A young man sprints along the path. His breath is deep but comes out in steadily. The only sound he can hear is the slap of his tennis shoes and the rustle of his clothes as he turns the corner. He glances at the glowing green device on his wrist. The man is almost done with his run. He turns his attention back to the area in front of him. The morning sun is hidden by a thick layer of fog. Each step he takes reveals a little more of the path.
Just the way he likes it.
Quiet, calm, and alone.
He rounds another corner. The man almost runs over a young woman. He ducks to the right and glances over his shoulder. The runner notices that she is walking with a book in her hand. She does not even seem to notice the man. He mentally shrugs and focuses on running.
In seconds, the man has left her far behind.
However, her face floats in front of her.
“Get a grip man.” The man growls to himself, “Focus.”
He pushes himself to run harder. Focusing become faster and better than before. After a few minutes, the man returns to the same place as the woman. She is still continuing the same slow pace. The device strapped to his wrist rings. He comes to a stop near her. The man stops the noise.
The man takes a deep breath and starts a slow jog to cool down.
He moves around the path letting himself calm down. The runner feels refreshed and ready for the day. His jog comes to a fast walk. He sees the young woman walking again. The man moves to walk along the edge to pass her on the right. The man wonders if he should strike up a conversation with her. Whether it would be weird or not.
The man hears the woman gasp.
She spins to the right and tosses the book.
It slams into the side of his head with surprising force. He catches the book as it drops towards the ground.
“I am so sorry!” She says.
He looks at her. The man notices her eyes are incredibly green. They stand out against her light brown skin and long black hair. He hands her the book.
“It’s okay. I understand how books… can draw out emotions. I’m John.”
“Rima.” She says as he takes the book, “Thank you. I think I’ve seen you around campus, haven’t I?”
He nods his head, “We have a couple of classes together.”
“Oh yeah, History 135. Right?”
John and Rima slowly walk together. A bird cries overhead. John scrambles to find a way to continue the conversation.
“You do a lot of reading and walking?”
She blushes, “Sorry. I like to read and walk.”
“What is it?”
He grins, “One of my favorites. I personally think she is one of the best writers out there.”
Rima feels her mouth drop open, “Really? You are into reading? I mean, you don’t look like someone who would be interested in reading books.”
John chuckles, “True. On a sport’s scholarship but I grew up in the library.”
“So did I.”
“My library was in Austin, Texas. Where was yours?”
They begin walking side by side. John notices the path split into two directions. One leads to the right and up the hill. The fog seems thinner there. The second path disappears into the fog.
“Mine was in Chicago.”
“You are a student at the university?”
He nods his head, “Master of History. You?”
“Master of Biology.”
“Oh right, I thought your face was familiar. You were at the community thing last Saturday, weren’t you.”
She nods her head, “Lovely talk wasn’t it.”
“I honestly thought it was long winded.”
The two of them laugh. He finds her laughter like music. They stand awkwardly next to each other. Rima taps the top of the book. John’s mind flips through possible discussion topics. She shifts and looks towards the campus. John blurts out the first thing in his mind.
“Do you like coffee?”
Rima glances at him in surprise. John can feel his face reddening as his question replays in his head.
“Sorry.” He says, “Look. Just taking a chance. To get to know you better.”
The woman raises an eyebrow at his boldness. The two young adults come to a stop. The path splits. John decides to go for it. He takes a deep breath.
“Rima, would you like to go for a cup of coffee?”