Girl in the Red Sweater

She loves love.

This girl in the red sweater.

He knows from the way she’s looking out the window.  Then back at the people.  Gazing at them a bit longer than is polite.  Seeing them but not really seeing them.  The placement of her seat in the coffee shop.  Three seats away.  Angled in just the most particular way to take everyone in.

He can see it in her eyes.

This girl in the red sweater.

The way that they become wistful at the people.  Never talking to them.  Imagining a story for them in her head.  He recognizes the language of her body as she observes.  Open and alert.  It’s subtle to others but it screams out loudly to him.  Fierce and reckless with their stories.  They matter to her but not really.  These people.

He can tell this about her.

This girl in the red sweater.

As he watches her in the coffee shop.  Three seats away.  Working.  He doesn’t know what she’s working on.  But he bets it’s something worth reading.  Full of struggles, hopes, sadness, bittersweetness, and love.  Always of love.  She would always write about love.  Because she’s never had it.

This girl in the red sweater.

She’s never been in love.

He feels it the way she holds that pen above the paper.  Hesitant.  Shy.  Afraid of how to find the words in the other people.  She chews on the end of the pen.  Her mouth leaving tiny marks of each writer frustration.  A testament to the struggle of organizing all the words.  She looks out the window.  Thoughts and ideas forming as fuzzy pictures dancing at the edge of her tongue.  He bets she’s gotten close to a great love.

This girl in the red sweater.

It would have ended before its time.  Before it could have shaped itself in her heart and broken it properly.  To have gotten so close to love would have been frustrating to a girl like her.  She would have been a marvel in love.  Full of feeling and reaction.  A tornado of emotion being allowed to be let loose on a quiet town of some man’s heart.  She would have been beautiful.  And dangerous.

This girl in the red sweater.

But now she writes of it.  Of love.  Always of love.  Of the people around her in love.  Jealous, wistful, and happy for them all at once.  So conflicted with herself.  She’s complicated and interesting.

She looks towards him.

This girl in the red sweater.

And she smiles.  A bright warm smile.  The kind that drips with happiness from every end.  So many promises in that smile.  He wonders if he should smile back.  A voice calls out behind him.  Laughing at her.  Deep and kind.  Calling the name of this girl in the red sweater.

“Have you finished that crossword yet?  You always take so long!”

She laughs at him.  And herself.  A bright and cheerful sound.

This girl in the red sweater hugs this man in a brown jacket.  Kisses him.  Love on her lips.  He watches them.  In the coffee shop.  Three seats away.

They leave and he writes them down.  Fierce and reckless with their stories.  They matter to him but they don’t.  These people.