Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sidewalk Romance

The hem of the shiny black raw silk dress she wore was frayed and torn. Her eyelids laboured under the weight of the dark paint that she had carefully hurled over them. They made her bloodshot eyeballs appear to be little more than scant red lines interrupting the black blotches surrounding them. Her hair was purposefully disarrayed, and her lips were an unnaturally attractive shade of scarlet.  She was surrounded in an affluent mist of sharp, musky, and distinctly masculine notes of perfume.

She’d carefully removed her diamond studded watch and replaced it with a vintage throwaway timepiece that she threw over her head and shoved into a pocket of her dress, hidden by the marvels of clever fashion design.  She exchanged her black patent leather sandals for frayed and worn black toms. She tossed aside her matching leather bag and grabbed a plain cotton tote with a single French loaf sticking out the top.

It was after all of this painstaking preparation that Carla treated the bored passers-by on the corner of August and 15th to the amusing vision of an evidently impoverished bombshell stepping out of a chauffeured private limousine. She left their imaginations to run wild as she made her way to her destination, visibly bursting with excitement.

As Carla walked down the avenue, the object of her preoccupation slowly came into sight. She’d insisted on being driven past here every single day for several weeks after she had first noticed him, post lunch at a nearby restaurant. He was right there, even today, so many days after- in the same place he’d always been- at the corner of August and 16

As she glanced across at it from her new pedestrian perspective, it occurred to Carla that the corner of August and 16
th was not unique in any way at all, save for his steadfast presence there. It had a couple of trees, a stoplight, and the usual pedestrian traffic that is synonymous with city-life. There was an overflowing garbage can by the pedestrian light, and a little bench by the eatery that Carla had once been to, so long ago. And then Carla’s gaze shifted sharply, and her eyes widened with interest.As she came closer, she saw him clearer: in all his dark, unkempt and ruggedly handsome splendour. He was lean, almost skinny- but it could well have been the slightly oversized shirts paired with the undersized trousers that made him seem that way. He had on a peculiarly discoloured scarf that Carla thought was just charming the first time she saw him. And a voice that was so strong it could just steal your breath away.

The words he used were even stronger than the hoarse, virile voice he said them with.Carla would never forget that moment when their eyes met as she left the restaurant and saw him for the first time. “Fuck you, rich bitch!” He’d screamed. His voice had haunted her thoughts ever since, and a whiff of his sweaty perfume had often stolen into her dreams. She’d never heard anyone speak that way, with such strength and passion in their voice. And she’d never seen as much raw emotion in any of her cocktail dates’ eyes, or seen as much potential strength in any of their manicured hands. She always fantasized about a real man, but she’d never seen one before she saw him.

She had to come back the next day, even if it was just for a fleeting glance through the window as her limo sped past him. She thought she’d be able to forget him, but the feelings just grew stronger and stronger, and she was compelled to come back every day for even the smallest taste of his hypnotising presence.

As her wild fixation on him grew by the day, Carla realized that she absolutely had to get to know him, but she’d never really known where to start until today.

She was right in front of him. He searched her with his eyes, bewilderedly trying to comprehend the familiarity that was rising up in his chest as he drank up as much of Carla’s beauty as he could. He knew those eyes, but he didn’t know the face they were staring back at him from. He saw so many people going past without giving him as much as a glance every day, and so many others who’d look at him with pity and disgust. He could tolerate being ignored, but he hated it when they stared at him like he was a dog with a broken leg. It made him angry, so angry he’d often shout out at them and stare at them with just as much judgement.  Carla’s voice snapped him away from his thoughts.  

“I’m Carla. I found some bread down there; do you want to share it with me?” Carla asked, pointing to her French loaf.

“Sure, yeah, I’m starved… it’s Rob, by the way.”

So Carla sat down by Rob on the sidewalk, gingerly moving aside the “HOMELESS AND HUNGRY” sign, and broke the bread.

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