Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tiny T: Episode 7

   Once the young women were clear of Ben's duplicitous gaze, escaped from the wide open vulnerability of Fortune Tellers' Row, they slowed down to a comfortable stroll. Each had one arm wrapped around the other's waist, and both were laughing and trying to catch their breath.

   "So I guess you'll never know whether he's the one," Carly teased.

   "I guess not," Olivia admitted playfully and with a false air of drama, "my love life remains a mystery."  Then, after a pause, she said, "I wonder, do you think Zane found him?"

   "I bet he did. He sounds like he's pretty hard to miss." 

   "That is for sure!" Olivia giggled and had no trouble recalling her mysterious date's features. A pang of guilt lingered in her belly, and she hoped his feelings weren't hurt. 

   "So what's next, since you won't have your palm read?" 

   "Well, I could definitely eat something. Are you hungry?"

   "Always!" And just like that, they followed their noses to the nearest greasy spoon local cafe, dragging a cloud of giggles behind them.


   T couldn't tell exactly whether it was his run in the brisk morning air, or the hearty breakfast, or the plain and simple magic of his favorite city, but he was feeling a maximum charge, both bodily and mentally. Having returned all of his emails and firmed up his next move for work, he showered and dressed in fresh clothes then took that same elevator back downstairs to that same ornate hotel lobby.  Piano music was still lilting across the ferns, and his thoughts drifted to the brunette. He had to admit, it felt wonderful that she hadn't skipped their breakfast meeting. That she had reached out to him, better late than not at all, had to be part of the charge he felt.

   He pushed through the tall brass-framed doors to the street outside. Almost midday now, the sun was warming up and the humidity was thickening, but the air was still fresh and comfortable enough to enjoy a walk. He had an hour and a half to burn before a meeting with a journalist downtown, so T strolled easily down the sidewalk toward Louis Armstrong Park, hoping to catch more street musicians. The Quarter did not disappoint. Every other block offered a different sound, a different dream expressed, a different face or collection of faces. 

   Half a block away from the park, T stopped at a walk-up po' boy stand to buy a quick lunch and soft drink. Inside his billfold was the torn off piece of the paper bag where Olivia's cell phone number was written. He looked at it in the glare of sunlight and smiled. Then he slid his i-Phone out from his back pocket and stared at it, considering...


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