Eye contact

In response to a prompt ‘write about two people seeing each other for the first time’.

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The first time she saw him was on a ferry crossing between two islands of a foreign country. Her eyes were drawn to him. He looked like every stereotypical backpacker: baggy shorts and tshirt, rucksack jammed full of worldly necessities (including hiking boots tied to the external straps which were straining against their bulging innards), and a slightly dirty tan. Her eyes travelled over his form and soaked up every detail, filing it away for future reference on backpackers. They appeared to be travelling in the same direction, but he was outgoing and social, laughing and joking with his companions, while she maintained stilted conversation with a girl she had just met. He seemed so impossibly interesting!

The first time he saw her was a week later. This time it was in a tiny town built around a one block radius of a single main street. Despite its size and isolated position, the town drew thousands of visitors to the famous glacier nearby.

He had spent some time in the hot tub with friends in an optimistic attempt to drive off the chill of the overcast afternoon. He was steaming and becoming increasingly dehydrated in the heat of the water. Refreshments were required. Does anyone else want one? He left the gated area, towel around waist, damp hair and shirtless. He saw her peeking around the side of the building, clearly lost. He glanced at her and saw the polite uncertainty on her face as she turned to him and said in a ringing British accent “hey, do you know where the hot tub is?” Not the most intelligent question given the clues in his attire, but not quite ‘I carried a watermelon’.

He directed her and noted that although she was fully clothed, she was clutching a towel in her fist. Perhaps a chance at a full conversation was imminent? But first, he required a large glass of something cold and perhaps alcoholic.

The next time they met was a further week later, in a vibrant town on a beach which was neither sand nor pebbles but an uncomfortably coarse blend of both. They talked and laughed and singlehandedly raised the noise level in every establishment they entered with their enthusiasm alone. Were there sparks? Maybe. Fireworks, even? Possibly. Was a strong rapport established? Definitely. Did they want to talk all night about everything and nothing at the same time. Without a doubt.

But it was all over too soon. Time was against them. They were bound for continents on the opposite sides of the globe in a few short days.

Not this time, but soon.

With the wonders of modern technology, they kept their conversations as alive as they could through their adventures, until they both returned to their separate homes: him to the bustle and smoke of New York City, her to fields and routine of the south west of England. They may have moved a great distance apart physically, but emotionally they were in the same room, pressed into each other’s warm embraces. They wanted to kiss, they wanted to explore each other. They needed to figure out how to be a team.

When their eyes finally locked as partners it felt like a momentous occasion. The first true time seeing each other. The humdrum of her nerves and anxieties about their reunion faded into the pleasant calm of a still mirrored pond surface, the only ripple of thought being a relieved voice whispering ‘yes, there you are, of course you are’. He could not fold her into his arms fast enough. God he had longed for this, dreamed of it, yearned for it. She was jet-lagged and exhausted but smiling and delighted and perfectly his.

Their first eye contact led to their first hug, which led to their first kiss…and second and third and fourth.

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