Her hair looked like a brush hadn’t been through it in a while. But the auburn brown tresses fell perfectly against her soap washed face. She looked like springtime, the dirty snow washed away with warmer temperatures, bringing with it snatches of grass and little yellow flowers. Yes it was spring sunshine that she reminded me of - the soft rays of the sun, gently falling on the ground, turning the browns to greens.
If it was a movie, I would imagine her dancing in the fields, her skirt flowing with the breeze, a song on her lips with the sun shining not too brightly over her. She had a beautiful, wide mouth with full lips, that made her look like she was smiling even when she wasn’t. I’m not sure if it was just the way my mind worked or if she was really as beautiful as I had made her up to be.
Sara sat in a corner of a large room full of people. Rarely did I see anyone around her in the two weeks that I had been working at the same office. Strangely, hers was the only name that I remembered when my manager had walked me through the room, introducing me to my new colleagues. So far there had been no reason for the two of us to have communicated. In fact I didn’t even know what she did but I hoped that I’d have an opportunity to collaborate with her sometime.
One Wednesday I noticed a man, who I had never seen at the office, walk over to her cubicle. It obviously wasn’t her lunch date since it was 3 o clock in the afternoon. From the corner of my eye, I could see that they were not just having some casual conversation. A few minutes later, she took her purse and they both walked out of the room.
Sara didn’t show up at work the rest of the week. I kept wondering who that man could have been. What was it that had obviously got her flustered and made her leave before the end of the work day? I wished I could ask someone but Sara and I had never exchanged a word, which meant that I really didn’t know her at all. I didn’t want to seem creepy and anyway it was none of my business.
Monday morning came by and her cubicle was still empty. Then at about 11 o clock, I walked by the reception area and saw the same man sitting there. He looked different for some reason. Smaller than what I remembered. I'm not sure what came over me but I went up to him.
“Is Sara doing okay?” I asked. “Haven’t seen her around.”
He seemed nervous as he looked up at me.
“I saw her leave with you last week, so just thought I’d ask.”
He stood up from the chair, almost as if he wanted to feel like we were on equal ground.
“Yeah she’s doing fine,” he said, his words coming with short pauses. “She’ll be back in a couple of days.”
I had nothing else to say or ask. I knew nothing. I didn’t even know the person in subject. So I nodded and began walking away.
He tried to get my attention, to find out who I was. But I pretended not to hear.
Just like he had said, Sara was back at work two days later. Her hair was tied up and she had glasses on. The reflection on her lenses prevented me from seeing the hazel in her eyes. We had both reached work earlier than usual and there was almost nobody around. I figured that it had to be now, so I walked over to her cubicle and said hi.
She looked at me with a slight glimmer of recognition. I pointed towards my cubicle and said I was the new guy.
“We were introduced a couple of weeks ago” I said.
“Yes I remember” she replied, but she quite obviously didn’t.
“Hadn’t seen you around the past few days, so thought I’d ....”
Thought I’d what?
“Anyway, you have yourself a nice day,” I said after an awkward pause, as I started to walk away.
“Wait!” she said as she stood up. “It was you, wasn’t it? That asked my brother about me?”
“He said that there was a man that was inquiring about me. He described you but I’m sorry ... I just made the connection.”
I told her that I was concerned. And I didn't know who to ask.
“Yes, there was a crisis in the family,” she started to tell me hesitantly, but I stopped her there. I could see how awkward it was for her to open up to me, a stranger.
“I need to get back to work,” I said. “Would you have lunch with me today?”
It was a gorgeous afternoon and as we were walking towards the corner sandwich place, I noticed that the rays of the sun had turned her auburn brown hair into a shade of gold.