Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of DANGEROUS DECISIONS and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART. The topic for this month is people watching. DANGEROUS DECISIONS is available now. I hope you enjoy it. RC Bonitz
The park bustled with activity, children loud and boisterous, old folks walking slowly on the paved paths, soccer games in the fields. Mark loved to spend his lunch times in the midst of all that pleasant, happy energy. The sky was almost clear of clouds, blue as blue could be, and he turned his face to the sun, relishing the warmth that soaked into his skin.
An elderly man with a walker shuffled toward him and he greeted the fellow with his usual friendly “hello.” The man ignored him and continued on his way. The rebuff bothered Mark not on bit. Some people were simply made that way, grouchy, shy, or uncomfortable speaking to a stranger. Untroubled by such encounters, Mark never ceased to greet strangers, always hoping for a more positive response.
A woman sat on a bench, listlessly tossing bites of bread to very active pigeons scrabbling for the treats. She looked to be his age or thereabouts, no more than thirty-five or forty, but there seemed to be no energy in her movements.
“Hi. Those pigeons look hungry,” Mark said.
She looked up at him, a defeated expression on her face. “They like to eat.”
He nodded and smiled. “Do you come here a lot? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before.”
She shook her head. “Who are you?”
“Mark Thomson. And you?”
“It doesn’t matter,” she muttered.
He frowned. He liked to chat up people that he met, but this woman didn’t look promising. He tried another track. “Do you come here to people watch?”
She quirked an eyebrow at him. “Do you?”
He grinned. “I’m a people greeter. A simple “hi” can brighten up a person’s day.”
She gave him a half smile. “You like doing that then.”
“You’d be surprised at how many friends I’ve made that way.”
She let the smile blossom and crossed her hands in her lap, nervously twisting and untwisting the fingers. “That’s nice.”
“How about you? Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
Color rose in her cheeks. “You’re hitting on me?”
“Not at all. You just seem like you could use a friend right now.”
She stared at him, her expression softening as she did. “Just coffee?”
“Meg, that’s my name. And thank you.”
He offered her his arm as she rose from the bench. “My pleasure.”
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Catherine A. MacKenzie