She was sitting on a park bench, basking in the lukewarm sun. The only shade that cloaked her body was when a cloud passed in front of the glowing, high noon orb. The light kissed her body like the reflective wrapper on a fresh piece of hand crafted chocolate.
When you unwrap it, you know a couple of extra sticky crumbs are going to fall into your lap or stick to your fingertips.
You have a decision – wipe them off or lick them off.
She was alone. I wasn’t close enough to see if she had a ring on her finger. The weather outside was nice, too nice for how beautiful she already looked to me. People were around, going through their daily programmed motions. Me and her, though, we were stuck on the runway like a grounded plane.
Like a gnat on a single drop of molasses.
Like peeping tom eyes on an intriguing body.
I could tell by the way she inhabited her park bench that she wanted immediate attention, but no one was giving it to her. She was desperately lonely and in need of companionship. She was vulnerable to the outside world, like a nudist in a clothes factory. She was in need of meaningful friendship that was worthy of her time and attention.
She was the phone call that could never be declined.
She was the last cigarette in a half crushed cigarette box.
She was the last piece of prime meat on the sale rack.
She was everything I had ever imagined in a future daydream that had yet to be pondered.
I studied her body language, and it was like I was looking at a foreign creature in its native environment. Even though she never left her park bench, I could tell that she was roaming the open plain, preying with her sunglass lens covered eyes for her next victim.
Her next meal.
Her next appetizer.
Her next spooned piece of dessert.
I could have been wrong, and she was merely setting herself up for the kill. She was exposing herself and her hiding spot for some bigger predator to sneak in on her when she least expected it. Maybe she wanted someone to admire her for the woman that she was and was striving to forever be.
People will tell you that you are not supposed to hurt animals (as they take a big juicy bite into a piece of cow, fish, or chicken), and that may be true, but not in this situation.
I wanted to shoot a bullet straight to her heart or brain because that is what she had already done to me.
She was not a cupid.
She was a seasoned veteran sniper.
She had more calculations than a Trigonometry workbook.
Luckily for me, my wandering eyes had already started undressing her before she had time to reveal herself to the paparazzi that was not going to show up nor would it. She was going to be ignored by everyone else but me, and she knew it. The only clicking camera and flashing lights she was going to receive today were my eyes and the sun up above.
Point. Click. Shoot.
Her soul, frozen, forever, for me.
I watched as the wind tossed fragments of her hair about in slow motion. Each piece that danced around her smooth face was strong enough to harness a giant ship to the dock of some far away seaport. A piece would latch itself to her sunglasses or lower lip, and she would pull it away like the sticky cobweb that it was.
Instead of freaking out, she freaked in.
Into my mind.
She was that classy.
She did not have presence.
She was presence.
She played with her sunglasses like she was a hot movie star, sitting on the pearly white sands of a tropical beach. The tortoise shell frames sparkled under the heavenly light, and the big oval lenses blocked the view of me being able to see how euphoric her eyes truly were. She had been practicing her entire life for this moment, or at least she acted like it.
There was no need for a dress rehearsal when you lived the role and was merely waiting for your turn on the stage.
For your turn to finally be noticed under the spotlight.
She was more than royalty.
She was greek goddess mythology.
A couple of minutes passed as I watched her read her book. She looked at her surroundings to distract her loneliness then turned her tender face back to the printed sentences on the pages. Her skin was the perfect shade of peach. She was the most ripe piece of produce on the entire roadside stand.
One bite, and the sin would have been committed.
One bite, and the juice would be out in the open and on my chin.
A mere nibble.
Her lips, the way they mouthed her finger then curled underneath her teeth when she bit them, made arctic ice break away from glaciers and finally free themselves from their icy prison. She was a sorceress from some unknown fairy tale land, sent here to cast a spell on anyone who gazed at her for a time that she deemed as being too long. She could whisper a spell and it would have infected the nearest three galaxies.
