A Chance Meeting

by Wes Jones

It was well after lunch time, and the cafe was not crowded, so Sharon easily found a table all to herself. It was freezing out, and she had stopped in for a hot drink to fight off the weather. After a while she loosened her coat, adjusting to the warm interior of the shop. Sighing, she looked out the window, shaking her head at the swarms of people moving past the window, all too busy to pay attention to the frigid temperature. People were always in such a hurry.

A clatter of tiny bells heralded the arrival of a newcomer to the cafe, and Sharon absently glanced over at the sudden noise. Upon seeing the the man, she blinked in suprise and shifted her attention to him fully. He was extraordinarily tall, and had to duck a bit to enter the cafe, but that wasn't why he captured her attention so completely. There was a certain quality about him that she couldn't really identify, or even try to explain, but it drew her eyes to him irresistably.

Sharon suddenly realized that she was staring, and was about to turn back to her hot chocolate when he glanced in her direction, and their eyes met. Something in her mind clicked, and she felt as if she had suddenly found someone she had always been searching for, without even knowing they existed. Sharon knew she was rather attractive, but was nevertheless seized by an irrational concern for her appearance. Did she look alright, or had the wind blown her hair into a mess? Should she close her coat again - or should she take it off? Where would she put it? Was she wearing makeup today or not? She was on the verge of going to the restroom to check her appearance when the man started to walk towards her. She realized she was holding her breath.

"Excuse me," he said to her, "but may I join you?"

"Yes! - I mean, uh...of course." she said, blushing, and trying to regain a measure of control. She thought she probably sounded ridiculous to him.

"Thank you," he said, and slid into a chair across from hers. Sharon looked up into his eyes, and found she could do nothing but stare. Words failed her. She jumped a bit when he suddenly broke the silence again.

"I need to ask you something," he said, looking deep into her eyes. Sharon held her breath again. What could he possibly want to ask her? "Do you believe in love at first sight?" he asked, leaning torwards her ever so slightly.

Sharon was stunned. Could it be that he felt it too? Could something this wonderful really happen to her? At last she managed a response.

"Yes. I believe in love at first sight." she said, and then shyly added, "At least, I do now." She slid her hand across the table to meet his. He smiled, took her hand in his -- and then shook it vigorously. His other hand rose from below the table, holding a clipboard she had totally failed to notice prior to that moment. He released her hand and plucked a pen from his pocket.

"Thank you very much, miss." he said to her. "I'm taking a survey on how many people believe in that particular phenomenon." He made a check mark in the left column on a piece of paper and got up from his chair. "Have a nice day," he said, and then turned and walked out of the cafe.

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