It was a supernatural kind of day. The weak sun sprinkled the pavement with light and a subtle, modest kind of joy. The wind sighed satisfactorily, as it swept airily through the London streets. Crisp, crimson leaves fluttered around me, the dusty, grey sky was in perfect contrast. They looked tangible, the leaves. As I reached out from my sitting position, a leaf gently brushed the palm of my hand. On the outside, I smiled. On the inside, I laughed. I lifted my hand and groped wildly in the air. That seemed to "scare off" any leaves that came my way. I breathed in patiently and then loosely turned my hand up to face the sky. The infinite sky. Soon enough a leaf floated into my hand. It spiraled, swiftly at first, and then it stalled for a short moment, before falling into my hand. Falling into place, once again. It glowed in my hand, vibrantly, but as soon as my hand closed around, it crumbled into little fragments. The leaf was as aging as the day.
I stood up and brushed myself down, although there was nothing to brush off. No debris, no nothing. So, I guess it was instinctual that I brushed my self down. "Instinct is good", I thought, as I wandered away from the chipped wooden bench, and through the park. Instinct also told me, that the human race is immensely concerned with renaming things. A lake often becomes a beach. A housekeeper becomes a butler. Or, in this case, a pathetic patch of weedy grass and a swing set, becomes a park.
My coat whipped fiercely against my shins as my relaxed stroll accelerated into a brisk walk. I don't know why I was walking with such pronounced velocity, but I was, and I was not about to stop. All of my energy built up and burned, propelling me ahead. I went faster. I was running. No, sprinting. I couldn't stop. I wouldn't stop. I didn't stop. For a bit.
It's about three streets down when I became conscious of my shortness of breath. One moment, I was running like I was meant to. Fast, sparingly, unhaltingly. But I was not as young as I used to be, and soon the cogs that kept me going stopped. Qualities like stubbornness and strength faded away, and I was left with an empty body, exhilarated. I grabbed my sides and pumped forced breaths through my open mouth. I wanted to keep going, but I couldn't. The streets were empty. My head thumped. I knew exactly what I had done. I knew I had pushed myself over the limit, for some excitement, for some attention, for some intensity. For something, for anything. I stood, hands on knees, bent over heaving so loudly I barely noticed the woman. When I did, she took a respectful step back. She had short kinky blond hair, looks just like Kelly McGillis, you know which one I'm talking about. The top gun chick, with the gorgeous hair and toothy grin.
"What's your worst fear?" I looked at her to check if she was joking. She wasn't. She stared right back. Weirdo.
"Ummm..." I straightened up. "Spiders." She looked at me and smiled. God, I could already tell she did that a lot. Smiling, I mean.
"No. It's not." She raised her eyebrows and half laughed. "You know that spiders aren't an issue for you. You don't mind them ." I frowned. She was right, but... how and why? Why was she bothering me?
"Frankly, that is none of your business." I cleared my throat insecurely. She just shrugged and smiled. This infuriated me even more. "You're a stranger. What are you trying to do here?" She ignored the question.
"You lied to me. Don't you think that's a bad start to build a friendship on?"
"You're not my friend."
"I could be."
"You're a stranger!"
"Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet." The conversation lulled. I just shook my head.
"Maybe you are the enemy."
She laughed. "Yeah, ok." I could tell she didn't take it seriously. She didn't take me seriously.
Damn, I remember wanting to be more annoyed. I remember thinking I should've been cursing the living daylights out of her that very moment, but for once I didn't seem to care. I was in awe of her. I don't know why, but she was interesting. No matter how hard I tried to be pissed off... I just couldn't.
I recall thinking: Maybe I didn't need to control this. We would see. "Que sera, Que sera." She added, as though reading my thoughts. I just decided to shrug. It was time to play it cool. "So your biggest fear?"
"Come on." She rolled her eyes. "Cat's got your tongue?"
"Oh." I shrugged. "Maybe... Control? That I will lose control? That things won't go right?"
"Maybe?" She grimaced. "What does that mean?"
"Maybe means maybe, lady."
She nodded. "Okay. But "maybe" doesn't wash with me."
"Right." I looked down at my feet. "Yeah. I don't know how to answer that."
"Perhaps... You don't have fear?"
I gazed down the street for a moment, then turned my attention to her. "Yes," I answered with a note of finality. "Yes, I do." There was silence. I looked up, she was smiling with a touch of melancholy, but in an adventurous sort of way.
"I knew there was something about you..." She reached out as if to grab that "something". I cocked my head to the side and gave her a funny grin. She looked at me. None of us spoke.
"Can I buy you a coffee?"
I nodded slowly. "Sure."
That night I sat down at my desk. I hadn't as much as touched it for years. No doubt about that. It was strewn with papers. Ripped papers, because I never saw the point in scrunching up paper into a ball. It was pointless, a bigger stress reliever would've been just to fricken rip that crap into pieces. Ripped papers, in other people's worlds, signified ripped papers. In my world, they signified failed attempts, and those, I had a lot of. And so, as I sat down to my paper-cluttered desk, I took out a sheaf of paper and began to write. Words scattered my pages, which then when pieced together, blossomed into a chapter. And then a book.
A final note to the reader, and writers of your own stories: Sometimes life gives you characters, you've just got to write them down. Fast!