He looked at her and knew she was a kind soul. He pretended to have dropped his glasses next to her. While he bent down to pick them up, the flurry of commotion got her attention and their eyes met. Jason smiled and introduced himself, "Hey, I'm Fred, short for Friedrich actually. Nice to meet you". A sudden wave of disappointment washed over his head, "this will not get me anything? Hmm, but let's see if she suspects that I made the name up when she sees I'm reading Friedrich Nietzsche's 'Beyond Good and Evil'" and the dismay turned into an exciting challenge. Meanwhile, she put her headphones away as if to tell him that she's there for him and said, "Hi Fred, I'm Vanessa. You seem like you could use lenses instead of glasses, or do you carry another pair?" when she saw him drop the glasses again somewhat clumsily. Fred told her that he has a rare condition called Augenocoma for which lenses aren't an option, and only glasses can provide some respite, hoping that she is not an ophthalmologist or someone with a medical background as he made up the disease. "I'm so sorry, I was just joking. I hope the glasses fix your vision well and medical progress eventually can cure this condition. Do you know if this is genetic?" she said earnestly and curiously.
Listening to her soft voice and her considerate tone, he asked reflected, "She should be mine. Why am I messing it up?" Another part of him simply replied, "well, because it's fun. Maybe she'll find the puzzle endearing. She shouldn't be so trusting, I'm giving her some practice." and continued partly worried that he's taking it too far this time, "I'm not sure because I never knew my parents, but that's a story for another time. Where are you heading to?" adding a crooked smile.
She conjectured that this man has no one he feels safe to open up to; he's caged; he's sharing everything with a total stranger, and he needs a whole lot of gentleness. Confident about her judgment, Vanessa wanted to hug him but restrained herself with just a giant smile. Jason was drawn to her brown eyes and her warm aura. "I'm visiting my boyfriend in Bonn for the weekend" Vanessa answered. Jason knew the drill, he thought "she's playing along..she is like me, I want her even more now." When he saw those black hair falling out from the back of her ear, he had the urge to kiss her but said, "I hope he recovers well and I'm sure you being around will speed up his recovery. What is wrong with him, if I may ask?". "Well, a lot of things! But frankly, no doctor can fix those. But this surgery, it's not very serious, they say, though he needs some days in the hospital.", she answered with an awkward chuckle followed by a sigh. Jason could smell the lies she's been telling. But that smile made him want to tell her everything - the truth without adulteration. A big part of him just wanted to disintegrate all pretense and show her his real self. He nodded along, "if only there were doctors for that, won't that be nice?! Ha-ha, but on a serious note, surgeries are harsh on the body - even small ones. I had a surgery 3 years ago, it gave me gluten intolerance, ha-ha, and frequent nausea. It's a wonder how the body can react to seemingly small surgeries and change in rather unrelated ways." He realized he has been trying to create narratives that warrant care ever since he started talking to this lady. He's always been an obsessive liar, but this time it was not only for the thrill of seeing if he can pull it off but to seduce her into showering him with mountains of love.
"The reason I asked about your boyfriend's condition is that I'm a doctor, a general physician myself" Another lie. "Oh, I'm sorry about your surgery. If a doctor himself has had such experience, no one can save us, poor souls." she said again awkwardly chuckling. He finally got himself to ask her, "You can, of course, contact me should you need any inputs. I have quite some contacts in the medical community." He was hoping that at least she would ask for his number this way, but he didn't have a plan for if she really contacts her for medical advice. Deep down, he knew he could swing it somehow, he almost always did. And he didn't mind more lies if that meant this spectacular woman calling him.
Almost sensing that this stranger is being almost too close as well as helpful, she said, "Thank you for your kind offer, I'm sure you're already very busy with your patients and acquaintances calling you for every small medical question. We wouldn't want to be a bother, but again, many thanks. Where are you headed?"
Hearing that "we" pierced through his heart with a sharpness he hadn't felt in a long time. So she isn't lying, after all, there is a "we" who is getting a surgery. Just the thought of her being so lovely and tender to another man, drowning him with all that love that deserved only him made him feel choked. Where is he headed really? "Away from you" is what he'd like to say, but he was getting desperate "I'm visiting a patient who managed to survive Hodgkin lymphoma, an uncommon cancer, after 3 months. He's just 14 years old." As he voiced those words, he got closer to her, gazing deep into her eyes. He paused for a reaction. She knew by now that something isn't right. She felt uneasy. Her eyes grew wide, she looked away and interjected, "That sounds great, I wish he stays healthy now. It's very thoughtful of you". She regretted not coming up with a hypothetical husband instead of a hypothetical boyfriend. Vanessa wanted this interaction to end right now. Jason found himself uttering, "I feel like we have a strong connection between us. I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable". This was the first time he hadn't lied to her so far. That apology also melted away some unsettling feelings Vanessa had and even empathized with "Fred" but in an honest attempt to lie, she told him, "I am afraid that does make me uncomfortable, and I'd like to get back to my audiobook now, good luck with everything."