Writing Prompt: That can’t be who I think it is.

Morning all and welcome to June. It seems so strange to say that. But against all odds today is June first. I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. It was for me, exactly the three day weekend I needed. But now it is time to jump back into the work week. Are you ready? Good, then let’s start with a writing prompt.

Not my favorite, but I suppose I’m slow to get started today.

Tuesday, June 1st: That can’t be who I think it is.

“That can’t be who I think it is,” Carl said.  His tone was flat and even, but his eyes were wide.  As one we all turned to see what he was looking at.  There was a great intake of breath at the sight, as though we were all one organism. 

For a moment no one said anything.  We merely watched the man cross the room.  Order a beer from the bartender and then take his drink to a table set against the side wall.  He didn’t even glance in our direction.  I didn’t know if he knew we were there and was deliberately pretending he didn’t see us or if he truly hadn’t noticed us. 

The man himself wasn’t much to cause mass staring.  He was pretty average looking as far as things went; Average height, average weight, average looks.  He was pleasant enough, but not a natural head turner. 

Once he was seated and facing away from us, the whispers started.

“It can’t be.”

“How could he be here?”

“I thought he was gone.”

“Why would he come back?”

That last whispered question hissed through the group.  More than anything I knew it was one we all wanted answered.  The man calmly sitting at the table and drinking his beer was not supposed to be here.  He could be anywhere else, locked up or allowed to roam free.  As long as he was not here, no one gave him more than a passing thought any more.  The events of ten years ago were fading.  They left deep scars, but they were no longer things that we all thought about every day. 

There were whispers among our group about going to ask him directly why he was here, but while it seemed that everyone wanted to know, no one was prepared to be the one to ask. Knowing I wasn’t going to be the one walking up to him, I kept my mouth shut and watched him.  The back of his head was singularly uninformative.  However he seemed to be watching the door. 

I heard more than saw the door open and saw his shoulders stiffen.  I looked towards the door to see who entered.  This man I had never seen before.  He wore a black suit, black tie and black dress shirt.  His shades were dark enough that I couldn’t see his eyes and he didn’t remove them as he stepped inside.  His head was shaved bald and gleamed in the overhead lights.

He scanned the room, dismissing everyone until his eyes fell on the table. He gave a half smile and walked over.  He pulled out a seat and sat down.  As the bars one waitress scurried over, he waved her off.

We were too far away to hear the conversation but it looked intense.  Both men leaned in.  Words were exchanged and then they each nodded and leaned back in the chair.  The bald man tossed a slip of pape onto the table, stood up and turned to walk back out of the door.  The man at the table pocketed the slip of paper, drained the last of his beer, got up and walked to the door himself.  In an instant he was gone as though he had never returned.

The entire group let out a sigh.  It sounded disappointed.  I felt my lips twitch in amusement.  That day ten years ago marked us all in one way or another.  Yet he, the instigator of it all, didn’t even glance in our direction.  It was as though we were dismissed, inconsequential.

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