Tabitha tried her key again and again, but the car wouldn’t start. The library had closed, her co-workers gone, but a vaguely familiar looking man tapped her window.
“It won’t start.”
“Pop the hood. I’ll look”
“That’s okay. I can call a truck.”
“It’s probably distributor wires. I used to have one of these old Cavaliers. Happened all the time.”
He went to work and after a bit Tabitha said, “You look familiar,” to fill the silence.
“I come into the library a lot.”
“That’s probably it.” She peered around the hood to study his face. This made him nervous.
“Try it now.” He avoided eye contact.
It started naturally.
“Thanks. Let me give you something,” as she handled her purse.
She looked at him. He examined the ground. He told himself he’d watch her eyes, but it was harder than he thought. And he couldn’t bring himself to say his rehearsed line: “I’d better go, it’s a long walk for me.”
“I suppose that was an easy fix.” Her voice was now slow and searching.
“I better go.” He wanted to say the rest so she’d offer him a ride.
“Did you go to school around here?”
He did. Just like Tabitha. Sat behind her in Spanish. Maybe if he responded, “Si” she’d remember. 90% of the words he’d ever exchanged with her were in Spanish.
“Well, thanks,” she said getting in her car.
“De nada,” he responded after she’d driven off. “De nada.”