It's the Wednesday a.m. rush.
He's standing in a lurching, crowded subway car, packed like sardines in a can. No -- packed like sardines in a "tin" and in the "tube." He'll never keep it straight. He's an American in London for six months to get a play he wrote, up and on a small theater's stage. Which, for him, is both a big deal and not a big deal.
His age is difficult to tell. He looks so boyish-young the year sum can only be misleading. While in his head, where the real life's taking place, there are no weeks or months or years. No winter solstice celebration. No vernal equinox. No sky and no horizon. Just a tiny space with a constant-flashing lightening storm of link-link interaction, where everything that happens to his sensual apparatus, and that of others that he learns of, now and in the past, is in a constant state of flash and link, filter, sort and query, in the kind of chemical-electrical database that Google can only dream of.
His personal database likes London, but in a North American way -- fish and chips with ketchup, pints of Guinness frosty cold, long slow showers, baked beans in a bowl and not a sandwich.
He met her Wednesday on the train. He's in the center aisle. Knapsack hanging off a shoulder, arm around an aisle pole, looking at a magazine. It's summer. He's wearing gray cotton chinos, a short-sleeve polo shirt and ancient, bleached-out canvas running shoes with socks. He's reading a short story about a girl who's on a voyage of self-discovery. He likes stories that involve our personal Magellans.
The car lurches and he feels the girl's breasts brush against his arm. She smells fresh. Not cologne or perfume. More like bath soap, or hair shampoo, deodorant, or all three. Whatever it is, it's subtle, mild and beckoning. Like the first whiff of the ocean on a breeze, you catch a mile from the shore.
He keeps looking at the magazine. She moves off his arm. Then the car lurches back and he feels her chest again. Her breasts are small and cushy-soft. The car sways back, but this time she doesn't move away. She stays there, her body lightly pressed against his arm. Familiar and nonthreatening. Friendly, in an open, "hi, there, isn't this fun" way.
He turns his head and quick glances at her. She's looking down the car. She's in a summer dress and sandals. Little or no makeup, cute without the glitter. The kind of face you'd kiss as soft and slow as possible.
He looks back at his magazine. He's not reading. He's cataloging what he feels. Through the thin cotton of her summer dress, the softness of a breast and hardened nipple, rubbing on his arm. In his boxers, the beginning of a redirected blood flow, where the sleeping noodle starts to swell into a semi-soft appendage, as he feels the wetness building at the hole.
He wonders what she's thinking, feeling. What the early stages of a turn-on are like for her. Then the train begins to slow as the conductor announces the next stop on the line. His stop.
People begin jostling, moving for the doors. She leans back. He grabs the pole below waist-high, for balance, and glances at her face again. Their eyes meet just before she's jostle-pressed against the pole. Almost face-to-face, he feels her mons press hard against the knuckles of his hand, the soft edges of her labia squeezed against her underpants, through the cotton dress.
He's watching her face as she does a quick, half inhale. Her body stiffens slightly, eyelids briefly close then reopen in a long blink. Then she leans back and off his hand, looking at his face again. There's something deeper in her smile, now. Like the look when arousal's eager to keep going to its final destination.
The train has stopped. He looks away and starts turning toward the door, then looks at her again. She's reaching out. In her hand is a torn-off slip of paper with something written down in pen. He sees the email address, takes the paper, smiles again, then realizes she has no pen in either hand. She must have written this note earlier, perhaps before getting on the train.
Then he's caught up, like a fish in school, in the stream of people passing out the train car door and across the station platform. He works his way to the outside of the stream, stops and looks back near the stairs, watching as the train pulls out and the red lights on the rear disappear into the tunnel.
He'll keep his fingers on the email note that's in his pocket as he rides the escalator and walks down Charles to The Bagel Works. There, on a tall stool at a narrow counter near the window, he'll take the torn note out and store the email add, the experience, the girl, in the front part of his database.
20090624 07:37 Wed (837 words)