The Purple Cravat

The purple cravat was bright and smooth. Its colour shone impossibly against the rest of him. His skin was pale, his unkempt hair blond, the knitted jumper off-white and the camel wool coat dark grey. Nothing about him was colourful or stylish. Except for that purple cravat.

The sun was bright, making the lake sparkle in the freezing cold. Like so many others she stopped on the bridge to soak up the sun. She spotted him on the path by the lake, smoking. He looked nervous and agitated, peering up and down the path, waiting for something, someone. Suddenly he threw the cigarette into the mud and started walking.

The other man wore street gear: oversized sneakers, beanie, down jacket, not a cravat in sight. The encounter barely happened, but she saw something change hands. Without greeting or acknowledgment the men continued walking in opposite directions.

He turned to cross the bridge, walking towards the crowd on the wide pavement. He walked calmly now, smiling, enjoying the stroll. When he walked past her, he smiled and looked up, straight into her eyes. Had he worn a hat, she was certain he would have tipped it for her. Her heart took an extra beat and blood rushed to her cheeks. Had he noticed her stare? In spite of herself, her eyes kept following his back as he walked down the path on the other side of the bridge. He crossed the road and disappeared into the city.

The next day she spotted it among other litter on the sandy bottom of the lake. She used a long stick to fish it out. Its owner was nowhere to be seen. She felt strangely sad when she left it on a bench to dry in the sun. Purple. Shining.

© Lone Veirup Johansen 2015

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