The Girl in the Park – A Short Story

December sun kept her warm as she sat in the park reading a book about the history of ancient Egypt. The park was located on the opposite side of the building she worked at. That’s how she spent her lunch break on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On the other days, she spent it with her friend, but on those two days, her lunch break started an hour later. She didn’t mind it though, because a book accompanied her.

Her number one interest in life was gathering information. Each month she dedicated her free time to a different topic. She’d read books about it, look it up on the Internet, watch videos about that specific thing on YouTube, and found documentaries about it. And while she did all of these, she took notes and wrote them in her phone’s note app. After absorbing as much information as she could, she’d write it and post it on her blog. Surprisingly, her posts got attention because she had a unique way of writing about her learning experience. And because she had enough readers, she would take suggestions from them about what to learn next and what they wanted her to write about for other blog posts. 

She didn’t call herself a writer, she considered herself a knowledge seeker and wanted to share that. And indeed she wasn’t a complete writer, because what she wrote were mainly the facts that she’d learned. And reading so many books helped her to pick a thing or two about writing.

With all of these, she kept her life private. She did share basic things about herself here and there in some of her posts, but that was it.

*      *      *

While her head was buried deep in the book, she heard fallen leaves being broken by the footsteps of someone who was walking closer to her. Although she thought to herself, but that’s my tiny secret place, she didn’t make any move. Within seconds, the person stopped walking and was close to her, but not too close.

“Hey,” came some guy’s voice.

She looked up without thinking of anyone in particular. But she recognized the figure who was standing before her. Oh snap, was her first thought. She realized that she was being odd and quickly managed to reply, “Oh, hi.”

“It’s lovely here. Can I join you?” he asked her.

What in Hell! She nodded and anxiously said, “Yes, of course.”

She was sitting on a piece of waterproof fabric, because the ground was a bit cool and a little wet. He looked around himself to find a good spot to sit on but there was none. She quickly realized this and grabbed her backpack. Opened the zipper and there she brought out a square shaped plastic bag. She offered it to him and he leaned forward to take it from her.

While he positioned himself, there was an awkward silence. She didn’t know why the guy whom she had a crush on approached her like that out of the blue. Luckily the silence didn’t last long when he asked, “How did you find this quiet place?”

She wanted to answer him with ‘How did you find me,’ but instead answered him, “Readers are good for finding places like this.”

“Sorry for coming like that and disrupting your tranquility.” he rubbed the back of his head and added, “Actually, it’s been a while since I wanted to join you and have a chit chat with you.” He felt a bit embarrassed by using the phrase ‘chit chat’.

She wasn’t sure what to answer someone whom she’d never talked to before, so her answer was even more awkward than his usage of ‘chit chat,’ as she said, “That’s interesting,” with a weak smile. She really didn’t know how to act. She wasn’t very good at talking with people whom she didn’t know.

“Excuse me, but I just remembered we never talked before, I’m Nico.” said the tall guy sitting on the ground.

“Nice to meet you, Nico. I’m Daisy.” she replied. And thought to herself, so that’s his name. 

To make things more awkward for himself, Nico said, “Yes, I know.” He was so embarrassed that his cheeks went red. He smiled awkwardly and went on, “Nice to meet you, too. And there is a reason why I know your name.”

She adjusted her posture and her back was straight now, curious to know what he had to say. The way she sat in silence and looked at him was her way to tell him, go on, tell me. And he caught up fast enough.

He shyly started, “I’m sure you noticed that I have been looking in your direction a lot recently. And because we work at different offices, I never got the chance to talk to you or to know your name. But a couple of weeks ago, I saw you talking to someone from our side of the glass.”

She tucked her hair behind her ear with her right hand while she listened to him patiently and to see where he was getting at. Without realizing it, she was gripping her book harder in her left hand.

He explained how he got her name, and instead of talking to her, he wanted to check her out on social media. “And I typed your name on Instagram. Frankly, it wasn’t difficult to find you, but it was difficult to see your posts. There was a giant lock on your account.” He tried to make a shape of a lock with his hands and laughed at his failed attempt. Daisy also let out a short laugh.

After they both laughed shortly, he said, “My eyes moved to your bio and I saw the cute daisy emoji in your bio with a link. I got excited when I saw that the link had your name.”

He told her about his little journey in her blog and that he was fascinated by her dedication and her writing. “I enjoyed reading your insights and learned a few interesting facts.”

“Thank you, Nico. I’m happy that you came and told me all this.” she smiled at him, the type of smile that could warm you on the coldest day of the year. The way she said his name was very natural, as if they’d known each other for a while. Nico was a bit surprised in a good way at how the whole conversation went, not to mention that he was also quite happy.

“But of course, I think I also learned something about you that many people hadn’t notice.” he said, his tone confident.

“What is that?” she asked.

Nico held up a finger to say hold. He opened the paper bag he had with him and revealed two cups of iced coffee. He held one to her and said, “I think this is your favorite drink.”

Daisy was shocked that he picked that up from reading her blog posts. Her eyes were wide open. She reached for the drink and told him, “Yes, it is! How did you know?”

“I probably read the blog posts on a deeper level because I wanted to know more about you.” he said with a genuine smile.

She smiled back at him and she felt a little butterfly feeling in her stomach.

They started drinking their coffees and enjoyed another five minutes of talking before getting back to work, and planned to spend more time like this one.

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