This woman walked by my storefront office every day one summer. When I went in on Saturday mornings, and occasionally on Sunday mornings, she walked by. At first our relationship was de minimus, then casual, then a bit more serious, then obsessive. At the obsessive stage, I started taking her picture with my cell phone, making believe I was talking on it and clicking away, which was unnecessary because she never once looked my way.
Finally, I had to find out about her. Not meet her. I couldn’t actually talk to women in those days. Just find out something about her. I followed her one day, locking the door quickly behind me. She walked to the end of the block and then turned and started coming toward me. This was something new. I didn’t panic, just slipped into a candy store, and then out again when she passed. At the corner she turned left. When I got there and looked down the block she was gone. This happened six days in a row. Finally, on the seventh day, I couldn’t take it anymore. One day I jumped out and stood in her path. She stopped a few feet from me and stared up at me. I’m tall, she was short and petit (why hadn’t I noticed that before?), and strikingly beautiful.
“Don’t talk,” she said, “you’ll ruin it.”
Then she turned and walk away. I followed her. At the corner, she turned left as usual. And, as usual, when I got there and looked down the block she was gone.
That was the last time I saw her, but she was right, if I had talked I would have ruined it.
James LePore is author of several nationally bestselling novels. His latest book, God’s Formula, was released in December. You can stay up-to-date with James and his blog posts and photographs at his website.