by Grant Smith
24 days? Has it really been 24 days since I left my apartment? I re-check my ledger and it has to be correct. First was the Premans account then Caspian Corp and that Clemens thing. You see I am a freelance web designer. I get all of my work through the Internet. I get paid via online money transfer. In fact I order most my food though an online grocer. For nearly a month no one has seen me but delivery and postal workers. The only social bonds I get are from facebook and twitter. Maybe an occasional debate on a message board about which Kubrick film is best. I am suddenly feeling the need for fresh air.
Time has made everything feel alien to me. Has the elevator always been so small? Has it always sounded so tinny? I make my way through the lobby but have to squint. My eyes are having trouble adjusting to the natural light. In some ways the sun is feeling more artificial and foreign than the glow of the incandescents. The cool fall air hits my lungs and I feel like I’ve plugged in. Stealing energy from nature it self. I resist the urge to spread my arms out wide and let the suns warmth blanket me.
A new question pops up. Where am I going? My unconsciousness mind chooses for me. I head across the street towards the shops. The smell of coffee tempts as I pass the cafe’s. I keep on forging my path though. Past the books shops, past the galleries and pizzeria’s. What am I following? It’s a scent.
She passed me in a hurry but the scent lingered. It wasn’t as strong as a perfume? Maybe a body wash? Citrus in sweetness and tartness. I hurried my pace to match hers. Her gym bag swayed hypnotically behind her. She was wearing a grey pea coat with a bow on the back that rested in the small of her back. Her hair was long and straight, not a lot of body. A dark brown, a high contrast to her pale skin. She had on black leggings that made her petite frame look taller. Her shoes were the only thing that didn’t match the polish off her look. A pair of Chuck Taylors that have seen a lot of wear.
I am hoping to catch a glimpse of her face but fear her turning back seeing mine. I didn’t even check the mirror as I left. I just grabbed and old army surplus ranger jacket and Adidas shoes. Worse yet I imagined her noticing my follow. I try to catch my own reflection in the store front windows but our pace is to fast.
We nearly separate a couple times but I manage to keep up. Her quick shuffle increases in gate and she breaks into a jog. I lose her at the cross walk. I stop but she makes it across the traffic. My eyes are locked on her as she starts to pull out of view. I drop my head in frustration. When I return my gaze she is gone.
I kick dirt the next few blocks. I am not quite sure why. I would never be so forward to introduce myself. The mystery of it all could be what really stings. I never did see her face. In my mind I have seen it. Her smile is intriguing and not an easy purchase. It is a hint of joy that is realized in her eyes. The way her gaze makes you the spot light. Just the thought makes me feel as if basking in ultraviolet rays.
I pop into the next cafe, no coffee for me though. A citrus infused tea. To hopefully forever seal this memory for eternity to this taste. I sit for a while ironically judging those around me on their mobile devices. We talk about being connected but this experience makes it apparent all these gadgets do is disconnect.
I left the cafe and started to wander. I started to smile and greet the people I passed. Some shunned me but for the most part people smiled back. I sat down on a bench feeling completely refreshed. The cold air and the warm drink made me feel on top of the world. I looked up into the blue sky and watched the birds fly. I closed my eyes to better single out their song amongst the city bustle.
When I opened my eyes once again it was magic. My sight adjusted to the brightness and when contrast returned I received a gift. It was her. Across the street in a Ballet studio, dancing. I stood up and stepped closer. It’s almost like the gods slowed down space and time for me. Nothing in my peripheral existed. All I saw was her moving in nothingness. If there ever was a perfect moment?
Her face was even sweeter than I imagined. Gentile, elegant and full of soul. I watched her for what seemed like hours. It was more like minutes. I didn’t over stay my welcome. I went home a better man than I had left. Did I ever see her again? No? Why? She gave me enough.
*I didn’t really edit this so I hope it isn’t too annoying.Just felt the urge to write.