Per the advice of the
old man, I went back to
the river and found the

brown-haired girl sitting there
staring at a flat rock.
“Are you going to skip

that?” I asked. She shrugged and
tossed it the water
“Whatever,” she replied.

“What are you doing back
here? Don’t you have a train
to catch? You don’t want to

miss it.” I shook my head.
“That train left days ago.
I think I’m stuck here now.

You want to get coffee
with me at Moonrubles?”
(It’s the town’s coffee shop.)

“Sure,” she said, standing up
and brushing off her pants.
“Thank God I didn’t wear

my assless chaps today.”
I tried to think of a
way to make a Muddy

Waters joke, but couldn’t
think of one fast enough.
“How old are you?” she asked.

“Thirty-six,” I told her.
“You look younger,” she said.
I shrugged. “What about you?”

“I’m twenty-two,” said the
young woman, as she lead
the way back towards town.

I sighed and shook my head.
Chalk up another check
mark in the anti-me

column. “What is the point?”
I thought to myself. “I’m
just wasting my time here.”

Then she turned and smiled.
“Do you like rock music?”
I nodded. She grinned. “What

about Alice in Chains?”
I smiled and sang her
Man in a Box. She clapped.

She laughed. Her bright eyes danced.
It was a nice moment.
I couldn’t help but say,

“Before we go any
further with this madness,
may I tell you about

a dream I had?” “OK,”
she said. “Hit me with your
best shot.” “Was that a Pat

Benetar reference?”
I asked. She nodded. “You’re
great,” I said. “So here goes…”


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