Philip entered the airport café and slowly slid his gaze toward the people sitting at the tables. At first he didn't notice anything interesting but just as he thought luck would abandon him this time, cached a glimpse of an interesting object. Quite interesting from the viewpoint of an experienced macho in search of a woman.
The girl was sitting alone at one of the corner tables and was smoking nervously. She was in her midtwenties, beautiful, with darkblond hair falling freely on the shoulders and motley eyes in which a very pleasant nuance of green prevailed. Philip whisked the fleck of dust that somehow had nestled on the lapel of his expensive jacket and briskly started toward the target. The girl didn't seem to be aware of the fact that a man was standing beside her table; all her attention was focused on the burning tip of the cigarette.
"Can I offer you a drink?" asked Philip mildly and put into action one of the most irresistible variants of a smile which his facial muscles could produce.
The girl looked up with a start. Her beautiful eyes were thick with surprise and incomprehension.
"Do you speak English?" Philip asked.
"And I speak Spanish too," she snapped, then with trembling fingers crushed the unfinished cigarette into the full ashtray.
"I just thought a drink would do you good."
"What makes you think so?" The girl was smiling condescendingly, a charming dimple twitching on her cheek.
Philip felt slightly awkward which wasn't typical for him. It appeared he had run upon a rock this time.
"Well ... you look a bit nervous, and your face is sort of ... pale..."
In this moment Philip noticed two black plastic objects with semicircular form sticking over the edge of the table. It took him about ten seconds to realize these were crutches. The fact confused him more, he even blushed a little. Here the things were not going to turn out well obviously. The girl started beating the devil's tattoo, then sniffed and lowered her head sadly.
"I wouldn't say no to a glass of beer."
Philip was wondering how to make off; he wasn't partial to lame ladies, were they attractive. Feeling the awkwardness of the situation, the girl bit her lower lip nervously.
"I ... don't want to bother you..." Philip started, then, after a short hesitation, decided to demonstrate some sort of kindness. Waved to the waiter, ordered two beers and sat at the table.
While the girl was intently examining her manicure, Philip leant back and cast a glance under the table. There he saw an extremely graceful ankle, shapely calf, knee, halfcovered with black skirt, and rough plaster cast from the lower part of which five tiny pinkish toes were sticking out. The toes twitched spasmodically as if tortured by excruciating pain. It was not until then that Philip noted the ill concealed suffering emanating from the girl's expression. He felt sorry ... for not being lucky to meet this belle in better times, not that he would refrain from doing it now – Philip's opinion about women was frequently changing under the pressure of his strong libido.
They started a conversation while sipping their beers.
"I'm Philip. You?"
"What brought you here, Polly?"
"An hour ago I arrived from the States. I'm waiting a ... friend of mine to pick me up ... but his car has broken and I'm expecting him no sooner than three or four hours.
"I have always hated waiting."
"Your leg ... you hurt it ... sorry."
"I sorry too, but maybe it was destined that way."
"Destined? What do you mean?"
"Well ... you know how it is. Life surprises us unpleasantly sometimes. Oh ... I was out on a walk in Chicago when a thug attacked me, snatching my handbag. I ran after him and was knocked down by a speeding taxi. And here I am with broken shin, stuck in a cast for a month."
"What a nuisance!"
Gradually Polly monopolized the conversation. Cataract of rambling, often illogical sentences was literally pouring out of her mouth and Philip started feeling dizzy. He already regretted for the "beer kindness" he had shown. On top of all Polly was trembling like a leaf, her nerves obviously shaken by the misfortune.
"Do you know how ugly the American squirrels are? Sort of ... chubby cheeked ... you know.