Liza slid her sunglasses down in order to hide her eyes. She had been looking forward to the probability of seeing Bruce again, but she didn’t want him to see her looking like this. He was already sitting on the marble bench when she walked up. She collapsed next to him, nearly sitting on his books. “Hey,” she said, her first real smile all week finding its way to her face.
“Hey.” He smiled, raised his hand as if to pat hers, then hesitated before dropping it back to the bench.
“Everything OK?” she asked. He seemed well rested tonight. Both eyes were the same size. No five o’clock shadow. But something was off. He seemed thoughtful.
“I’m fine,” he said, “rough week.”
“Wow, rough night, rough week. Sounds like you have a rough life.”
“You have no idea,” he said with a wry smile. He leaned back and spread his long arms across the top of the bench. Liza decided not to press. “What’s with the sunglasses?” he asked.
What indeed? It was so shadowy in the garden with all the trees that it was a little absurd for her to be wearing them. Liza shrugged, not wanting to lie or be the kind of person who airs dirty laundry to strangers.
It was tempting – they had spent all of two hours together, but Bruce didn’t feel like a stranger. It would be nice to have someone to vent to. On the other hand, she didn’t want to come off like a whiny bitch and she definitely did not want for him to see her as pitiable.
Liza sighed and leaned back. She bumped into his arm then sprang back upright. Bruce shook his head and gave a half-smile, half laugh. He moved his books and patted the bench next to him. She slid over and leaned back. It was cool for June and his warmth felt good. He smelled like soap. She rested her head on his shoulder. Her tension floated away. A minute later, he rested his head on top of hers. They didn’t move until it was time for class.