The city is a big place with millions of people, so what is the mathematical probability of seeing the same stranger again and again in your travels, she wondered?

She had first seen him as she was attempting to hail a cab on the corner of 24th Street and Tenth Avenue. For a fleeting moment, he was alone on the corner across from her, waiting for the light to change. His head had turned in her direction and she was fascinated by his green eyes and silver hair. In the next moment, a beam of sunlight illuminated the spot where he stood and he was silhouetted against the sky. She remembered looking in her bag to see if, by some odd chance, she’d left her camera in it; when she turned back, he had been carried away in a rag-tag crowd of pedestrians.

Three weeks later, she was meeting a girlfriend for drinks at a midtown hotspot. She was early by nearly a half-hour, so she was window-surfing as she walked slowly toward her destination. A window full of cameras, cell phones, and assorted cut-rate electronic devices became the window of a bodega displaying advertisements for international calling cards. A view into a tiny bakery was followed by the open doors of a cafe. She moved along, crossing the bustling avenue and approaching the part of the street where she was to meet her friend. Stopping to read the bulletins in front of a church-turned-theater-venue used up a few more minutes, and she figured if she took a moment to look at the menus in front of each of the restaurants between her current location and the bar, she would get there right on time.

Greek, Italian, eclectic American….she was getting hungry. The next restaurant was French and the menu sat in a small case just outside the main window. She perused it with a sigh and as she lifted her eyes from it, there he was again–the silver-haired, green-eyed man, standing at the bar with a drink in his hand. She blinked a few times, her recognition of him kicking in. He shifted his gaze and met her eyes, holding her there. Everything else seemed to fade away, like one of those cinematic moments. She took a step or two toward the door of the restaurant, but wasn’t sure if she was moving under her own control. Three more steps and she would be inside.

Suddenly a hand was on her arm. She quickly looked in that direction, surprised to see the face of her girlfriend. The rest of the world came rushing back.

“Hey, you! This is not the right place; we’re a few doors down. Come on,” her friend said, grabbing her hand.

As she was hustled off up the street, she thought about this strange second sighting and her reaction to this stranger. She had meant to go into that restaurant; what had she planned to do once inside? She seemed to have no idea.

What she did know was that she’d begun to see him in her dreams. He was at the newsstand on the corner but she couldn’t get across the street; he was in the subway car on the other track; he was in the grocery store but when she turned into the aisle, he was gone. She was haunted but didn’t know why.

Weeks passed. She found her attention constantly being diverted by a flash of silver hair or the glint in a pair of green eyes. None of these belonged to her stranger, but it didn’t matter–she was a hunter now.

The weeks turned into a month, and she found herself uptown on Museum Row on a crisp and sunny Saturday morning. She wandered through the warm, quiet alcoves at the Met, visiting her favorite paintings and sculptures. She stood out on one of the balconies looking out over the park, the sun shining on her face. She mulled over ideas for the rest of the day and then headed out of the museum and up one of the tree-lined streets. Two avenues up, she began to browse through the shops of the antique book sellers, looking for something special to add to her small collection. She was partial to poetry, but the first two stores had nothing that interested her.

She walked into the third store, smiling and nodding at the proprietor, then headed for the first aisle of treasures. As she stepped around the shelving, she froze both physically and mentally. He stood three feet from her–silver hair pushed carelessly but perfectly back from his forehead, green eyes rising to look into her face, a slight smile gracing his lips. His elusion–however unintentional–was over.

She roused herself from her shocked stillness, moved toward him with her hand outstretched, and felt a smile come to her face.

“Well, hello there…it’s so nice to finally meet you.”

~ by skyeinmoonlight on January 13, 2012.

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