I saw her when I was getting off the subway. Hanging around with a bunch of other kids from the school. They’re fucking obnoxious. The way they stand right in front of the subway steps, just to block everyone’s way. I usually keep my head down and stare at the top of my briefcase. The numbers staring up at me on the little dials, 6-8-4, I always forget to turn them; with the combination displayed anyone could get into my things. Not that there is anything of particular interest inside.
But back to her.
This day I did not look down. I was feeling particularly pissed about all these kids in my way. Why couldn’t they hang out just a few feet away? So I wouldn’t have to bust through them like I’m playing football? I don’t want to touch you; I certainly don’t want your overly gelled hair rubbing against my suit or any part of my skin. Their cell phone rings were loud and whenever they did talk on the phone it was always on speaker, turned up loud, million conversations all going on at once. Cheetos bags crumpling, gum being chewed loudly between fat lips, trash everywhere. Urban trash.
And that’s when I noticed her. As I neared the last step she was leaning against the metal handrail, her socks pushed down, her skirt pulled up and her hair between her fingers. Her skin and her eyes were off by only a few shades of brown, but complimentary. Her hair was thick and black. Her long eyelashes fanned out from her large almond eyes. And as my foot landed on the top step I was completely enthralled with her. I’m not a pervert or anything. But I’m also single and I guess maybe a little lonely. And the way she worked that school uniform. I’d never seen a girl look so good in a tie. Loosened around her neck, her collar lazily drooping towards her shoulders.
It looked like she’d worn that uniform out. The way I imagined she would talk and walk circles around me until I was dizzy. And I hadn’t even heard her voice. I didn’t need her fifteen-year-old hands to help me masturbate. Just imagining all of the things we could do to one another was enough for me. Each night I would pick a fantasy off the shelf and allow myself just long enough to divulge in our darkest of secrets.
So I started hanging around the subway stop. My attitude towards the obnoxious kids, who had previously blocked my way, had completely changed. I watched all of them from the safety of San Marcos Pizzeria across the street from the subway. But still I looked somewhat out of place, sitting on a greasy stool facing the window. I would buy a can of soda and stare. I tried to be discreet. Sometimes hoards of kids would come in and get $1.50 slices, but it was never her. She seemed to belong to a group of kids that were too good for pizza and giggles. She hung around with two boys. They were all so deeply Puerto Rican; they made me feel like I didn’t belong on the street next to them- thick accents and immigrated mothers waiting at home. Hot meals in cramped kitchens, food I’d never heard of and wouldn’t be able to pronounce.
I looked through the smeared glass out onto the street. She leaned against the brick wall. The two boys were punching each other lightly and shouting out to her. She seemed unenthused. This was the first time we made eye contact. She loosened her tie while she stared at me. Elbowed one of her boy friends and he glanced my way. She licked her lips. Was she flirting with me? I got hard just from the thought. Embarrassed, I walked the twenty-three blocks home that day. Thought I might explode if I walked too close to her.
It was like that for a full week. I would sit in the pizzeria and wait for her and her two friends to come ambling up the block. I would watch her and she would consciously avoid my eyes, until we shared a single glance and I would immediately spin around on my stool, leave the shop, make my first right and walk all those blocks home. It was a consistent exhilaration.
That Friday we made our usual eye contact. I felt myself rise up through my pants and I bolted for the door. I guess I was ashamed. But this time, I felt her eyes following me. I could feel her pupils constrict around my torso, follow my pant leg down to my custom-made Italian leather wing tip shoes. I’m not an unattractive man, I thought. I could treat her better than her father could (didn’t they all have terrible fathers?). I could give her more; I could do more for her. The sidewalk blurred under my feet. I had already made the first right and was three blocks away, just twenty more to go. I heard footsteps behind me; I could feel eyes on my back. I simultaneously prayed it was her and that it wasn’t. I was afraid to face my fantasy head on. What if she rejected me, but then why would she be following me? She wants me, the thought made me hard once again and I slowed my pace a little as I changed my gait to compensate for the bulge in my pants.
The footsteps stopped short. Oh my god, I’m such an idiot, it’s probably just someone walking home from work or the mail man, it’s not her following me to my apartment so she can ask me to conquer her. I was mortified. I went soft. I relaxed my shoulders. I turned my head to meet my fate and felt the fist connect to my jaw. A loud pop resounded through my skull as I hit the pavement. My eyes rolled into the back of my head and things went black, and when the colors reappeared I tried to get a grip on what was up and what was down. I could feel the concrete beneath my shoulder and I felt a hand rummaging through my left pocket. My eyes locked on a familiar face, one of her little boy friends with a grim smile on his face.
“Aye white man. That’ll teach you to look at my girl you fucking freak,” he said quietly, while he grabbed my wallet and my cell phone from my pocket.
“Thas not what this is about,” she shouted over to the boy. When she spoke my eyes followed her voice, she was about 6 feet away, watching, shuffling her feet and looking up and down the street. Her voice was even more stunning than I imagined. I stared at her in awe.
“What the fuck man, you’re gettin’ jumped here, look at me,” the boy said as he turned my already swelling face toward his. He took out a knife and held it against my throat. “Do you want to die?” He dragged out the last syllable and it sounded like a song. I craned my neck so I could see her.
“Les go, I have to be home, I don’t have time for this bullshit,” she said. “Just grab his shit and les go, now.” She wanted to save me. She did want me. Her hand was on her tie. She was tugging on it nervously. The knife cut slightly into the thin skin of my neck.
“You got anything else? A computer, an ipod? You’re rich right?” He asked me. I ignored him, staring at her legs and the way her pleated skirt grazed her thighs. I was taking her in from a sideways angle and it made her look better, or maybe just different. She was a goddess.
He picked up my briefcase and kicked me in the gut. As quickly as the knife had been pressed against my throat it was gone, folded into his jacket pocket, I imagined. My eyes stayed trained on her, even as the pain ricocheted through my body. He turned his back on me, threw his arm around her and they turned away. I watched her from behind. I watched her skirt move against her hips. I imagined the way the scratchy cotton would feel against my palms if I pulled the skirt up to her waist, pushed her white panties down and plunged deeply into her. I was hard again, fuck. The pain crashed through me and everything went black.