luke was almost struck to stone by that look; he slowed to a stop, but he did stutter a hello.
She returned it, but continued on to say, “Who are you?”
Luke’s face rippled as he realized there was no good way to say it, “I saw you on the bus.”
“Oh,” she said, though her face was still wrinkled in uncertainty. “Well, I’m Maggie,” she said. She extended her hand to him. He gently took it, his breath catching as their skin touched. He struggled out, “I’m Luke.”
They let go of their handshake and he realized he was going to have to say it. He couldn’t. He wanted to, but heart and mind wrestled for an instant. His heart lost. Fear won. “I just wanted to tell you that your eyes are beautiful.”
Her eyebrows rose at him, disappearing in the cap’s shadow. She rocked back on her feet, adjusting her bag on her shoulder. She finally replied, “Oh, thank you.”
Luke could hear the nicety and his heart fell.
“Well bye,” Maggie said. And then she started walking.
Luke said goodbye to her back. And he walked the other direction.
Alexander Pyles is a graduate philosophy student at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is hoping to break into the world of novel writing and/or screenwriting, with hopes of bringing literature and beauty to the foreground of culture. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys; reading, movies and hanging out with people.