He is waiting for the airline ticket counter when he first notices the young woman. She has glossy black hair pulled tightly into a knot at the back of her bead-the man imagines it loosed and cascading to the small of her back-and carries over she shoulder of her leather coat a heavy black purse. She wears black boots of soft leather. He struggles to see her face-she is ahead of him in line-but it is not until she has bought her ticket and turns to walk away that he realizes her beauty, which is pale and dark-eyed and full-mouthed, and which quickens his heart beat. She seems aware that he is staring at her and lowers her gaze abruptly.
His flight leaves in an hour. To kill time, the man steps into one of the airport cocktail bars and orders a scotch and water. While he sips it he watches the flow of travelers through the terminal-including a remarkable number, he thinks, of an unattached pretty women dressed in fashion magazine clothes-until he catches sight of the black-haired girl in the leather coat. She is standing near a Travelers Aid counter, deep in conversation with a second girl, a blond in a cloth coat trimmed with gray fur. He wants somehow to attract the brunette’s attention, to invite her to have a drink with him before her own flight leaves for wherever she is traveling, but even though he believes for a moment she is looking his way he cannot catch her eye from out of the shadows of the bar. In another instant the two women separate; neither of their direction is toward him. He orders a second Scotch and water.