A strange encounter with someone not yet known.
|Written for a Writer's Cramp challenge to create a nonsense poem or story that includes the bolded words below.
When I first saw her, she was standing outside the Soak n’ Smoke, a combination bath shop and cigar store on East Main Street. Seems like a pretty dumb combo to me, but it probably used to cater to stereotypical heterosexual couples who’d come in together and then split off to their favorite aisles.
Anyway, she was standing outside, playing a really beat-up guitar and singing some pretty raucous folk/rock songs. I’d heard some of the songs before, but I think she was making others up on the spot. Some words made no sense, and she hit a few chords that sounded like half the strings were out of tune.
I stood off to the side, near some kids who acted like they dug it all, even though I don’t think they had a clue about her act. Or about anything else in life, for that matter. And there was an old couple who seemed to be enjoying the music. I figured they were either deaf or related to the woman.
Anyway, in the middle of a song, she stopped and picked up a lamp shade that was sitting on the sidewalk. And - I kid you not - she put it on her head. Then she started singing, right where she’d left off. I tell you, it was strange, watching the kids and the old couple. They were all staring like she was going to flip out any second, or disappear, or something else really radical. And they didn’t want to miss it, so they were all staring so hard I thought their eyeballs were going to fall out.
But she just finished the song, took the lamp shade off, and set her guitar against the front of the Soak n’ Smoke. Then she picked up a water bottle and chugged it dry. And that was when I noticed the tattoo on her arm. When she lifted the bottle, her sleeve slid back a bit, and there it was. A heart. With my name under it. My name. My name is ‘Bran’. How many guys named 'Bran’ can there be out there? As for why I’m named ‘Bran’, I was never quite sure whether my parents wanted to be unusual or just misspelled ‘Brad’, or ‘Bret’, or some other name. ‘Brant’? Sorry. I’m digressing.
How could it be that this woman had my name tattooed on her arm? I was pretty sure I’d never seen her before. So I waited until she was finished with her set, which - luckily - was only two more songs, because they were starting to all sound alike. And while she was putting her guitar back into the case, I asked her about the tattoo. And here’s where it gets really weird. She just stared at me for about five seconds, and then she said, “Oh my god. You’re Bran.”
I already knew who I was, so I asked her how she knew me. And - okay, this gets even weirder - she told me that she’s from the future, and that she and I are a couple. Or we will be a couple in the future. Which was okay with me, I think, because she was pretty good looking, and she seemed personable enough. As for our beliefs on religion and politics and all those other sticky areas, who ever thinks about that at the beginning of a relationship?
I asked her how we get together, and how far into the future will that be? But she said she couldn’t tell me those things because it might create some kind of catastrophe. I think she was just assuming that, but who was I to say? So I asked her how she got here, but she wouldn’t tell me that either. Not that I thought she would. Then she said she had to use the rest room in the Soak n’ Smoke, and she asked me to keep an eye on her gear.
And that’s the last I saw of her. After at least twenty minutes, I went inside and asked a saleswoman to check the rest room. And I wasn’t surprised when the woman came back and told me there was no one in the rest room. So I left the store, and again I wasn’t surprised to see that her guitar was gone. But she’d left the lamp shade behind, so I took it with me as a memento. And who knows, someday I guess I’m destined to see her again. And if not, I’ll always wonder just who that other ‘Bran’ is.