Her lips – the things that filtered open breaths and inaudible words as she read – made my tongue salivate like opening a fresh pack of sour gummy worms.
I wanted her to waste thousands of kisses on me and leave me stained in lip gloss, saliva, and the many shades of the color rose.
I wanted to feel her leech to me and allow me to embrace that first suctioned tug.
There were a couple of times when I thought she caught me staring at her. She smiled about it. There is a possibility that I could have imagined this. There is a possibility that it could have really happened. I would not know because the lull was that deep.
The trance was that tight.
The hole to my real-life dream was that believable.
She was serenading me like the laps of endless ocean waves hitting the sandy shore. She was settling my demeanor like a never ending breeze skirting past a beautiful overlook. She was arousing my heightened senses like me placing a food order then it tickling my nose for the first time as the chef cooks it in the kitchen and you know it’s your dish just by the way it smells.
She was a used board game without a set of instructions. The only way to play was to make sense of it as you moved the pieces along and made your slight advances.
She was the combined number on a set of rolled dice that you needed in order to double your high roller bet.
I gazed at her neckline then studied the skin as it slowly disappeared into a V near her breasts. She was milking her shirt for everything it was worth, and she knew it. A couple of times she took her fingers, fumbled with her collar, and opened the slit even more.
She was a piece of fresh cut bait dangling from a stainless steel hook in the waters of a hungry, open sea.
She was fishing for stares and compliments, yet I was the only one that noticed her like the trophy that she was, her bending my rod in reciprocation.
Did I take the bait – hook, line, and sinker – or were we still bobbing on the skiff of a somewhat calm ocean?
She crossed her legs at one point in time during her park bench reading and took a sip from her disposable coffee cup. She giggled after reading a specific line. It was a genuine smile. She was intrigued with the words on the page. I was intrigued with the book I was currently exploring. Both of us were getting lost in our temporary stories of now.
Page by page, we drifted deeper into the plot of beyond.
Muted sentences were building up to our next indented paragraph.
Would our first words have a comma and coordinating conjunction or a comma and closed double quotes?
By the time I scanned her slender legs and made it down to her basic printed flats, she had lowered her book into her lap. She was looking in my direction, staring at me like I had been staring at her. To be honest, it made me feel uncomfortable, and I hoped she had not felt like I currently did. She fidgeted with her sunglasses, took a sip of her brew, and looked away.
My confirmation soon followed.
She was my special email after an online order.
She was that front door package you wait all day for.
She was blushing. She was testing me. She was teasing me. She was cutting off pieces of me and weighing me out by the ounce. She was deciding if I was worthy enough to chase after her on her day off.
She was being the most pure form of herself, and I was fine with that.
She was being she.
All around us, people were mob flashing in their own way. Couples were sitting on the grass, lying on their blankets, picnicking, cloud watching, and chatting. Kids were playing with their parents and whatever ball or toy they had brought with them. Dogs were enjoying outdoor time. Other people were bicycling, jogging, or walking. A couple of babies cried. The brave others kissed, held hands, and melted into one another.
The girl, who I had been admiring for the past hour or so, slid a book mark carefully between the pages of where she was leaving off one journey and embarking on another. I heard her marker scrape over the surface of the page like a fresh razor gliding over shaving cream covered skin. She apparently was temporarily lost in some kind of daydream.
She was losing a piece of herself while discovering another fragment at the same time.
She caught me staring at her yet again. She looked away before smiling. Seconds turned to minutes turned to moments of grinding and halting clock hand ticks before she finally scooted over to one side of her park bench.
Something was happening.
She was curious.
She was a psychic.
She was a liability.
She nodded in my direction. I pointed at myself to make sure I was not misinterpreting any of the signals that the catcher, her, was throwing at the pitcher, me. I looked behind myself to make sure she was not signaling to someone better looking than me. She wasn’t. So far, I was right in my decipher of this hieroglyph and was wasting more time than I cared to do.
Had I cracked the code?
Had I uncovered an ancient treasure?
