Ms. Fischer and Mr. MacLaughlin caught each otherÃ¢Â€Â™s eye browsing the fiction stacks, but said nothing. They moved slowly around each other for almost an hour without saying a word.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI saw this very cute girl and was browsing around her, and thought, she seems to be browsing around me,Ã¢Â€Â Mr. MacLaughlin said. Ã¢Â€ÂœWe both spent way too long doing that. Eventually I thought, this is ridiculous, I know IÃ¢Â€Â™m not going to say anything, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll just go. IÃ¢Â€Â™ll buy a book of Anne Carson poetry and hopefully impress her on the way out.Ã¢Â€Â
Ms. Fischer was interested in Ã¢Â€Âœcontinuing to check this guy out,Ã¢Â€Â she said, Ã¢Â€Âœbut I wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t sure that I was going to do anything about it. I was not thinking through a plan of action, I was just sort of bumbling along on instinct.Ã¢Â€Â
As Mr. MacLaughlin was paying for his book, Ms. Fischer slipped outside to wait for him. They made eye contact when he walked out of the store and left it at a passing look. She walked a quarter block behind Mr. MacLaughlin until they reached their shared destination of the L train back to Brooklyn. A few minutes later, they were face to face in the same subway car.
A group of tourists blocked their view as they tried to keep their eye banter going. The train approached the Lorimer Street stop, and Ms. Fischer got up to go. Ã¢Â€ÂœShe looked at me once through the door, and then turned around and looked at me through the window,Ã¢Â€Â Mr. MacLaughlin said. Ã¢Â€ÂœI thought wow, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s a lot of eye contact.Ã¢Â€Â
He went home and posted on Twitter about the exchange. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s when his former teacher, the novelist Ed Park, saw the tweet and encouraged Mr. MacLaughlin to post in the missed connections section on Craigslist. The post read:
Girl with a Granta bag, m4w (East Village)
Yesterday at almost ten we were in the bookstore, each carrying a bag from a literary magazine. Then we rode the L train together. We made a lot of eye contact, which was nice. Craigslist remains weird; who are you?
Ms. Fischer felt the exchange was Ã¢Â€Âœworth investigating,Ã¢Â€Â she said, and found Mr. MacLaughlinÃ¢Â€Â™s posting the next night. Ã¢Â€ÂœIt was an extended and weird enough encounter that it felt like a thing,Ã¢Â€Â Ms. Fischer said. Ã¢Â€ÂœI remember being like, aah, yes, of course, here it is. I was not surprised.Ã¢Â€Â
So she responded: Ã¢Â€ÂœHi! IÃ¢Â€Â™m Molly. Who are you?Ã¢Â€Â
She later wrote about it in a story in The Cut.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI went to an all-girls school for seven years, so often through college and my pre-Sam dating life I felt like I had no skills, and this was a situation when having no skills paid off,Ã¢Â€Â Ms. Fischer said. Ã¢Â€ÂœI behaved as strangely and incompetently as possible and it really worked out well.Ã¢Â€Â