Late twenties. He sits near the front of the streetcar, always on the left seat of a pair; he will shift his boot out of the way if I stare at it. Tall, broad in the shoulders, exceptional posture. Dark brown hair cut very short, and a stoic, attractive face. By the look of his clothes, he works in construction, or hydro: something bright orange crisscrossed with bright reflective yellow tape, a jacket or ridiculous coveralls; something a drab shade of green, a coat or trousers; and boots peeling over the toes. Now that temperatures have dipped below zero, he's added a baseball cap.
At Queen Station, we part our ways; he heads north, while I wait for the southbound train. It's a little maddening to see a person only a bit at a time, for twenty minutes a day.
I have promised to myself that I will say good morning one of these days.
I did not. So I wrote today:
You (hydro worker?) took the Queen westbound car every morning in the dead cold of winter. It was usually the car conducted by the driver with the impressive moustache.
You wore bright orange overalls, and went to the Tim's for a coffee -- a large double-double. I admired the way you defied the severe temperature drops by adding nothing more cozy than a baseball cap to your get-up. Sometimes you held the door open for me; I wish I had done the same for you, instead of less cheekily mumbling "thank you."
I was the Asian girl who boarded at Leslie, made nervous eye contact, and wistfully waited for the southbound train while watching you on the opposite side of the station. I wished I had said something, but by the time -- late December -- I had worked up the nerve, you had disappeared ... for good, it seems. I'm still commuting in the dark, but miss your pants brightening up the landscape.
Might I buy you that morning coffee sometime?
It was mostly a ploy to get him to say "fetish."
Him: It's so weird that every girl goes through that taking pictures of feet phase. Why?
Me: I don't do that anymore.
Him: There's no use denying it.
Me: I can try.
Him: You can try ... I'll just pop my head in to job interviews and other important first impressions and say, "You know she used to take pictures of her FEET??"
Him: Then mouth the word "fetish."
Me: FUCK YOU!
That night, I cried over the sink, so my tears would drain neatly away.
It was perfectly round, twice its usual size. Its colour was a pale, buttery yellow so savoury I had a wish that I could taste with my eyes and see with my tongue; and so delicate that it made the white light of the streetlamps look neither pure nor clean, but stark and garish. Racing west, I saw it sank lower and lower, and so low I thought it would certainly smash into the earth, and extinguish forever.
GIRLS WITH MONOCLES!
I was sitting in the streetcar, absent-mindedly glancing over my fellow passengers, the majority of them happening to be male, when the realization hit me. I was surrounded by cock.
Cock swathed in two (or one, for the commando man) layers of cloth, cotton or linen or denim or corduroy or silk or leather ... but it was all material immaterial to me. Warm, soft, relaxed, silky cock tucked comfortably between each man's legs in the car, none of them quite thinking about it, so natural and ordinary was the possession of such beautiful, tantalizing objects.
This was a fascinating development.
I willed myself to look innocent, so sure that if I didn't, one of them would notice my face, point an accusing finger at me, and cry out, "She knows! GET HER!"
In Jarhead, when the group of sweaty, overheated Marines ripped off their clothes amid crazed screams of "field fuck!" and began humping and grinding in a simulated gay orgy on the barren desert plain, all to the sweet, humpin' strains of "Gonna Make You Sweat", it occurred to me at that moment, that at some point, my mind must have had quietly ceased watching the actual film and deftly spliced in a spool of my most cherished daydreams instead, just as a surprise.
Let us live and love,
not listening to old men's talk.
Suns will rise and set
long after our little light
has gone away to darkness.
Kiss me again and again.
Let me kiss you a hundred times,
a thousand more, again a thousand
without rest, losing count,
so no one can speak of us and say
they know the number of our kisses.
- Gaius Valerius Catullus, "Vivamus mea Claudia."
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.
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