In Sight

The sky was cloudy. Or at least I assumed it was because there were no stars. The air was light though, so if I hadn't looked up I would have thought it was clear. It felt like there was nothing up there - no clouds, no moon, no atmosphere. Our little city, maybe even the street, was a lone presence in a surrounding emptiness.

I was on an outdoor second story deck of a coffee shop, looking down. Everything and everyone seemed like toys in some big and unreal game where I knew something they didn't. People watching is a passion pretty much everyone has, but I don't know if many have really thought it through. I mean, I could sit somewhere and watch a person for a while who could then end up in my thoughts or a story doing all kinds of crazy stuff. And who knows if theyUve been thought of late at night, defiled in a dark corner of a lonely mind. Very likely you wouldn't want to know. I thought about that while I sat on that deck. I considered all the girls walking by, whom I watched intently, and wondered in that beautiful way if any of them ever thought of me without my knowing it.

But enough. I had exhausted this masturbation. My mind cleared of such thoughts as I quickly descended the stairs and stepped onto the sidewalk. The cool air still had that light quality, but there was a new heaviness - not in the air itself, but in the surroundings. A pressure, a build up of emotion that I could practically taste as I sank into it.

At the time I was sure it was the city. Now that I was level with everyone else, their games that had seemed so silly were mine too. Their feelings and impulses lingered like smells. As strong as any physical remainder was the psychological residue of closeted desires, bottled anger, and self-questioning. Now, I am not so sure. It may have just been me - my own build up of ignored emotions surfacing, possibly even aware at some level of what I was going to do.

The new heaviness only slowed me for a few seconds, and I was soon moving briskly. At the very edges of my field of view I caught curious glances aimed at me, before they disappeared out of my sight and thoughts. I walked very purposefully, every stride long and straight. While my head remained almost perfectly still, my eyes moved slowly back and forth from one side to the other.

Until I saw her I hadn't known what I was seeking, and I still didnUt know why. She was about twenty feet in front of me, walking in the same direction. Her hair was long and blond, and it had a pleasant waviness. Her shirt was tight and white, low cut in a circular fashion, and her cutoff jean shorts were even more revealing. The skin on both her shoulders and legs was light brown, tanned for her complection.

I advanced, tapped her exposed left shoulder, and moved to the right. She looked left, and finding no one there, turned. I was standing there with a big smile. I don't know how it seemed to her - it could have been full of malice, or embarrassment, but probably excitement.

"Hi." I said confidently, even a bit arrogantly.

"Hi." She replied. She was smiling in a curious way. Her lips and eyes both only half welcoming, waiting expectantly. I could see that being approached by strange guys wasnUt completely foreign to her.

"How's it going?"

"Fine." She started to say something else, but I cut her off.

"I thought about you last night." I said with a knowing and inviting smile. My temples throbbed slightly, and a little extra blood flowed and put pressure on my eyes. The light of the street lamps and coffee shops and the smell of the cigarettes seemed to pulse too - the collective rise and fall of the people, the city breathing softly, expectantly.

"I was at..." She started, then stopped. Her smile wilted a little, losing its full color and shape.

"I thought of us together," My voice came from right in between my ears and swirled around my head like cigarette smoke around a candle. "I loved the way we fit, sharing the long soft grass and the hazy moonlight. I loved just sitting close and laughing at the squirrels, crying with the falling leaves, sinking into each other."

"How... I.... I don't even know you." Her voice skipped and crackled like an old record player. Every word she spoke had the effect of a finger passing through that candle's flame.

"I've watched you, watched your movements flow, wanting them to pour over and shower me, longing to immerse myself and wash away all loneliness." The smoke rose and swirled thickly. "I've listened to you, to your voice sail like a butterfly, wanted it to flutter by and land on me."

I closed my eyes. She slowly came closer until I wasnUt sure whose heart was pounding in my ears. She stretched her arms around me, clasping them at the top of my back like a pair of hands cupped to protect a flame from the wind, from the beer-stained breath of the people stumbling by. She kissed my flushed cheek, one red ember meeting another. She pressed our lips together, brushed them back and forth so that every part of her lips touched every part of mine. Then she opened her mouth slightly, exhaling warmly. Her breath was clean and sweet. She kissed me, and I kissed her back.

I opened my eyes. She was still standing a couple of feet away. Her smile had now disappeared, her lips merely pursed tightly together. Her wide eyes kept jumping back and forth, from me to other people on the street.

"I don't know you!" Blowing on the flame, she turned and walked away. I followed her, my temples throbbing stronger now, the whole city swelling and shriveling, the stores, the lights, the people, ballooning and deflating over and over. I followed her around a corner, and she started walking faster.

"Get away from me." The tremor in her voice frightened me. "I don't know you." She was almost running. My eyes ached. Everywhere the city swelled, my head swelled. I turned and moved towards the bushes, feeling like a water balloon having been dropped from the 14th floor, about to hit the ground.

I looked down at the street below, watching this girl pass in jean shorts and a tight white shirt, one piece in my games. I sipped my coffee, now cold, imagining all kinds of terrible and wonderful things.

Who knows, one of those people might have been you. Maybe not, but you can never be sure. I sat there under the contradictory sky, in our little city, our little street amidst a dark void, thinking and imagining. That's what I do.


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