"Bus stop wet day
She's there I say
Please use my umbrella"
Bus Stop--the Hollies
Raining. Wet day. Puddles in the gutter with oil-pictures
psychedelically dancing, sopping shoes and soaking clothes abound
in all directions. Wetness wetness everywhere and no escape is
Actually it had been raining for almost two weeks now. So when
Jeffrey walked up carrying an umbrella you might suspect he was
one of those kinds that are prepared for anything. His case was
just the opposite. He was a procrastinator, a slacker, a
putter-offer par excellence. It took two weeks of solid rain to
make him realize he might need an umbrella, and truth be told, he
was not the type to be ready for much of anything, especially the
anything he was to encounter at the bus stop. The form that was
sitting on the bench, the woman, was the anything.
He thought, from the back of her head anyway, "She's a girl." But
no, she was a woman full-grown.
She happened to him like a song. It was starting to mist. She was
sitting, petite and wild-haired, a sketch-pad tucked under her
arm. He sat down beside her and she scooted away. That's what
good girls do.
When the mist got serious he opened the umbrella.
"Here, use some of this."
She scooted back over and he noticed the smell of lavender and
fresh-brewed coffee. Enchanting.
"Are you an artist?"
He'd got her to talk so now he was getting bold.
"Let's see whatcha got."
She looked up to regard him. He seemed harmless, in fact kind of
nice. She liked nice.
She thought she might shock him for fun. Women can be pretty bold
They were sketches, charcoal sketches, pretty good charcoal
sketches. Nude charcoal sketches. She had drawing down.
"These are pretty good."
He aimed his comment carefully into her chocolate brown eyes that
other men would have merely labeled brown. He was taken
completely by her chocolate explosions.
"The proportions are just right. The lines are bold and show
control and a sure hand."
He looked at her hands. Delicate but undoubtedly strong. Good.
She brightened. Good thing because the sun wasn't out yet. With
her the day was shining anyway.
"Sounds like you know what you're talking about. Are you an art
"Used to be years ago, but now I'm a photographer."
Like I said, she possessed wild dark hair.
"How do you manage to take care of that hair?"
"With a brush silly! But I can make it straight too, by using a
hair dryer. It's the dampness that makes it curl. Sometimes I
"Don't hate it too much. Women I know would kill for that kind of
She smiled and he noted her smile, so now he got bolder yet.
"So what does your boyfriend think of you drawing nude men at
school? I bet he gets jealous."
"Sometimes he gets real jealous!"
Shit, she had one alright. Women this good looking always did. It
was some kind of natural law, some sort of inevitability. Damn.
The mist turned to rain and she scooted closer, boyfriend or no
"It's cold," he observed, crest-fallen. It was pretty much all he
"Want a sip of my coffee?"
He took some and liked it just fine.
"Yummy. What flavor is this?"
"It's Columbian Supremo with hazelnut creamer."
He got excited.
"It's great, it tastes good, it smells good. It's the best I've
ever had," but then while he was on a roll and before he could
stop himself he said, "It's you."
He faltered, "I mean it's good...and it tastes good...and I
"I know what you meant," said with just a hint of a smile.
They both saw the bus down the street and got up. It pulled up
with a splash and a hiss and a lurch. He motioned her on. It was
filled with people and he wanted to sit next to her but the
machine wouldn't take his dollar until the third try. By that
time he'd lost her in a sea of hats and coats and heads. The bus
was so stuffed it smelled like wet dog. He finally found a seat.
After a few stops on major streets enough people filtered off and
he saw her in back and she gave him one of those "I recognize
"She's comfortable now," he figured, "on account of me; she's not
wet at all."
Her hair looked as wild as ever, maybe more, and somehow made him
miss her even though he'd never had her. He saw her writing
something down on a piece of lined notebook paper, using the
sketch pad for support.
"Probably a note to her stinking boyfriend," he figured, who by
now he hated, if only because she was his. He could hear it
tearing as she ripped it free of the spiral notebook and folded
it up like a secret.
She reached up and tugged at the bell to get off.
He figured, "It's over."
Now she walked past him to get to the door. So close that he
imagined, though I'm sure it was an illusion, he could smell
lavender again. She slowed a bit and reached down and stuffed
something in his shirt pocket. She stepped down real dainty-like
on to the curb. He watched her out the rain-streaked window as
she took a few steps away but then turned.
She held the sketch book up towards the bus. There was something
written on it, something all black and bold. When the rain
started to hit it bled to the bottom but could still be easily
"NO BOYFRIEND" it said all runny-like.
Smiling now she walked away. He took out the paper and unfolded
it. It was short, a simple note really, but it made him catch his
breath when he read,