Sandy analysed every aspect of her relationship with Nick. She saw how he captured her, how he kept her, how he abused her, and how she finally escaped.
When she returned to the ‘dating’ arena, any man who burst into her life was put in the ‘pending’ tray.
By refusing to rush into a relationship she protected himself. If the Next Man is an abuser he would lose interest and quit. He will appreciate his ‘foot sweeping’ isn’t working and move on.
The Knight in Shining Armour who rides in to ‘rescue’ the maiden, fails. The Abuser, fails.
The ‘Maiden’ escapes.
So Sandy, suddenly approached by the smiling stranger whose mouth splatters praise, begins to laugh and walk away.
For how can a stranger know anything about her?
As she walks away, she realises that if she hadn’t analysed her first encounter with Nick, perceiving how he’d played her, that smiling stranger could have ‘won’.