Entry for "Flash Fiction"
The young man hunched his shoulders and raised the collar of his jacket against the cold wind. He looked up and down Woods Street wondering which way the bus would come from. Riding city buses was a new experience, a concept James had trouble with.
Flakes of snow circled the tall buildings in downtown Pittsburgh before resting on the frozen street surface. He kicked at the snow drifts, partly to keep his feet warm and partly from boredom. Waiting for bus 2373 was wearing his patience thin.
He was positive Piero said 2373 would take him to Braddock. Was he on the right corner? He hoped the trip to “Toot’s Bar” on this cold night was worth it. Yes, I need to make new friends and a few beers won’t hurt me.
A quarter after seven the bus came lurching down the street, plowing through piles of snow. Warm air engulfed James as the door opened.
“Do you go down Wilkins Avenue in Braddock?” he asked the driver.
“I sure do, young man; hop aboard,” the driver answered.
“Thank you, sir.”
Finding a seat was no problem. Way in the back an old man was sleeping. Two seats behind the driver a young girl sat staring out the window. The young man sat across from the girl. The three passengers rode the bus in silence.
Piero said his brother Bernardo and friends would be at the bar. He had also promised to introduce his girl friend to James. He had to admit he was looking forward to making new friends. He wished he had his own girl to bring. Maybe someday.
“Cold outside, ain’t it?” the girl said.
“Hey you! Are you deaf or just stuck up?” the girl yelled.
Turning toward the girl, James answered, “Me …are you talking to me?”
“Yeah … cold outside ain’t it?”
“Really cold when you stand on a corner for an hour.”
“You’re not from around here are you?”
“Nope, the Midwest.”
“Long ways from home. I’m Allegra … Allegra Moretti.”
“James ... I’m James, how did you know I wasn’t from here?”
‘Your accent gave you away and nobody around here talks slow or with manners most of the time.”
They both laughed and discussed his accent and the difference between slow and fast talking. James noticed a special sparkle in Allegra’s eyes. He thought she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Wavy black hair, parted in the middle, framed her flawless features.
The two of them had never met, but they instinctively knew they could become good friends.
“You have a beautiful name. Is Allegra, French?”
The girl laughed, “Oh no, I am Italian clear through to my bones.”
“Why are you going to Braddock on a cold Saturday night, James?”
“Meeting a friend and hopefully meeting new ones at “Toot’s Bar” and maybe…”
“That’s where I’m going.”
“Oh yeah? It’s a small world isn’t it or is that just an Iowa expression?”
Boy and girl were still laughing when they entered the bar together.
They went their separate ways and were soon lost in the crowd.
He made his way to the bar and asked for an Iron City beer.
“James,” Piero spoke as he appeared from the crowd. “Glad you could make it; this is my girl friend Allegra.”
His friend continued talking. He could hear band music but nothing registered as he gazed into the girl’s eyes, the girl he had fallen in love with only moments ago.
He wondered if bus 2373 would be coming back by soon.