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When Strangers Meet

Ella Crites - February 14, 2023

His hand raking through his hair,

He gives a polite smile.

The friend motions to each, saying their names.

They nod and mumble a polite greeting.



Nice to meet you.

You too.

The friend, the glue of the interaction, excuses herself.

In the silence filled only with uncomfortable sighs and brief glances, the strangers stand still.

Whenever his eyes connect with hers,

they both, in awkward avoidance, turn their heads away.

He tips his head down, having a silent conversation with the ground.

She decides to listen to the story told by the clouds in the sky.

Neither wants to stay long, and

each ponders making up some excuse to leave that will save them from these stale moments.

His eyes stare down, she lifts her head, watching how the light reflects off his face,

noticing his soft brown hair, each strand slightly disheveled and wind-blown.

She inspects his soft features, each beautiful and warm.

Hands deep in his pockets, he doesn't notice her staring.

She tries to look away, but the allure of him— this handsome stranger—

keeps her attention.

Feeling weird because of how long he has been staring, he looked up, meeting her gaze.

Embarrassed, she blushes and turns her head toward the direction of her departed friend.

He, intrigued by her sudden interest, tilts his head slightly— an inquiry.

Watching her golden hair fall in front of her face, the man only blinks, frozen in place.

He watches in wonder as the same stranger from a few moments before seems to transform

into a mysteriously beautiful woman.

She watches the other people on the street;

her hands fidget with her coat buttons.

He watches her every movement.

She swings her head back towards him,

her eyes meeting his,

the rest of her body frozen in tandem.

The wind blows past with playfulness and wonder.

As the wind passes the two, each tenses up from the cold.

The man and the woman watch the fallen leaves float by across the concrete

until the woman feels a small sting of something cold and wet on her forehead—


A flurry falls on the man’s nose and vanishes, eliciting a smile from the woman.

The man tilts his head, just as before, and smiles back.

The woman struggles to form the right words in her head.

She doesn’t want to ruin the moment,

but as she opens her mouth to speak,

the friend comes back.

What are you two smiling at?

The woman and the man laugh together

and stroll on with their mutual friend,

no longer as strange to one another as before.

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