Strangers in a City

Strangers in a City

A Story by M.E.Lyle

Was this a dream or what?


Strangers in City

Have you ever stepped outside, looked around and suddenly realized you have no idea where you are?

I see you there, shaking your heads and saying to yourselves..."This guy needs some kind of mental treatment or something," which would probably be about right.

A shrink is NOT what I need, however. An explanation...yes. A good explanation...even better.

But, I digress. Let us return to the original question.

It happened a few nights ago. It was a chilly Texas summer night. I know that's a contradiction in terms of seasonal time frames, but it was.

It's never chilly in Texas during August nights. If you're lucky you might get a drop to below 90 sometime around midnight, but that's about as good as it gets.

So, as you see, things are already out of kilter.

I stuck my freezing hands in my pocket for warmth, took a few steps, when suddenly realizing I had no clue where I was.

In front of me lay some sort of gigantic city park. Behind me were the sounds of a bustling city in the midst of a busy day.

The irritant surrounded my space.

Angry and impatient horns blared, people talked excessively loud, dogs on leashes barked at innocent strangers. I got the sense I was standing in utter chaos .

Dazed and confused, I sat on a nearby bench.

I looked out at the park. It seemed serine, peaceful, quiet. It was quite the contrast from the scene behind me. I felt divided between two worlds.

I turned and looked over my shoulder. There was a bus rolling by. On its side read a sign that read, New York City Metro, or something like that.

New York City?

I had never been to New York, let alone New York City.

I was certain I was having a dream, a nightmare, a...something.

It was like one of those dreams when you find yourself falling from a great height then, just before hitting the ground, you wake up sweating and breathing deeply.

But I wasn't breathing deeply, and I wasn't sweating either.

I turned back around, facing the park.

A girl stood looking up into the night sky.

The stars were bright, brighter than I had ever seen, trillions of them.

It was odd to see so many stars in a city this big. Light pollution usually kept them at bay, hidden away like little jewels.

But tonight was not like any other night. Tonight everything was visible.

The Milky Way weaved its way across the heavens like a giant ribbon of faintly colored pinkish rose buds.

The girl turned and looked at me. She was strange in a way. She looked out of place, perhaps a bit discombobulated.

I recognizes that look right away.

She, like me, was a misplaced person in a city of millions, yet alone and lost.

She walked toward me and sat down, cautiously surveying her surroundings.

I looked at her wondering what was going through that mind of hers.

Her blank expression said nothing about who she was or where she had come from. It only revealed her sense of loss and confusion.

I wondered if I looked the same to her; lost and confused.

We sat there silently, side by side, for the next few hours.

I remember, when I was a young boy, the day my mother died.

The family gathered in the large living space of our home. We all sat silently, feeling each others pain. No words were needed to know what the other was feeling. We all felt the same hurt, great loss, and emptiness that comes along at the sudden death of a loved one.

This was like one of those moments, only, since I didn't know who she was, where she had come from, or anything about her, I was unable read her feelings, only her confusion and loss stood out as being readable.

The silence seemed like a good thing, but I knew, sooner or later, it had to end, and it did.

She pointed to a faint star just left and below the tip of the handle of the Big Dipper constellation.

She mumbled something I couldn't understand.

"Well," I replied, "It's plain you don't speak English. We should get along just fine."

She turned and stammered out,


What I concluded was, she could somewhat understand English, she just wasn't too good at speaking it.

Maybe I should introduced myself, but how.

I remembered, back when I was a kid, watching an old Tarzan movie. Tarzan would tap on his chest and say, "Me Tarzan."

I wondered if such simplicity would work here.

Well, there was no time like the present to find out.

I tapped on my chest and said,


She looked at me mysteriously,


I thought she may have been confused, so I repeated my introduction.

Tapping gently on my chest again I said,

"Tom," and again she repeated,"Ahg."

"No," I replied, "Tom, me Tom." I was being more animated than before thinking she might get the picture if I did.

Funny things go through your head sometimes when you come across situations you are not prepared for.

She became animated as well, grabbing my hand and placing it on her face,

"Ahg,Ahg,Ahg. Me Ahg."

"Ahg," I said slowly, "Your name is Ahg."

I felt the fool, trying to play the part of the great and mighty teacher, when in fact she should have been teaching me.

She knew much more than I first gave her credit, and her vocabulary grew quickly.

We sat on the park bench wondering how each of us had come to this place, and why.

She looked up into the heavens and pointed to the star near the Big Dipper,

"Home," she said sadly.

The End

(Don't ask how this really ends, I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Maybe it really was just a dream.)

© 2020 M.E.Lyle

Author's Note

I got a telescope for Christmas. I think I've been looking at the stars too much lately.

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Added on August 19, 2020
Last Updated on August 19, 2020



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