Thursday, April 16, 2015
She stood so close. That was the main problem, the one unshakable fact. All the rest of it could be argued away, like the odds on a prop bet. Improbable? Sure, but the chalk doesn't always win. But then, the one irrefutable intrusion on my little fairy tale elevator ride — she stood so fucking close. It explained everything. She stood in my physical space, which meant I also stood in her physical space. Me, a complete stranger, and frankly, typically viewed as a gruff unapproachable stranger. And me, a much older stranger. Twenty five years, at least. Yet, there we were, almost chest to chest. Almost mouth to mouth. Her, weight on her toes, pointed up. Jesus, as unlikely as it may sound, she was definitely stretching towards me. It's not made up. Her extended to her physical limit, reaching up. To an impartial observer, as if lovers.
A week later I saw her in the hallway. A daytime fire alarm was screaming in my apartment, the voice on the intercom shrill and futuristic. Please exit your apartment now! Do not, I repeat, do not use the elevators! Please, exit your apartment now. I had been napping — still recovering from the surgery — and surely looked like disheveled hell when I stepped out into the hall. Looking around for smoke, wondering if this was a fire drill or the real thing. Within seconds she was stepping out of the unit two doors down. My very pretty neighbor.
She startled seeing me. I suppose she wasn't expecting to find anyone else home this time of day. But her mind connected the dots quickly enough and she smiled. A warm smile that might have been practiced. But I'm no expert. She stepped closer even though the exit is in the other direction. To collect me, I suppose, when she touched my elbow. A gentle tug. A pull, maybe. The warmth in her fingers, the trace of palm. Her scent, when she leaned in. What do we do now?
Her story, delivered somewhat nervously, like from a liar who realizes after the words have been spoken that he didn't put much thought into the story: she had a window between classes and had stopped home for a bite of lunch, and a quick nap, time permitting. If I seem edgy, she said, it's because the fire drill ate my nap. Hmmm. That would make me edgy too, I said. I lied, but if she caught it, or cared, she didn't let on. I lied because nothing makes me edgy. I am edgy. Always edgy. More than edgy. That others can't see this amazes me. So for me, no need to lie about it. But, I allowed, maybe it's different for a girl. Such a pretty girl.
We took the stairs down and down — if she slowed her pace to accommodate my weakened one I didn't notice. And not because I didn't look. It was like we'd been taking walks for years. For fifteen levels we gabbed about this and that, mostly question and answer, introductory stuff, like that first you-come-here-often drink at the bar. Well, better than that, but there was a similar unease, a similar uncertainty, that we couldn't walk off or shrug off. Probably because of the lie, but maybe something else. When we hit garage level, 4th floor, she got off because, she said, she had a mathematics class to teach at the university, and, well, the fire alarm ate her nap. I escorted her to her car. Waved when the late model Mercedes pulled away.
A decent fellow would've let things be. Left things alone. He'd have taken the unexpected win that fell into his lap twice and called it a day. Maybe availed himself of the multiple sensuous impressions she'd imparted when he found himself in time of need. The scent of her inflating an otherwise listless hour or two. I suppose. I can't really speak to what a decent fellow would do. Whatever another fellow does, or doesn't do, might as easily be attributed to cowardice as decency. Which would make him a pussy fellow and not a decent fellow, now wouldn't it? That's been my experience anyways. Most so called decent fellows would fuck you right in the ass, given the chance to get away scotch free. Given only half a chance, a lot of them.
I added two plus two and got four. Simple enough. I found her class schedule online. Office hours. Rate a Prof scores, and comments. Facebook. Blog. Linkedin. Result: Single, 26, adjunct professor at University, PhD candidate Mathematics (topology) at (different) University. Fluffy dog named Spank that she saved from the shelter. Spurs fanatic. Family in Laredo. Father proud of his little girl's accomplishments. So she has stated. Repeatedly, across multiple platforms. Youngest sister is 14 and the only pictures show her wearing a white dress with a flower pinned into her long black hair. Thick luxuriant black hair, like her older sister. Dad is shown within arm's reach, smiling. Surely proud of his girl. Both of his girls.
There's more. Much more. I'll update again when I can.