My name is Cyrus, and this story is not about me. I met Susan by pure chance one day when I was walking to the bus stop. My oh-so-lovable friends had ditched me at the book store as a practical joke. To be honest, I’m glad they did. If I had been driving back with them I would have missed seeing Susan climb out of the dumpster where she’d been sleeping. When I saw her, I stopped. I’d like to say this was love at first sight, but I have to be honest here; I thought she was terrifying. “Please, Here’s my money, don’t kill me,” I said, laying my wallet on the ground. This girl, three years younger than me, yawned, gave me a look, stole my cash, left my wallet, and started walking casually in the same direction I was going. I stood there like an idiot for a while before she called back to me. “Thanks for the cash,” She said, practically laughing. I picked up my wallet and ran after her. When I caught up to her she looked at me and laughed. Then she handed me back my money. I saw she was probably just some homeless girl, so I told her to keep it. She didn’t ask twice, she was the most straight forward person I’ve ever met. She kept walking beside me as we passed the coffee shop. Okay, here’s where the lovey-dovey stuff starts. “Hey, want to treat me to coffee?” I smiled at her. She stared daggers at me, like I was the most hideous ignoble annoyance in the world. This is the point where the noble, proud way she moved became clear to me. She smelled like dead possums and looked like she could use several showers, a hair brush and some make-up. The way she bore herself like everything she did was on purpose made dead possum seem like Chanel and her au natural look seem the most perfect example of beauty. “What’s your name?” Her tone was anything but questioning. Somehow I couldn’t help but answer her. She was enchanting even as she was rude and contemptuous. “Cyrus, and yours?” She stared at me as if my response was unnatural or wrong. As if I had told her that the answer to the radius of a circle defined by x^2 + y^2 = 49 were twelve. The answer is seven, if you care. “I’m Susan. Why do you want to have coffee?” Her questions were formed as accusations more than inquiries. For some unfathomable reason I found it endearing. “Well, I think you’re cute,” I said honestly. Susan looked shocked, as if no one had given her a compliment in her life. “Fine, we’ll get a coffee,” She said, steering me toward the Starbuck’s I missed so much. I took the time of weaving through traffic to look at her while her back was to me. She had beautiful blood-red hair that fell in wild curls about her head, covered at the top by a Gatsby. I have a thing for that kind of hat; I can’t express how adorable it looks on girls, but I digress. Her hands were small and her clothes had holes in them and looked old and moth-eaten. When we finally reached the coffee shop she turned her emerald eyes back to me, finally starting to show some interest in me. She handed me a wad of cash. “Guys are supposed to treat girls. I take my coffee black,” Susan spoke in short, curt, commanding words. I always feel like a douche when I go to Starbuck’s, because I order a hot chocolate or Vanilla Bean. I hate coffee. I ordered a hot chocolate this time, and a black coffee for Susan. She was already seated in one of the comfortable couches. I was nervous, so I waited until the drinks were ready before I went over and sat with her. Man, she stunk. But I honestly didn’t care. “Thanks,” Susan said, taking her black coffee from me. I sipped my hot chocolate and watched her. I mused at how similar watching Susan was to watching a storm, I never could predict what she would do next. “What’re you staring at?” She asked in her adorable accusative manner. “You,” I replied, pleased to see my comment made her blush. She tried to ignore me while she downed her hot coffee. “I’m sorry, this is my first date, it’s weird for me,” Susan confided after a while. I marveled at her. Even if she was homeless and rather smelly, she was still beautiful. “Well, all the men in the world don’t know what they’re missing.” She blushed again. “What… Do you want to do?” I stared at Susan, wondering what exactly her words could mean. “I’m content to stare at you… I would hope to one day get to know you and maybe, if we’re right for each other, marry you.” She blushed deeper at my honest reply. “I don’t want to forget you… Can you take me somewhere private?” The way she had changed was strange, still curt, but less commanding and domineering. “Well, my car is in the shop, but I do know a motel that’s within walking distance. Not that I’m suggesting we go to a motel. I just figured that’s the closest private place, short of a bathroom stall, and we could always take the bus to—” She shushed me and put a finger to my lips. Then she kissed me. Oh my God, she smelled terrible, but it was the best kiss of my life. We walked to the motel and got a room. Susan almost immediately went for the shower. I smiled as I sat on the bed and waited for her. When she came out in nothing but a towel and smiled at me I just about fainted on the spot. “My God, you’re beautiful.” She smiled wider and blushed. She climbed into my lap and began to kiss me, still in nothing but the towel. At some point the towel came off and so did my clothes. And what was at first a hot, wet kiss became hot, wet sex. We spent the rest of the day and the night together. She was my first and I was hers. I fell asleep with Susan’s body in my arms and thought that my life had finally turned around. When the morning came Susan was gone. She had taken the motel’s soap and shampoo but hadn’t taken the money she had given back to me. There was a note on the table under her Gatsby hat. I picked up the hat and held it close to my chest as I grabbed Susan’s note and began to read: Dear Cyrus, I know you don’t understand what I’m going through so I won’t try to explain myself. I just want you to know that you made me feel beautiful for the first night of my life. I will always remember you and always love you. Please keep my hat safe; one day, when we meet again, I want it back good as new. I think someday we’ll be right for each other, but for now just wait for me and never forget what we shared. Lots of love, Susan I clutched the message and the hat close as I cried. I knew I would never love anyone the way I loved Susan, and I knew I would wait until the world ended for her to come back. It’s been a year, I’ve been engrossed in work at the lab and rather sullen. It’s the only thing I can do to convince myself I’m not lonely. Susan’s hat is safe in my bedside table, where I can hold on to it on nights when I miss her a bit more than normal. Well, I have to go now, there’s someone at the door. Although I don’t know who’d come calling this late.