It was raining as he came out of the supermarket, a broken downpipe spouted water onto the pavement and washed the cigarette butts into the gutter. The bag wasn't heavy but as he shifted it to his other hand one of the handles broke and its contents lurched awkwardly forcing him to bundle the whole lot into his arms as he set off for the bus stop. As he sat waiting his eyes travelled aimlessly into the window of the cafe behind. He saw a pair of knees under the table by the door and they seemed familiar, not that he was familiar with many pairs of knees, but the sturdy curve of the calf muscle was unmistakeable. She had been on the hockey team, so they were regularly on display at Thursday afternoon practices. He would never have dared to speak to her, she was just one of those unapproachable girls, but he would often watch from the staffroom window while he marked essays. Then he had been the only one around the afternoon of her accident. Mrs Williams had practically carried her up from the field with blood pouring from a nasty gash, a piece of broken glass in the mud by the goal she said. She had sat in the office looking ghostly and Mrs Williams had just grabbed him and told him to 'keep the pressure on' while she called an ambulance. He had crouched, for what seemed like an eternity, the sodden wad of paper towels warm in his hand as he pressed it against her thigh. As he watched now the couple shifted in their embrace. He didn't know the boy. She had cut her hair. And then she opened her eyes and caught sight of him. He looked away, pretending not to have really noticed. Mercifully the bus approached but as he got up the door opened and they emerged. She smiled at him, seemed genuinely pleased.
"I thought it was you. I never got the chance to say thanks before you left. Look, it healed really well, hardly a scar." She lifted her skirt slightly to expose a faint white line on the tanned skin.
He didn't look down, but smiled and nodded vaguely.
"My bus," he gestured as it pulled up. "Nice to see you Cassie."
"Bye then. Thanks again Mr Wilcox."
He did not look back as the bus pulled away.
(Linking back to Magpie Tales 155 where you can read other contributions)