The Kindness of Strangers

She never once turned to face him, but he knew she was beautiful.

Every day he sat on his regular seat on the Number 8 bus, just behind the passenger side rear wheel, riding and waiting for her stop.

The driver slowed to a stop and slid open the door, and she wasn’t there.

He was so distracted he forget to get off the bus at his stop.

The jumble of thoughts that ran through his mind all shared the same common thread of confusion. Where was she? Was she okay? Would he ever see her again?

He called the office to say that he wasn’t feeling well and would be working from home today and rode the bus to the station, where he hopped the Number 14 to get back home as quickly as possible.

He doubted himself; was this the right decision? What if she was simply running late? Should he have stayed on the 8 to see if she caught the next pickup? Where was she?

He shook his head to try to clear the thoughts of concern plaguing him.

He nearly forgot his briefcase on the 14. No matter if he had; it contained nothing irreplaceable.

He dropped his keys in the bowl by the door and headed straight for his home office. He woke up his laptop and logged on to his workstation, but his mind still wandered.

What about the girl of his dreams?

He pushed back from his desk and closed his eyes, taking deep breaths. Slightly refreshed, he pulled himself back to his computer screen and typed craigslist into the search box.

He scrolled through the missed connections for a few minutes before reaffirming his decision. He typed furiously for nearly half an hour, typing and deleting, typing and deleting. This couldn’t be one of those generic still on my mind garbage ads. It had to be real and heartfelt. And completely unembarrassing, just in case she actually read it.

The young lady who ride the 8

The love of my life

I hope you’re okay

Where did you go?

To the woman with flowing chestnut hair and a khaki jacket: I’m sure you’ve never seen me, but I see you every day. You ride the 8 downtown every morning with me. Today, you weren’t at your stop, and I’m worried. I hope nothing untoward has happened, and that you are in good health and good spirits, wherever you are. I’m sure you’ll never see this, but just in case you do, know that someone cares.

He submitted the ad, and tried to push her from his mind while going about his workday from home. He was never successful, and he never received a response.

The next morning, he was an anxious bundle of nerves on the bus. Would she or wouldn’t she?

He never saw her again.