Tara was leaning over the river as usual, this time tearing petals off a handful of dandelions and dropping them into the slowly moving river. Suddenly she was shoved sideways, and she heard the clang of metal falling onto concrete as whomever had run into her stumbled away with muttered curses. The rest of the dandelions scattered through the air as she pitched forwards and grabbed the railing to save herself a nasty spill. She watched dejectedly as the sunny weeds twirled down towards the river.
Tara spun around crossly, about to say something along the lines of “Watch where you’re going.” The boy who had run into her was the picture of average, but something pinged her memory. He had just shoved whatever he had dropped into his coat pocket, head lowered so his long-ish hair would mostly hide his face. Tara thought she heard a mumbled “sorry” as he went to move away, but she reached out and gently grabbed his shoulder.
A fleeting glimpse of panic raced across his eyes, but she blinked and he was completely composed again. “Hm?” He tilted his head at her. Something about her pinged his memory as well, but the instincts they had drilled into him told him to get away from there immediately.
“I... uh... you look familiar, do I, um, know you?”
“Nah, I just have that kind of familiar face, you know?” He nodded at her and attempted to move away again.
“Well, I’m Tara. Nice to meet you. For the first time.” She stuck out her hand, fingertips yellowed from the dandelions.
He only hesitated for a split second. “Ian.” He didn’t attempt to grab her hand.
She dropped it. “What did you drop?”
He thought he did a better job at hiding his panic this time. “Just my water bottle.”
She knew he was lying, and hated being nosy, so she moved to go back to the railing. “Well, see you around, I guess. Sorry for keeping you.”
His curiosity overwhelmed his training. “No, I’m glad you stopped me. I wouldn’t mind getting to know someone new.”
She snorted softly. “Nothing to know.”
He moved to lean on the railing beside her. “Sure there is, everyone has a story.”
She stared unseeingly across the river. “Not for me. Mine ended four months ago.”
“Then I guess you’ll just have to start another one.” He wished he could take his own advice.
She glanced over at him. He had his handing in his coat pockets, the wind blowing his hair picturesquely across his face. She had the sudden urge to sketch him, to capture the way he almost glowed. She hadn’t drawn since the… accident. It was like he had sparked her flame again. She spun back to the river, white knuckling the railing. She didn’t move until she heard his footsteps fading away and she couldn’t resist looking back. But he had already slipped into the crowd, blending in so perfectly. She felt like she was betraying Dai, but she knew her friend would want her to move on eventually.
Ian stumbled through the crowd, his thoughts set off by the meeting and the familiarity. And then it struck him. He remembered who she was. He had only the hope her memory wasn’t as good as his, and, somehow, they had made him average enough to blend into her past.