Their eyes met, and it was like the whole world froze.
Cliché is a word that springs to mind, but the teenage girl still leafed through the pages like it was a gripping crime novel. Sometimes you need clichés.
At that precise moment though, I didn't need charming princes and fairy tale weddings. I also didn't need a mutant alien race taking over the planet or an enlightening journey around the globe. The reading material on that day was scarce. The rain made people want to retreat inside. They perched in a window seat in a café, reading the book they brought specifically to waste time.
I had skipped over puddles. I spent my days inside with a warm drink and a book, listening to the rain drum against the window pane. It was a music that helped me relax. But as the singular drops of water, that had once calmed me, made my skin dissipate I wished I had spent more time stood out in it. Such a simple thing; to watch the water trail across your skin or drip from your fingertips and slide down the strands of your hair.
"Uh, Miss? Are you okay?" I kept walking, not in the mood to watch a romance play out. No doubt he would swoop in to keep her warm and dry... and then she would reveal that she was waiting for her husband. The unfortunate scenarios of life. Once in a while though, someone will hold an umbrella over the right person's head. I resolved that if it happened in that moment, I would miss it. Why not preserve those moments for when you are in a good mood, especially when you have all the time in the world.
I skipped over a puddle... force of habit. It was only when I heard the slosh of a boot sinking into the water that I halted my steps. The deep, resonant voice from only seconds before was closer now. "Miss? You're uh... you're steaming? Are you okay?" He sounded nervous, as though he felt obliged to say something but was scared of the consequences of doing so. It seemed as though he felt I should have noticed that the smoky substance was rising off of me but just wanted to make sure.
I managed to get used to it after a while, but I never had to explain it to someone. I was too scared to turn. That unmistakable sound of rain tapping against a hard surface cocooned me in that one spot as he held an umbrella over my head.
I shuffled on the spot nervously, the absence of the scuffling sound painfully obvious. "Yeah, it's a medical condition." Apparently lying through my teeth came naturally.
"What, you're allergic to rain?"
"Something like that." I had never wished more for the silent observation I had become accustomed to, than I did in that moment. I still hadn't turned, scared that just by looking at me he would be able to tell something was off. Did I look paler than normal people? What colour were my eyes? I had stopped looking at my reflection a few days after I realised no could actually see me.
The awkward moment, where he decided whether or not to leave without looking back, seemed to drag it's feet. "You really didn't choose the best day to be walking around town, did you?"
"Apparently not." I glanced out of the corner of my eye to see him waiting expectantly. What for, an explanation? He was handsome, with his strong jaw and slightly muscular physique. He wasn't like the chiselled, photoshopped men you would see posing on the front of magazines, that lined the shelves next to the newspapers, but he was attractive. At least I thought so, I couldn't exactly get other opinions. I wasn't sure why his looks mattered, and I tried to convince myself that it was just another observation.
His brain must not have been working properly. No one else could see me, it was the only explanation; the only explanation I was willing to consider. If I walked away from him, then the problem would go away. There is something about self-assurance that means it only lasts a few seconds.
"I'm meeting my husband. He should be here any minute now."
"Oh, well I can wait with you. Just to keep the rain off."