on the downtown 6 train from grand central last year, coming home from work.
me: wearing a short white dress, studded rose gold, stunned, always complimented. the cashier while i was getting my lunch - "you going to a party?" wicker heels with a gold detail, nude, not quite the right colour to complement my dress but the most comfortable option for a night i'd be constantly on my feet. though i looked fabulous in that dress i couldn't sell it that night, could never sell much at all. the things i wore, no one else could, or was willing. never average, rarely translatable to other figures. maybe that was my issue - i'm not relatable.
you: tall, dark blonde, with a friend. staring relentlessly and unabashedly at me with a silly grin on your bearded face. wearing an ugly sweater and brown cords, not at all my type, but still cute.
i looked back at you and smiled sheepishly, couldn't bare to stare back at you without interaction, looked away. in the window, i watched your reflection watch me. every now and then i found the courage to look back. "hi," you said. "hi." i waited for more, awkward, unsure what to do when we were both getting off at union square and ended up next to each other as we exited the train. maybe if i had looked up, instead of looking down, down at my perpetually unpainted toes and barely justifiable shoes, something would've happened. i don't remember if we both got on at grand central, or if you were already on that 6 train, if you were always on that 6 train; a version of you would always be everywhere i went, on every 6 train i'll ever board. and even if you weren't my type, i wouldn't miss you next time.
i got off the train and saw two cold degenerates begging for money. i looked, walked past, then acknowledged something that drew me back towards them. "do you guys want some hamburgers?" i asked, knowing the diner in my building was still open. "yeah," one said. "you look very pretty tonight."
walking down 19th street, on my way to bed bath and beyond to meet my roommate.
me: heartbroken. coming from a lunch date, chipotle with a friend, chips 'n guac and all - something i'd feel too guilty to splurge on in any other mental state. wearing an off shoulder blue sweater, a pink and white striped betsey johnson bandage skirt. i'd woken up and asked, what would serena van der woodsen wear? i didn't have any prada. amongst the chaos of moving in and settling into a new year, someone had shattered my heart. the night before, i decided i was only dating blondes from now on. i was through settling and anyway, i wouldn't want to be put in a position again where i would have to choose whether or not to settle down with someone who i knew i wouldn't marry. thinking too seriously about love, i wasn't late to marry, i was young to, and i had time to find anyone else. but i was always, running late.
you: doing something on the street, taking a survey, maybe. dressed in a slate gray button up, black pants, perfectly my style, and oh god, blonde. looking directly at me, smiling. i wonder if you can see my eyes from behind my sunglasses? i smile, we walk past each other without looking away the entire time. i know you'll turn to look again after you pass, and you do, and i do the same, but only after you're too far away to see it. maybe i would have been more brave if i wasn't running late, or if you were taller. but i had found a blonde who had been more utterly taken with me in the seconds we passed one another on the streets than my heartbreaker had been on our first three dates. i am running late, but the universe is prompt in telling me i'll be ok.
waiting for the bus on broadway.
me: just getting off of work, looking painfully boring as i always do, out of place for a college student. wearing a nondescript black blouse and a tight gray skirt. feeling defeated after 6 hours of sorting bad mail at my desk, the $700 i'd just spent on two textbooks.
you: running by, long brown hair wet with sweat and a blank white tee in the same state, gray shorts. not my type at all but appealing in the silly, athletic college boy type of way. in my heart i am just a college student, no matter how hard i try to be more. you see me and you look back. i see you seeing me though i can't believe you do - i feel immemorable. you stop, seeing me see you, and walk back in my direction. i look away because i can't believe your gaze is meant for me. discouraged, you continue running. i am always rejecting someone's affection, and it always sends them running.
at the rooftop club in a fancy hotel.
me: coming from a sorority semi-formal, feeling exhausted and relieved to finally be somewhere more in my element. wearing a tight, sparkling gold dress with cut outs in the back, fuck me stilettos that i finally found an excuse to wear. there is hairspray in my hair, for one of the two or three occasions a year that i will care enough to do it.
you: looking extremely androgynous, 90s boy-next-door hair that is cropped for a woman but long for a man, wearing a powder blue sweater with a modest v-neck and square frame glasses. offering to buy my friend and i who are standing, contemplating, a drink.
we walk to the bar, you pull out your wallet, i tell you no - it's fine, you don't have to, i've got it. you tell me not to worry and i believe that i shouldn't because you're holding a crisp new $100 bill. you buy two - a vodka cran each for me and sam. we stay to talk to you for a while, being boring on purpose because your friend is very drunk and out of it and because we do not want to give you the wrong impression but can't say so out loud, and want to lose your interest instead. but i have always been attracted to androgynous women, and i wish that i could stay to talk to you without my friend thinking differently, and i am surrounded by 20 other of our closest friends for a birthday party. you ask for my number should we get separated and not find one another before you go out to smoke a cigarette. you tell us you have a nice penthouse suite and that we should party in it. you are only in town for the week and i do not see you again.
i text you the next morning, shyly, and tell you that i enjoyed meeting you. "yeah," you say. "we should all hang out again soon."
i immediately begin thinking of excuses as to why sam can't come, leaving out the only true explanation, that i am attracted to you but don't want sam to know i am half gay because it would inexplicably change our relationship even though she "wouldn't care." i plan to tell you that sam can't come because she lives out of town, but i would love to see you again tonight.
i end up not texting you back at all.