Had I explored an undiscovered edge of the Earth?
Now was a time of action, not complacency, a time of truth and not conspiracy. I know that some would consider what I was doing to be illegally invoking or not proper conduct, yet I choose to believe that admiring someone’s true beauty is a lost art.
Anyone can beef up their credentials on a dating app and make themselves appear to be something they are not. Anyone can lie with their eyes and mannerisms. In the real life and days after, our words and actions determines the what’s what.
She cleared her throat in order to get my attention. She nodded her head in an approving way and finally pointed at me. I mouthed and lightly spoke the words,
She patted the empty place beside her that she freed up just for me. She was inviting me into her sun soaked palace as our worlds spun and gravity kept everything in place, for now, at least. I looked at the seat beside her. It resembled an open Venus fly trap waiting for that one unsuspecting fly to land on it so it could close its jaws and feed.
Do I land there considering I already know the destination of the pre-destined decision?
I caught myself before I stood. I looked at her one more time and compiled my list of things that she was and turned them into a list of she is’s so I could flatter her as soon as I closed in on her proximity.
She was gorgeous but now she is beautiful.
She was foreign but now she is exotic.
She was attractive but now she is intoxicating.
She was somewhat innocent but now she is somewhat devious.
She was silent but now she is vocal.
She was potential energy but now she is kinetic.
She was fifteen feet away and now she is about to be inches away.
She was but now she is.
More importantly, though, she was.
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He was sitting on a park bench across the way, alone, in the shade, spying on me from a distance. At least, I think he was peeping tom’ing me. It was somewhat hard to tell with the angle of the bright and warm sunlight above us, as well as our eyes being mirrored by our tinted sunglasses.
He was an undercover agent that was more over-cover than under.
He was a surveillance camera in a well disguised place.
He was the slo-mo replay on a questionable referee call.
He fumbled for whatever prop he could find in his pockets and backpack, but I knew what he was up to. He was not a good actor, and I was okay with that because I wanted a real life moment and not some screen played scene written out for me.
I yearned to create an original memory, nothing manufactured.
Like baking fresh cookies at home.
Like the first toothpick stab into a freshly risen cake.
He was the oven that was slowly pre-heating.
I was the gooey batter in a cool, oiled pan.
Together, if I chose to be so, we were the dessert.
I think he picked the seat across from me because it camouflaged his optical advances. Something about him was unique to me, even in a world where everything is a copy slash pasted remake. He was treating me like a prized children’s toy that had never been taken out of the box and played with because that would have only decreased its value.
He was undressing me with his eyes, and I let the voyeur do exactly that.
I was the half-clothed mannequin in a lingerie store.
He was the shopper, one week before the birthday or anniversary purchase.
I came to the park to read and hopefully bump into someone worth engaging. I came to realize that the longer I sat in my moment of disconnect, the more I wanted to be admired for my beauty. I wanted to be recognized as being that woman reading a book on a park bench. I wanted to be labeled as being that princess bathing in the sunlight, glistening like a fresh piece of aluminum foil.
Like a freshly Windex’ed mirror.
For me being me.
If anybody was going to notice my sharp reflective, it was him.
He sat across from me and pretended to play on his phone and sit in contemplative thought. He was handsome. He was careful in the way he carried his body language.
A couple of times, while sitting there, he smiled. Not at me, but in one of those ’round a bout’ kind of ways. I did not know if there was something wrong with me or if there was something I did that tickled him the right way.
A lot of things can get lost in translation if you allow it to, and I instantly realized that some things were not meant to be translated.
Some things are not meant to be understood.
The longer I sat there, the more I felt like a celebrity trying to hide amongst the thralls of all my lowly fans. I dodged as many Google searches as I could. He was my paparazzi. He was my National Geographic photographer, paid for by scientific grant money to obtain a couple of still frames of one of the most wild and endangered species around.
A yearning woman.
A woman in need.
A woman wanting to be noticed and not ignored.
