(NOTE: This week's entry is another short piece that is probably destined to become a fragment of a much longer story...)

"She is very pretty."

I turned with a start, not having noticed the presence of the gentleman standing there behind me until he had spoken. He seemed a very tall man, with black hair and piercing gray eyes who spoke in a low but strong voice.  He was dressed in a dark suit, and from his appearance and demeanor I thought he might be a minister. 

But there was something odd about him, too, a feeling I got that he might have actually been much older than he appeared to be.  I don't know why.

He must have realized he had startled me, because when he spoke again his voice took a somewhat gentler tone while losing none of its strength. And while his expression seemed most serious, I thought I could detect the slightest hint of a smile playing on the corners of his lips.  

"That girl you were just talking to," he said simply, barely moving his head toward the new girl in the neighborhood, who had just walked with me after school and was now heading the rest of the way up the block towards her home. "She is pretty."

I think I may have nodded as I watched the new girl open the front door and disappear into the house. "I guess so," I finally answered. 

"Do you know her name?"

"No," I told him. "Not yet. She just moved into the neighborhood. I never saw her before today."

The stranger simply nodded as if he had already known this. After a moment's silence he said, "You will. She is going to be a very important person in your life."

I looked up at him and asked, "How do you know?"

He did not answer, other than to say, "These things will come to you in time." Then without another word he turned and walked away. 

I turned in the opposite direction and headed back towards home, my curiosity about the mysterious gray-eyed man already fading in comparison to my sudden intense hope that I might soon again bump into that cute little girl whose name I did not know.

And I did, of course. She and the gray-eyed man would both become important cast members in the story of my life. But that is a story for another time...

(Copyright 2014 by John Allen Small)