Strangers in the Night

Saturday, 17th of August, 4:45 AM. Buenos Aires city. Bus stop of line 59, Cabildo Avenue.

The night was slightly chilly. I had been at a friend’s birthday party and now I was heading home. I knew buses ran at a lower frequency at night-time, so when I arrived at the bus stop I decided to walk in circles around the sidewalk while humming a tune, so as to make time pass faster. Suddenly, a lonely-looking guy appeared in the corner. Slightly inhibited, I halted and assumed a normal pose, returning to the bus stop. But instead of walking past me, this guy came towards me.

— Excuse me, do you know where Teodoro Garcia street is?– he asked.

Surprised to know the answer to his question, as I’m practically illiterate when it comes to urban cartography, I answered, beaming: — Yeah, it’s that one, the first you see from here crossing Cabildo.

— Oh — he said. Right when I thought he’d leave, he went on — Hey, do you live here?

— Well, yeah, you could say that — I answered, unwilling to tell the story of my life to a stranger. Still, I couldn’t help feeling a bit dazzled by his looks. You know, his hair a shade between fair and brunette, kind of wavy and coming to his jaw, light blue eyes, caucassian, well-built, and about my height. He looked kind of scruffy, though in a good way. The only drawback? He looked at least 4 years younger than I. Which made me address him as if he were my little sister’s friend or a student of mine, not as an equal. I was just trying to be nice.

— I’m from Bariloche, –he said — so I would like to know of cool pubs and nightclubs to go out here.

— Well, — I skimmed my thoughts. I’m not much of a party girl, so I wouldn’t know a lot to say. Still, I wanted to answer. — There’s this place I’ve been to a couple of times. It’s in Palermo, you know? It’s a bar till 2 AM, when it becomes a nightclub. Really cool.

The guy asked me where the bar was, and I tried to give him directions. Then we both tried –rather unsuccessfully– to agree on the cardinal point it was located. Then he changed the subject.

— So what are you doing now?

— Oh, I’m so going home now. I’m sleepy — I confessed, half embarrassed and feeling old, even at 24.

— I’m Ramiro — he smiled and stretched his hand to shake mine. I did the same. For some mysterious reason, we wouldn’t withdraw our hands from each other’s, holding glances. I was beginning to feel some fluttering of butterflies in my stomach. — Let’s go have a drink — he rather commanded, his tone so compelling it was actually hard to utter rejection. Did I mention even his voice was attractive?

— Oh, I’m so sorry! — I said, offering an apologetic smile. I definitely hadn’t seen that one coming! The fluttering inside me rose to unprecedented levels — I really am sleepy and have to go, — I added. Suddenly, the spell seemed to break and I couldn’t help the afterthought — What were you doing, wandering out there all alone, anyway?

— I live nearby — He muttered. At that point, I really didn’t know what to believe.

— Oh — I said, confused.

— Come, let’s go have a drink. — He insisted, his eyes ever so inviting.

Suddenly, the bus appeared in the corner. — I have to go, — I said — I was actually waiting for this bus.

— Please don’t tell me you have to take this one… — he regretted, his eyes conveying disappointment.

— Sorry, I have to take it. Anyway, thanks… You take care, ok? — I said, getting on the bus. Mixed emotions filled my heart as I sat on the bus and became aware of what had just happened. It had been the first time such a handsome guy hit on me and I wasn’t even sure it had been real. All I knew that very instant was that either God had saved me from something foul …or Life was plain ironic and unfair. While my pious mind went over the Weird Sisters‘ words –“fair is foul and foul is fair”–, the 16 year-old inner me was overwhelmed with the memory of the look in his eyes and the touch of his hand.

 

~*Princess of the Stars*~

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