He watches with eyes unblinking and still the movement escapes his notice. Was he being hypnotized? Could the few other patrons of the diner not see her? No one else seemed caught in her gaze. A moment ago the girl was sitting at the counter and now she was in the booth next to his. Yet he had seen no movement. Not a hair on her head had changed position. No muscle had flexed to carry her sleek form from the counter stool to the booth bench. And her eyes still gazed into his with the same expression she had fixed on him from the start. The smile was the same, plastic and cold and red. The eyes. He could not draw his attention from them no matter how he tried. Memories surfaced from forgetfulness. Crossing the lake at camp in the middle of the night. No one around. Just the moon on the water, pale and luminescent. The splash of a fish followed by the screech of an owl as it dove low over the water. The owl flying low near the canoe. Its eyes wide, fixed, unblinking. And she moved again. Her chin resting in the palm of her right hand. Red curls swept forward as her body leans across the table. And still she has not moved. Yet she must have. He can't have imagined that she had been sitting reclined against the back of the booth when she is now so obviously leaning forward towards him her eyes intent on his. Eyes full of desire. Searching, seeking, sensing. Another memory of a walk along the beach with a girl he dated in high school. After the party they had wanted to be alone and he had taken her to the beach. Walking hand in hand, the sound of quick, soft, padded footsteps had caused them to turn around. His date had said nothing. He had watched as a large wolf-like dog with black fur had slowed its passage to pause right in from of him, so close he could feel its warm breath through the faded blue jeans he wore. Paused and stared into his face, tensed as if ready to jump at the slightest movement. His breath slowed willing the beast to continue on its way and leave him with his girl, safe and intact on the beach. But the animal eyes did not leave and it was a tug on his hand from the girl that made him aware again and pulled him away on that walk along the beach. With no movement she is sitting across from him in his booth. No standing, no walking, no sliding across the vinyl seat. She is simply there gazing into his eyes with her own dark languid gaze entrancing his mind to recall memories forgotten for years. She does not blink, she does not move, she simply holds his attention with the strength of her stare. And he remembers sitting in the window of his dorm room looking out at the moon when he should have been writing his term paper. The moon was half covered by clouds and still shone brightly on the street below so that he could see the sleek gray cat crossing the street and jumping to the fence. He watched silently as the cat moved languorously along the fence to the stonework that was the first floor ledge. An unbelievable leap and the cat was walking along the ledge stopping only when it reached the area directly below his window. Licked its right paw and looked towards the moon and then up at him. Here it yowled as if in pain. He wanted to bring it a bowl of milk but would not leave for fear it would wander off. So he sat there and watched the cat until he remembered waking the next morning in the window alone. How could she be sitting next to him holding his hand in her icy grip? Was he dreaming all of this? He stared into her eyes looking for answers. Her eyes brimming with tears. Tears? When did they form? Surely they were not there when she was at the counter, or the booth next to his, or in the seat across from him. His hand began to burn where she touched him and yet he did not desire to remove his hand from hers. Just as he did not desire to remove his gaze from her. He was content to be near her, to be hers, to be her. The waitress crossed the small diner and placed the check beside the empty pie plate. She looked at the waifish red-headed girl that sat there and did not remember the young man that had ordered the pie and coffee.
...to be continued....© Antithesis