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Harris Avenue (Pt. 1 of 2) (standard:romance, 1201 words)
Author: Chris MichlewiczAdded: May 13 2002Views/Reads: 1255/647Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man is in love with a girl he has never talked to. She is a mystery that Darren Aucoin intends to solve.
 



Darren Aucoin walks down Harris Avenue everyday at exactly four o' clock
with a smile on his face and home on his mind.  The ten block walk from 
his office to his apartment is usually a pleasant one, with open-air 
fruit markets on one side of the street and flower salesmen on the 
other.  A sort of nostalgic presence captivates all who walk the 
stretch between Main Street and Eldridge Street.  The air blows softly 
through the buildings, the smell of sugar beets accompanying each 
breeze with the subtlety of a wink from a friendly gentleman. 

Elderly women putt along the sidewalk, going over the recent gossip from
the local bingo club.  Their chattering voices grow slightly louder 
than taper off as they pass the open doors of used books stores and 
antique shops.  Occasionally they stop and admire the window displays 
with the awe and wonder of a baby discovering it's fingers for the 
first time. 

Men nod at one another and tip hats to the women who pass by, whether
there is a hat atop their head or not.  The people shuffle about their 
daily lives with an innocence that seems out of place.  Not an 
ignorance, mind you, but an innocence that can only compare to the 
pre-Vietnam mentality of all Americans.  Complicated thoughts are 
reserved for the people in the big cities.  Around here, it is the 
contemplation of what to make for dinner, or how to fix a blender with 
only one working cycle. 

Darren Aucoin fits in quite well, aside from the significant age
difference of most of the people he passes.  Nonetheless, he is content 
with his quiet life alone in his one bedroom apartment above the drug 
store.  Content except for one aspect of Harris Avenue that occupies 
his mind constantly.  She strolls down the sidewalk, blonde curls 
bounce off of her shoulders and red lipstick carefully applied from one 
corner of her mouth to the other gleams in the late day sun.  Her 
dress, usually knee-length, ripples back and forth over the sculpted 
legs beneath with the brisk, but nonchalant walk.  Her green eyes 
always manage to catch Darren's as they pass by each other, locking for 
a few shiver-causing moments.  He knows nothing about her except her 
name; well, her last name anyway.  A gold nametag is pinned to the 
fabric of her dresses with ‘Miss Grace' engraved in bold black letters. 
 And everyday, she carries a brown paper bag in her left hand, letting 
it sway wildly with the swinging of her arm.  Surely it can't be her 
lunch, for four o'clock is much too late for anyone not to have had 
lunch, Darren thinks. 

He occasionally asks around town, cautiously bringing up the subject of
the young woman in casual conversation, wondering where she might live, 
where she is from and who she works for.  However, no one seems to know 
anything about the woman.  They have never heard of her, which is 
rather odd considering the small scale of the town.  Everyone knows 
everyone or at least knows of them, has heard the name.  He even checks 
the phone directory every time a new one is delivered to his doorstep, 
to see if her name is included in the G section.  Every time, he closes 
the book disappointed, seemingly further from the truth than when he 
started. 

His shyness keeps him from talking to her.  The surprising ‘hello'
escapes his mouth on good days, but that is as far as it goes.  His dad 
brought him up to not speak unless spoken to, which she has yet to do.  
A beautiful smile blesses her lips with its presence when she makes eye 
contact with Darren, but fades as they step further away from each 
other.  The bag she carries appears to be the same one day in and day 
out, slightly tattered but still able to do its job.  Millions of 
possibilities form in Darren's mind of what might be held in such a 
bag.  Is it a book that she doesn't want anyone to see she's reading?  
Dog treats for an awaiting companion at her home?  Is it her make-up, 
including the bright shade of red she sometimes displays on her full 
lips?  If so, why in the same bag everyday? 

These are the types of questions raised in the hard-working mind of
Darren Aucoin.  Pondering such meaningless questions, stewing over them 
for a rational answer may seem to some a pointless task.  Worrying over 
something he has no control over is a dauntless thing to do when there 
is so much more to think about in a given day.  Most people are not 
like Darren though.  His resilience in finding an answer no one has is 
unrelenting, a constant bother until his curiosity is satisfied. 



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