When Liza was a kid, her parents joked that she lived in her own little world. She could entertain herself all day drawing or playing with her stuffed animals. This was no less true of her as an adult. Well, minus the stuffed animals. She figured that this was the reason that she liked unused places, like the garden, or dreamy places, like the Square at night. Different places and things interested her. They caught her attention. People and their words usually didn’t. A lot escaped her notice as a result. Over the years, she’d developed the habit of reviewing the day’s conversations when she was unwinding at night.
That night, she thought over her date with Brad. Did she miss something that should have set off alarms? Did she misinterpret the look he was giving her when he saw her in the Square? She thought about everything carefully and decided that the answer to both was no. Then she thought about her encounter with Michael. She liked him. Not only that, she felt like she knew him. No, she realized, she felt like he knew her. Liza reviewed her memory of the mob of homeless people that she rescued Bruce from over the summer. She was pretty sure that he wasn’t one of them. Then she thought about the way he put his hand on her back when he ushered her to her car. Wait, hadn’t he led the way to her car? She remembered the way he patted the back of her hand. It had been almost grandfatherly. Did they know each other? Before he was homeless maybe? No.
Liza checked the locks on the back door one last time and made her way up to bed. Snippets of their short conversation were replaying in her head.
“That your boyfriend?”
“It’s my niece…That’s not my boyfriend.”
“But you know him?”
“Yeah. Kind of.”
That was it. He said her name. She didn’t tell him her name. He said it twice. “Nice meeting you too, Liza.” He never even looked at the card.