The sound of footsteps on marble flooring reverberated throughout the station, making it almost impossible to hear. She moved to a corner, away from the steps, and the fleeing crowd. It was a forever wait before she heard his voice slowly respond as he made the connection. Relieved, she continued the conversation, her two friends looking at her quizzically, confused looks on their faces. After a few minutes of talk, it was settled. They agreed to meet in front of the movie theater.
“Who was that? Who could you possibly know here? What are you up to?” they demanded to know immediately, almost in unison. She chuckled. After a long pause, she decided she must give them something, or this would become an inquisition…
“Just some guy I know,” she replied. Not good enough for them.
They fired back, “Some guy you know? How do you know him? When did you meet him? You never told us you know someone here!”
“Well, I don’t know him. Not exactly,” she stated matter-of-factly. The looks said more than their words could have, so she was forced to say more.
“His name is Frank. We have been exchanging emails for a few months now. I thought today would be a great opportunity to meet him face to face,” I explained.
“You don’t even know this city,” they cried. “You have never met this man,” they exclaimed. “We are going with you,” they insisted.
“Um. Nooooooo. No, you aren’t. When I leave to meet him, you go do something fun, and afterwards I will meet you back at the train station in time to catch the 7 PM train,” I asserted.
“You are NOT going to meet some strange man in some strange city without us,” they announced. “What if he is weird?” they half-joked.
“He isn’t weird,” she replied.
“What if he is some ax murdered?” they worried.
“He isn’t an ax murder,” she sassed.
“What if he is a rapist? He could be. You don’t know him,” they retorted.
“He isn’t a rapist,” she huffed.
“How do you know?” they grilled.
She had to admit, they had her. She only knew him from a few emails, but she assured them anyway. “I just know.”
The day was icy cold with a call for snow showers throughout. The three friends spent the day roaming, exploring, observing. They strolled along the fence of her favorite park in his city, stopping to admire the beautiful photography and to read the description of each piece in the roving exhibition, Earth From Above. Across the street, they stopped to enjoy lunch and another hot chocolate on the heated terrace outside, something unheard in their hometowns.
It was soon time to leave for the movie theater and her chance to meet him. She walked to the nearest metro station, two chaperones in tow. She had lost the battle…
Exiting the metro, the snow had turned to freezing rain. Ice rained down on them, smacking their faces into strawberries. They looked around, found cover and waited.
“Do you see him?” she is asked.
“Not yet,” she chirped. “It’s only 5PM now.”
“What does he look like? Maybe we can help you find him,” they offered.
“I have no idea,” she quietly confessed.
“WHAT! You have no idea what he looks like and you made a date to meet him? How will you know? There are tons of people here!” she heard, as she turned the volume down.
“I will just know.”
“Look, there’s a guy over there by himself. Go see if that’s him,” her friends stated excitedly. She can’t help but think about how she wished they had just gone off on their own, like she planned. After all, she was 38 and could take care of herself.
“That’s not him,” she knowingly quipped, but she approached the man anyway…
“I told you that wasn’t him,” she said in her I-told-you-so voice. “I will know him when I see him.”
“There’s another one over there. That might be Frank,” they insisted again.
“That’s not Frank, either,” she quickly informed.
She looked around the square in front of the movie theater, as closely as the icy rain would allow, and pointed…
“See that guy over there? The guy with the briefcase on the ground? Do you see the guy wearing the brown leather jacket and the brown boots? That’s Frank,” she proclaimed with an air of confidence…
“Bonjour, Frank!” she whispered.