The new intrusions into the once empty space and my whispered, "damn," caused the man to look up at me. Our eyes met briefly, but I could sense the smile behind his eyes, though he did not wear it on his face. Once settled, I pulled out the latest John Grisham book and started to read from my dog eared book marked page. The man across from me had also returned to his newspaper article but I could feel his thoughts on me and it alerted my attention.
I drew one leg over the other and crossed it at the knee quite in the exaggerated pose of a celebrity tv guest. My legs were bare and smooth, and my high heels called more attention to their length and firmness. I wore a charcoal grey pencil skirt that accentuated my flat stomach and rounded thighs. One red toenail peeked out from my peekaboo pumps and I was glad to see that my pedicure was still in place.
Alll New York City subways are noisy and bumpy, and the IRT was no exception. Occasionally, the train jolted, sending me leaning to my left or right, which in turn caused me to unwrap my legs and plant them flat on the ground for balance. Without making eye contact, I could feel the man's averted eyes peering into the dark triangle between my skirt and my thighs. Like laser beams, his eyes scanned my legs as I slowly draped one over the other to return to my practised pose. I could feel my breasts swell beneath my white silk shirt, and I lifted them just slightly so that the top of my decolletage was more pronounced.
On page 53 in my book, Grisham was narrating a love scene, and for a second I closed my eyes and imagined it was me and this man. The man in front of me was dressed like a Wall Street executive, and it was most likely that he was a broker of some sorts. Was it stocks? Bonds? Logistics? I didn't know, and yet I felt I knew him.. His square fingernails had been clipped and buffed to a pleasing shine. He had blue eyes and short cropped white hair with an extremely handsome youthful face that reminded me of Anderson Cooper. I wondered if he was gay, but then I looked down at his left hand and saw his wedding band. A simple gold band.
The wedding ring threw me, and I pulled myself together thinking I couldn't possibly flirt with a married man. Yet I couldn't help it as his sneaky glances energised me. Twice we made direct eye contact; neither smiling, both knowing. Twice we were drawn back to our reading material. I wondered what he was reading, as he never turned a page. And what good was the Wall Street Journal in the evening anyway? Twice I had to reread page 53: the same love scene, and I found my tongue slowly licking my upper lip as my mind had escaped into the erotic scene.
This last time my eyes were drawn to the edge of his newspaper that buckled on his lap. Slowly I tried to read the text from bottom to top, as if I were reading Hebrew, and eventually our eyes met over the top of the newspaper. We held our gaze, and a nervous hand went up to push my hair behind my ear, though my hair had been tidily braided down my back. Without breaking the gaze, I could see as the bottom of the newspaper moved as of it's own volition, and a nervous smile crossed my lips. He eventually dragged his eyes away, coughing from somewhere behind the newspaper.
All too soon, the loud speaker interrupted our moment and the conductor began announcing the connecting trains; signaling his stop. He started to gather his things together; a briefcase that I hadn't noticed,and a small shopping bag. Right then I had the wildest desire to get off the train with him. I wanted to ask him his name. I wanted to invite him for a drink. I wanted to have dinner and go back to his apartment. I wanted to kiss him and smell him. I wanted to do what the girl in the Grisham story did to the young lawyer that she was in love with. And yet I knew, I would never approach him. He was married, and I didn't cross that line, and I hoped that neither did he.
Reluctantly, it seemed, he pulled himself up as the train pulled into the station. His dress was immaculate and spoke of wealth though it was not ostentatious. He was much younger than his white hair, not even forty, but he exuded confidence and success. I felt I would have fallen in love with him, if he had driven all the way to East Harlem with me. I heard the lock release as the doors started to open, and my seat mate walked forward and held on to the pole next to me. His thick wedding band clanked against the metal of the smooth pole and I couldn't help but fix my eyes on it.
Suddenly the doors slid opened and in a hurried instant his blue eyes sought mine, and then he smiled slipping his calling card into my hand. I had to take it. I wanted to touch him, and yet I felt guilty and disappointed. I had wanted him to be perfect. I had wanted to believe that not all men cheat; and I was determined never to call him. The door closed and he was gone. I was no longer interested in reading, so I slipped the business card between page 53 and 54, and was just about to close the book when I noticed he had written on it. On the back of the card it said "God you're lovely." On the front he had crossed out all the identifying information except his first name, Rob, under that he had written, " but I'm married."
Copyright © 2014 SArthur~All Rights Reserved
On The Uptown IRT