Cat’s eyes were fixed on the floor, her mind focused on walking normally. Whenever she concentrated that hard on it, she always felt like a lumbering ape. Her footsteps sounded heavy, her shoulders seemed to lurch from side to side. Something hard knocked into her and she almost stumbled, catching herself against the wall.

“Oh, sorry about that.”

His eyes are like those pictures of distant galaxies taken through infrared telescopes, she thought. Bottle green with flashes of sky blue. Then, what the hell am I thinking? I should say something.

“It’s alright.” Cat said, chewing on her words. They sounded muffled and insincere. She began to worry that he might think it wasn’t ok, that she was hurt. “I didn’t hurt myself. My hand stopped me.”

She patted her palm against the wall as a hundred voices shouted “Idiot!” inside her head.

Her mind was distracted by something he was doing with his right hand. It was fumbling inside his pocket. He took out a pen, fiddled with it and began to take the cap off. With quick, awkward movements he rammed the cap back on and shoved the pen back into his pocket. He was nervous, and she had no idea why.

“Where are you heading?” He asked.

She gestured down the hallway, breaking eye contact and staring back down at the ragged carpet. Her back felt tense.

“Me too.”

He was lying. Cat knew he wasn’t heading the same way as her. They’d been walking in opposite directions when they collided. She thought about reminding him, but decided against it. She looked up again and saw his smile. Never in her life had she seen someone look more afraid. His hands were shaking.

“Ok then.”

She blushed.


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