Keith was standing just to the edge of the crowd in the boutique. Samantha was browsing and he had left her to it. His mind wandered. He felt her reassuring touch and squeezed her hand, not looking or really paying attention. Then he saw her.
Samantha was making her way across the store intently grasping a pair of faded blue jeans and asking an assistant for directions to the changing rooms. So he was standing there holding the hand of a stranger.
The passing stranger in the street presents so little time to make a verdict. Dress sense, personal hygiene, a smile and deportment are all you get. And yet. And yet. How often, within those mini-encounters, do those of us happily linked to permanent partners take a moment to sketch out an alternative life?
Keith hasn’t let go quickly enough. He feels his hand becoming sweaty but the person it is linked to is still a mystery to him. How on earth can he make eye contact? Should he indeed. Well should he? And if he doesn't, how can he escape?