A woman being a typical woman.
I wanted to be offended by his unsolicited peeps but then I had to remind myself that I came to the park and sat on this bench to initiate these feelings of unguided affection. I wanted to be preyed upon. I wanted to be trapped but not in a life threatening way. I did not feel violated because he was harmless in his approach. I felt safe because his energy seemed patient and playful.
He was my personal muse for the hour, and his minimum wage was priceless.
He was overtime when you needed it, as well as a regular forty-hour week when you needed it.
He was that feeling when you look for your favorite shirt, realize it is still in the hamper, yet you retrieve it anyway.
He was like coming home on a holiday and knowing your next exit sign was the one you were going to take.
I pretended to read and look down at my book even though my eyes wandered from it and stared in his direction. My sunglasses aided in this process. The wind cooled the warm tension between us and set us at ease. The breeze gave us something to look at, even though it was invisible to the eyes, and helped us in crossing our glances at one another.
Today’s world is teaching women to be direct and inconspicuous, but with him, this stranger, I wanted to be the opposite. I wanted to make him sit and stir. I wanted to tease him. I wanted him to want this moment more than I wanted it. I wanted a foreign dialect to exist and for us to have to decode it through body language, no words, and un-invasive movements.
I wanted to be the exotic dancer on the other side of the glass wall.
I wanted to be the new car in the showroom.
I wanted to be the diamond tiara inside a locked glass case in a museum and barred off by velvet ropes and a big burly security guard named Mike.
He was complacent with my impatience.
He was patient with my incomplacency.
He was the opposite to the truth and the validity to the lie.
I wanted him to check me out first then admire my artsy style considering I was reading a book, a dated classic, outside, on a park bench, playing with my hair as it frayed about. Each sentence was harder and harder to focus on and read knowing a not-so-secret admirer was queued off across the cobblestone walk way. To be honest, I could not have told you what the last three pages were about.
I was going to make him wait, and wait he did.
Like a drug addict with a freshly written script in a busy pharmacy line.
Like a patron standing in line with a full cart at a busy grocery store.
Like running late for work and hitting every red light between here and Jupiter.
He was the first hint of wind before the storm and the calm that follows afterwards. He was the hull of a Bering Sea ship, braving the waves of a turbulent tomorrow. He was the first three wrinkles on a seafarers face while, at the same time, being the puffy cheeks of a milk filled infant.
He was a fixated point in time unraveled just for me.
Somehow, I got lost in my thoughts, yet again. I started to drift like a lifeboat looking for the first piece of land to beach itself on.
When did the arts of seduction die out? What happened to eye contact, classy pick up lines, and smiles from across the room? What happened to a man politely going after what he wanted and, if he was turned down, still handing out his number even though he knew the girl was not going to call him back. What happened to a woman snatching what turned her own and throwing herself on it like a shopping spree with a limit of infinity.
What happened to happen?
He was making me feel feelings and think thinkings.
He was a dictionary of definitions and all I wanted to do was search for words I did not know how to pronounce.
He was truly a wizard. Instead of wearing a cloak, he was wearing heavy chrome armor. I looked at his hands and knew he was more than capable of massaging every knot out of my tense body. He had defined lips that could peck every piece of seed off of me, if I chose to let him.
He was every imaginative thought of my careless heart.
He was that feeling when everything in your life, for a day, is on time.
He was a caution sign, and I wanted to be careless, even if for the slightest of seconds.
I sipped my coffee and let the caffeine accelerate my heart more than it already was.
What happened to attractive being attractive, sexy being truly sexy, and erotic being reserved for those inside the candlelit room behind the locked door? What happened to this game and when did we decide to follow the instructions, all the time, until they were crinkled and dry rotted?
What is happening to me?
Am I unraveling?
Am I starting to fray like a used nylon rope that has been sitting out in the weather for years on end?
I took another sip of my coffee. I let the lukewarm, dark liquid careen over my palate and down my throat. I felt flush. I felt like my blood pressure was up.
