A man is walking down the sidewalk. It is wide. It is just after sunset.
A woman is walking down the sidewalk. Not toward the man, at least not in an intentional sense; she is walking forward, toward the distant curb, in the opposite direction of the man, who after all is minding his own business, just walking, is all.
It has been determined, by then nearly certainly, that they will pass by their respective right shoulders. To make another choice would require such an effort, on someone’s part, so that Fate might be invoked; Fate, with all her anthropomorphic exculpatory bullshit.
The woman, despite all proper avoidance of eye contact, feels just a single hair brush her cheek, and in sweeping it back ineffectively to her ponytail, she has forgotten the pen, cheap and meaningless and most recently useful in signing off one need or another, she can’t really remember. She walks on.
The man bends, recovers, and proffers. “You’ve dropped your pen,” he says.
She appreciates his contraction, turning back half way, but the curb beckons. “That’s all right,” she allows, and continues on her way.
At home, he does not let go of the pen. He pulls a single sheet from the printer: pristine, regimented, eight-and-one-half by eleven. He opens the drawer, and takes the scissors in hand.