She was much younger than you’d think, I remember being in high school and people saying they must be putting steroids in the chicken-dangerous thing hookup culture can be. Her eyes, large black pupils with a hazel brown rim around them. I had walked into the Marwood two hours before close; glad I found a must-go place, that wasn’t a pub, open after 5pm.

I sat at the high-top table with my raspberry sponge cake and a cup of green tea. I hadn’t gotten to my first sip when she came over, I saw her asking people if they had open places at their table. The man in front of me, alone at a three-person table, said he had friends coming. I was next.

“Are you alone?”

Two hours later I had been fully acquainted with three street musicians. The two others were, a father from Death Valley, CA and a man from Finland (although he had lived in many other places growing up, acquiring five languages along the way). She had just met them today on the streets of Brighton, the story being she watched the two guys perform for a little until they asked her to join with her fiddle. Things must have gone well, I joked they’d be the next Beatles knowing no other band to choose because how terrible I was with music history.

The father believed in lizard people, the Illuminati was the reason for many things like 9/11, and that Michelle Obama was a man. It only took one look to the Finn next to me to basically say, “Yes, he might be a little crazy, but let’s see where this goes.” It’s always the Americans with the conspiracy theories isn’t it? I love listening to things of this nature anyway. I don’t think I questioned enough growing up.

There was a set of mannequin legs holding up the table-something the Finn commented on before first sitting down. The chest of the lady mannequin was placed on the end of the table up against the wall her and I sat across from each other on. We didn’t notice for quite some time our faces were next to a set of breasts because of how close we would lean across the table to talk. It wasn’t loud, so I got what was happening. I’m a firm believer in proximity but that’ll be for another time. Neither of us would look away to talk, something that interested me knowing people typically look one way to access information and another to lie. I could feel the room was paying attention to our group’s presence because it was so palpable. There was no judgment. We all seemed to just be ourselves, personalities that meshed well. I think people were jealous knowing this was our first conversation ever.

She had that thing about her, that comfort, charm, and energy. She finally said it about an hour into the chat, “It’s really easy for me to connect with people.” I remember I was in the same place not too long ago.

We all stood outside the café figuring out who was accompanying whom on the journeys back. They talked about meeting up the next day to “jam.”

“I’ll put out a message.” She pointed to her head, I couldn’t help the laughter but it was harmless. She told me of a friend she never called but would see all the time around the city. I could tell she liked the idea, I told her how small Brighton was. She believed in that kind of stuff, star-girl-stuff. Billy warned me of this at Mysterland almost a full year ago.

She believed in guardian angels. She had once met one on the bus.

Her name was Harriet and she played the fiddle.