While we were waiting in Toronto for our connect flight to Tel Aviv, I saw a young woman circling a payphone.
You can try to imagine her. She was probably in her early twenties or maybe a bit younger. She was carrying a large backpack. She had curly hair, if that helps.
That backpack looked heavy, but she didn't put it down on the floor. Instead, she just carried it on her back and continued wondering around the phone, as if afraid to make a decisive move. Every once in a while, she stopped, took out a piece of paper from her pocket, then put it back in and continued circling the phone.
And in between doing whatever, I kept glancing at her, waiting for her to make her move, knowing that if it were up to me, if she were a character in a book I was writing, she would have used the phone by now, because a reader doesn't have time to imagine a woman going around in circles. We have plot twists to consider.
But of course, when she actually stopped and used the phone, what she said was better than anything I could have imagined, and more simple and beautiful than anything I could ever make any character say.
She put her backpack down on the floor, pulled out the paper again, and dialed the number.
With a shaking voice, almost a whisper, she said, "Is it too soon to call?"