I felt like an unfolded napkin on a table top. I felt like used silverware. I felt like the lip prints on clean stemware. I felt like the bubbles in a fresh sip of champagne.
He was making me feel this way. He was invoking these blurred feelings of intense ecstasy just by looking at me.
By studying me.
He was making me churn like fresh, homemade ice cream, and there was only one customer. One spoon. One bowl.
He was making me crave the craving by craving the crave.
I was lost in a daydream and allowed him free viewing during all of this. I was the scenic overlook, and he was the simple passerby stepping out of his car, alone, for a breath of fresh air.
Two women pushing their strollers woke me out of this moment of rarity, and I immediately slid my bookmark into my book and placed it in my lap. This caught him off guard and gave me my moment of infatuation of when a girl catches a guy staring at her and accepts his gesture by smiling at him in an indirect way.
I looked away, immediately. I knew I was the temporary focus of his universe. I got the notion that this was more than about both of us getting off. This was more than about a climax and sensational feeling that lasts ten seconds or less. Me and him, we were creating something, together as strangers.
As familiars with similars that would make us glimmer as we simmered.
This moment was the canvas for our painting, and how it turned out depended on us and our brushes.
Sometimes, the art gets bashful of what the artist is doing. If not, then why does the art exist?
I studied him for a change. He was good for the eyes to look at. He had Prince Charming type features. His skin was fair and smooth. He had the right amount of facial hair. He was hipster in the way he dressed but classy enough to take to any restaurant in town. His body language did not scream slouch or couch potato even though it did not scream personal trainer either.
He was cool like a down comforter and firm like pizza crust.
He was, well, sufficiently perfect for the moment. After he opened his mouth and talked about his life, well, that was another story, and there was only one way to embark on that journey since he was too candid to initiate the first response to our resting inertia.
I cleared my throat, made sure he was looking, slid over to one side of my park bench, and waved him over. I instantly smiled. To make my invitation seem more inviting, I patted the seat next to me to let him know I fully consented to him entering my bubble.
Was this my moment?
My magic trick?
My sleight of hand?
At first, he thought I was motioning to someone behind him. He turned around and saw that it was just me and him. I thought maybe this was just part of his rouze, but I quickly realized I was wrong.
Is he this naive?
Well, maybe naive is too strong of a word. Is he this, well, innocently oblivious, in a sexy good way, to a woman’s game, a trait that has become more harsh and abrasive with each passing year.
I let that thought sink in for a couple of seconds.
He was naive, and in the way that secretly turned me on! He was innocently oblivious, and in the way that secretly turns me on! He was the way that turned me on, and in the way that secretly turns me on when I’m turned on! He was the turning of the on when the on needs to be turned.
Then he sold me on the very being he was when he mouthed the words,
to my polite invitation to share a park bench.
I knew his words and mannerisms were going to wrap and swaddle me like my favorite blanket. He was going to tortilla me, contain all my flavors, and consume me like a hungry person scanning the menu of the most renowned food truck in all the land. He was going to dissect me like a pinned bullfrog in biology lab class.
He was making me feel young again, and I liked that.
He was going to put me in his pocket like his favorite chapstick and pull me out and put me on his lips when he saw fit.
With each footstep he took my way, I started to compile my list of things that he was and turn them into a list of he is’s so I could flatter him as soon as I said my name and introduced myself.
He was imperfectly perfect in a perfectly imperfect moment but now is perfectly perfect by how he had managed to play everything out.
He was my knight in shining armor but now is a classy gentleman in how he handled our situation
He was charming but now he is alluring.
He was curious but now he is convinced.
He was full of mystery but now he is full of wonder.
He was full of doubt but now he is full of confidence.
He was a vagabond in the hottest of deserts but now he has found his oasis in the most desolate of places.
He was once alone but now he is about to have companionship.
He was but now he is.
More importantly though, he was.
* * * * * * * * * *
She Was, He Was.
Together, they are.
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