"Are you a writer?" she ask right before I about to leave on an idling motorcycle. "Of sorts. Why do you ask?" I retort. "You have a pen in your back pocket," she says as her long fingers flick the roach of a cigarette onto the ground amongst the broken glass and pigeon shit. Her skin was pale and, considering the 30 degree weather, was only a shade richer than transparent.
Her white beanie hangs like a cornice over brown eyes and coffee two cream hair. "Kate," she says as my hands grasp hers, in a British accent, although she denies any English heritage. I ask to call her Katherine, as the name seems more fitting for a woman on her caliber. Despite a magazine calling to tell me they need captions for an upcoming article by noon, I kill the motorcycle's ignition and pull up a chair.
A gust of wind cuts through her cashmere sweater and I offer her my scarf. "No thanks," Katherine replies but I insist and she accepts. Hardly a gentleman, I selfishly wanted her to linger longer and speak to me in her proper English. I take my leather jacket and place it about her lap. She smiles gracefully.
We speak of synchronicity, polar bears that cannot swim and employment that is a means to an end. Katherine explains she is meeting a photographer later for a shoot. "Never trust white people," I say affirm. "They will always screw you over." "Good thing he is black," Kate retorts.
Out of her black jacket she pulls some Danish shag tobacco and licorice flavored rolling papers. I offer to roll her a cigarette and she accepts. The tobacco is dry and crumbles between cold fingers. Years have past since I have last rolled a cigarette and it shows in the profile; tapered on both ends and fat in the middle.
I tell her how I miss the way sulphur taste when you light a cigarette off a match. She smiles again. Despite having quit smoking three years ago, for the first time I honestly considered sharing that smoke and the small tether of spit that hung off her lower lip. I wanted to exchange something besides electrons with her.
My flight for Cleveland leaves in ten hours and there is much to do. "I have to see you before I leave," I say and she gives me her phone number but retorts, "I rarely answer it."
I ride off wondering if she'll answer when I call or whether she'll be out smoking in the cold.