This is a short piece I wrote to increase my flash fiction writing skills. I’m going to be doing this regularly in order to help build them up and to learn to get inspired from the tiniest of thoughts.
She looked up at me, a slightly quizzical look on her face. Michael and Ju Eun stood around 10 feet away, pretending they didn’t know me. It wasn’t easy, seeing that the three of us had been sitting together with Nick at Starbucks for the past hour. Nick, typically, was already outside, not interested in seeing me embarrass myself with a girl.
I’d been staring at her for the past 30 minutes. There were beautiful girls all around us, but somehow, she had been the one who’d struck me. And this itch to walk up to her, and tell her that she was the most beautiful thing this side of Eden just wouldn’t subside.
“Yes?” she asked. Her legs were drawn up on the couch she was on, a half full glass of black coffee on the table in front of her strewn with books. They looked mysterious to me, with Hiragana and Katakana symbols (which I could vaguely remember) and Kanji (which I’m hopeless with) smattered across them. A notebook was open in a delicate hand and she held a pen with the other, one end of which was trapped between her pink lips in a gesture both innocent and sensual the the same time.
“I was just wondering,” I began, a slight hitch in my voice (down, boy!), “what you were working on. Are they log tables or something?”
Log tables. Yeah. Way to go. Next thing she’ll be asking me if my name’s Raj Kuthrapalli.
She scrunched her nose up for a second as she processed my statement, and my legs grew weak for a second. Only a second, as I managed to regain control over them a second later. That expression, my brain decided despite being on the verge of shutdown, needed to be burned into my mind and etched into the inside of my skull.
And then she smiled. “No,” she chirruped, “I’m making my timetable. I just started at University today, and I need to pick my professors.”
My brain receded from the edge of total lockdown to saner pastures. “Ah,” I replied, my hesitant smile becoming a tad more genuine. “We did the same thing back at Uni in India. What’s your major?”
“I’m in Political Science,” she replied, her voice sweet as honey. My eyes travelled from her impossibly bright eyes to her notebook, which had nothing but doodles in it. A dainty hand darted forward and shut it. My eyes followed that hand back to its owner and her face, a slight blush on her features.
“I’m not done yet,” she said shyly.
My smile grew wider and slightly conspiratorial. “That’s okay,” I winked, “I won’t tell anyone.”
She grinned, and I grinned with her. “You’re from India?” she asked, stretching in a cat-like manner.
I nodded, my eyes trying not to leave her face. She was dressed beautifully, a white top with the sleeves rolled up slightly to facilitate writing and a short black skirt underneath. Her legs were two smooth pieces of marble stretching away to eternity.
“I’m working at Kyodai,” I said. “You?”
“Doshisha-mae,” she replied.
“Ah,” I responded. “Well,” I realised that I had taken enough of her time. Michael, Nick and Ju Eun had to take the last train back to Osaka, and if I just stood there talking to her, I wouldn’t be able to board it with them (I was taking the same train back to Katsura). “I need to leave now, but it was really nice talking to you.”
“Nice talking to you too,” she said.
I turned away, and walked back to Michael and Ju Eun, and we began to walk towards the exit. My head turned reflexively to stare at her. Only to find that she was staring right back with those impossibly bright eyes, a smile on her face as her fingers went through her bangs. An innocent gesture, but one which was enough to make my heart beat at a pace which would have made John Bonham proud.
She had just a hint of makeup on, enough to accentuate the slightly snobbish look she had and make her lips look fuller. In a kimono, she would probably have had heads turning left, right and centre. My eyes strayed below her face to catch a golden pendant winking at me. I looked back up. Maybe I imagined it, but a knowing glint had entered her eyes. Eyes which seemed to say, “You naughty boy. You’ve been looking where you oughtn’t.” They accentuated her snobbish features even more.
Maybe on another day, those features would have looked stuck-up. She might not put on makeup in such an elegant fashion again. Maybe she would not choose her clothes with the eye of a tasteful fashion designer.
But I would never know, I realised with a pang as my brain caught up with my body.
We hadn’t even exchanged names.