He glanced over at the seat in front of him and couldn’t help but notice that the woman seated there was using a crisp dollar bill as a marker of such low quality.
Outside, the trees and sidewalks were replaced with dim reflections of weary lampposts that stood simple, yet tasteful, just as they should. This understood atmosphere juxtaposed to the same situation inside where the man decided it was casual enough to slide into the seat in front of him.
“Hello. I couldn’t help but notice your unusual bookmark. Would you mind explaining it?”
A confused look owned her face, “What do you mean? It just marks my place.”
“Ah, but it isn’t there for no particular reason. There’s a story behind it no matter how small.”
She smiled at this man and stayed silent to allow the question to burn into simplicity, “I’ll tell you over dinner--”
“How about coffee?”
“The best coffee stand in town is two stops back.”
“We’ll get off at the next stop and walk it.”
She slid her book into her bag and headed towards the front entrance. The bus let them off, and they started walking like strangers down the sidewalk.
“Do me a favor?”
“Anything,” he says.
“Pretend we’re lovers.”
“Darling, you’re amazing. Kiss me like you never have before.”
They held hands all the way to the coffee stand. She ordered him a vanilla cappuccino, he ordered her a double-shot mocha, and they sat down on the stairs of the nearest apartment building.
Upon switching drinks, he asks, “Now, about that dollar.”
“It’s quite simple, really. You never know when you’ll need a cigarette and a phone call.”