The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The City of Strangers

He had this voice so deep it rumbled along the back beams of the bench we were sharing. I arrived very early for an appointment and thought I should sit outside for a while, waiting to get closer to a fitting arrival time. My hyper-punctuality made me a keen observer of outdoor benches and resting places. I sat alone and scrawled in my notebook as usual, making myself at home. The giant man arrived a few minutes later.

Chatting on his cell phone, fussing with his chest hair, he gazed at me before taking the far side of the seat. He spoke a language I didn’t understand–but since this was one of my first days in Austria, it may have been the German I had been studying for years. I didn’t yet feel brave enough to attempt to eavesdrop for practice.

He shifted his pointed shoes while the bench shuddered under his booming chit-chat. Though I’d always been warned not to talk to strangers, I knew only one person in the city. So I was parked in the center of ceaseless strangers. And I felt delighted to have such a guest joining me, sitting nearby, waiting to be painted, welcoming me to my new home where I would find so many new people to steal.

–Vienna, Austria.

prost, hays, kansas

The German word for “Cheers,” surrounded by many things American. Kansas.

12 comments on “The City of Strangers

  1. Maccabros
    April 16, 2014

    OK – it has to be : PROST, but it works for sure… 🙂

    Have a nice Easter -Time with your family

    Liebe Grüße,


    • Warte mal. Geht nicht so? Is the umlaut over the O a problem? Ich habe nie geschrieben. 🙂

      Happy Easter to you as well, my friend.


      • Maccabros
        April 17, 2014

        Its not a problem – but we speak it with an real O… 🙂

        Thanks for your german words


  2. heavenhappens
    April 16, 2014

    I’m looking forward to hearing about those characters you ‘steal’. You are so good at it I feel I was sitting on the bench too!

    • Thank you! I actually wrote much of this story over 5 years ago. I still find myself looking for places where I am surrounded by strangers. 🙂

  3. M-R
    April 17, 2014

    Surely not ‘steal’, Paige – maybe … umm … use ? 🙂

    • 🙂 Agreed, it’s never good to admit to stealing, though use doesn’t sound too much better. How around record for posterity?

      • M-R
        April 17, 2014

        How about ‘draw’ ?

      • M-R
        April 17, 2014

        Or ‘paint’ ? Or ‘depict’ ?

      • Draw and paint would be great if I weren’t known for my stick-figures. 🙂

      • M-R
        April 17, 2014

        YES ! – record. That’s it, Paige !

      • Excellent! I will continue the recordings.

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2014 by in Blogging, Europe, Happiness, Inspiration, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , .

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