Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Kimbery Menozzi and... A Nodding Acquaintance

No more waiting! Here is your monthly treat signed by Kimberly Menozzi

When we meet, we always meet on the same corner. We wait for the traffic light to go from rosso to verde, and then at almost the same moment, we step out onto le strisce which define the crosswalk. After a couple of years of these inadvertent meetings, he now acknowledges me with a quirk of the corner of his mouth or a slight nod in my direction before we take that first step together.

The first time I saw him is still clear in my mind, though I couldn't say when it was. It was cool outside though. I know this because he wore a lavender sciarpa around his neck and a black velvet baseball cap. His thigh-length overcoat looked like a wool blend – I can't be sure because there was no way to touch it without being obvious – his dress slacks were dark grey, tailored to break perfectly where they touched his black leather shoes.

It shouldn't have worked, but it did, on him. Even from where I stood behind him, I could see that much.

Some time later I arrived at that corner, the one where I'd first seen him, and he was there again. The weather was warmer. No baseball cap hid his precision-cut dark hair. No scarf obscured the sharp line of his jaw. I stood beside him that time, watching out of the corner of my eye, wishing I could just turn and face him directly to admire his dark eyes. Other pedestrians stepped up behind us and we waited for the light to change, he and I standing side by side, so close it was as if we knew each other.

I thought maybe I recognized him. Did he work in the bank where I taught English? Had I passed him in the corridor sometime recently? Or on the sidewalk near my house?

No. I only knew him from this spot.

The light changed and we stepped forward together. We walked nearly side by side for a short while. After the first block I turned to cross the road and he continued walking. I had time enough to wonder if he noticed my absence. Not if he cared; just if he noticed.

Weeks passed. The weather turned warmer still. I stood at the corner, waited for the light and considered my schedule while checking my watch. I noted the time only because I was making sure I wouldn't be late for my appointment. When I looked up, he was there, this time on an ancient-looking bicycle.

I smiled in spite of myself and focused on the light a moment before it turned green.

I was there at the same time the next day. So was he. We didn't look at each other. We stepped off the curb together, strode forward and I took the lead this time. I turned after a block and crossed the street, then watched him from across the street until I turned down another route.

Walking home one afternoon, I found myself at the opposite corner. He was in his usual place, only now he was across from me – it was our usual time, after all. He watched the traffic, I watched him and I realized familiarity made his face a little less perfect, but no less handsome. For a moment it seemed his eyes met mine, but they skimmed over the people standing next to me and continued on, making no obvious note of my being there.

When we entered the crosswalk, his eyes met mine. Only for a second. I smiled and his head tilted briefly in my direction, and then we were past each other and crossing in opposite directions.

From that point on, he noticed me. I'm starting to think he always did.

4 comments:

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This is absolutely wonderful! I got swept up in this!

Patricia said...

Delicious!!

Jeane said...

Thank you for your book!

Kimberly Menozzi said...

@CaaBC - Thank you so much!
@Patricia - Thank you, too! Wow! Two fantastic comments which made my day. :)
@Jeane - You're welcome, Jeane - I hope you'll enjoy the read. :)