Contributor: Leanne Gregg

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Audrey hugged her tuba case closer to her body in an effort to shield herself from the biting December wind. She squinted at the street--willing the bus to appear around the corner and pick her up at the stop. She wiggled her toes inside her tennis shoes, checking to see if they were still attached. They were.
Ben came to the bus stop every morning at precisely 7:27 a.m. in order to stand in the same vicinity as her for a glorious 8 minutes and 45 seconds. Once, three weeks ago she said, “It looks like rain.” All he could do was grunt in agreement.
Audrey spun towards the shelter and felt her tuba case make contact with a warm body. She heard a thud followed by a high-pitched yelp and a small explosion of index cards. Not again, she thought. Even though she loved her tuba, there were often times when she wished she played something more convenient.
Ben, momentarily stunned by the impact, blinked. Then he panicked because he realized that he dropped his index cards. He sprang into action like a wild but terrifyingly beautiful falcon, at least that was how he imagined himself—in reality he resembled more of a domesticated parakeet who had happened to have fallen off of his tiny plastic swing.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. Hey, what’re on these things anyway?” she asked examining the card she was holding.
“Nothing!” Ben announced loudly, grabbing the card away from her.
“Nothing? Really?”
Ben paused for a moment and looked at the puff of curly, carrot colored hair, her large navy blue eyes, and her round wind burned cheeks--rosy from the cold. What’s the word? He thought wondered to himself. Cherubic.
Audrey looked at him, taking in his appearance. He was tall and somewhat gangly in his black, wool coat, dark jeans and clownishly large, black high-tops. He looks like a clarinet, she thought. She didn’t know how she felt about clarinets—she didn’t much care for woodwinds.
He cleared his throat, “Well, it looks like the bus is finally here. Do you need any help with your case?”
“I’ve always managed by myself, thanks.”
“Oh,” he said flatly.
They boarded the bus; Audrey went in first, pushing her tuba case through the narrow doors. Ben followed, slipping in just before the doors closed behind them. She plopped her tuba in a seat next to a window and sat down beside it on the aisle.
As Ben was passing by Audrey, she said, “Hey, sit over here,” and motioned to the seat directly across the aisle from her seat.
“Okay.” He sat down in the seat and searched for anything to say to her. The bus lurched forward and caused him to smash his forehead on the seat.
“Well here’s my stop!” she hoisted her tuba case out of the seat and shoved it out the doors, which closed behind her. The bus drove away in a cloud of diesel and anti-freeze. Ben stared through frosty window thinking at least he knew he would see her again tomorrow at precisely 7:27 a.m.
Audrey stood on the sidewalk for a moment, making sure that the bus was completely out of sight before she reached into her coat pocket and pulled out one of Ben’s index cards. The card said, “Hi, my name’s Ben, what is your name?” in bold letters, but underneath in small, faint letters it said, “I think you look like an angel. A tuba-playing angel.” Audrey thought that perhaps she could learn to like clarinets after all.

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Leanne Gregg's most recent work has appeared in Bartleby Snopes and Used Furniture Review. She is currently a copy writer by day and the fiction editor at Literary Orphans by night.
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