I saw Myra again today. It was on the East side. What there is of one. She was sitting on a curb, drinking an iced coffee. Headphones in, looking intently at something on her phone as traffic whizzes by. This is so Myra. Just sitting down on a street that most would think is too dirty. She would never even be concerned that it makes her look like a gutter punk. You’ve got to respect that.
Today Myra is sleeveless, if you don’t count the tattoos. She also wears double leg warmers below her cutoff jean shorts, and they look good, on her. Myra’s the only one who can get away with that. The point is our paths crossed again, and I’ve convinced myself these instances don’t qualify as coincidences. They can’t anymore. I promised myself the next time it happened, I’d ask her out.
But there’s the person we always want to be: confident, strong, and without fear of any kind. Then there’s the person we happen to be: insecure, weak, and very, very afraid. Especially of rejection. If that were to happen all would be lost. When I say all, I’m referring to the illusion I’m desperately holding onto. If I asked her out and she said no, that would be it. I couldn’t carry this fantasy around anymore. That’s the worst case scenario. And it keeps me at bay for the time being.
I’ll try to avoid discussing what I witnessed last time I was at Central. Myra and Supervisor M, carrying on without any concern for the onlooking gawkers. Who they happen to work with. Does that mean it’s serious? Could be they’re trying too hard to overcompensate due to the strain of dating and working at the same place?
I’m also made anxious by the display of Supervisor M and blondie on the train. A sense of obligation conflicts with my personal interests and desires. In this way, he’s cheated me as well. However, it’s already been decided that I’ll do what needs to be done. And try to take the emotion out of it.
I’m mulling these things over while I pass behind Myra, trying to spy over her shoulder. I see that she’s looking at the map. Finding the quickest way to her destination. True dedication as always. She must have sensed me the fifth or sixth time, because she turned around to see me. I in turn, pretended it was my initial approach, smiling with my hand up. The smile comes easily and automatic. I really wanted to laugh for having been caught, but it’s crucial I play it off.
“I thought that was you,” I say, immediately wanting to punch myself in the face.
“Hey man, pop a squat,” she responds, offering some curb.
“Oh yeah?” I’m stalling. I don’t want to sit there, it’s so gross. Unable to refuse, I sit. As soon as I do, I remember that I’m on my first delivery of the day.
“How is it going?”
“I saw you at Central the other day,” I say.
“Oh yeah? Why didn’t you say hi?”
“Ah, you had your hands full.”
“That’s no reason.” she says, and checks something on her phone again. “Damn, I’ve only made five deliveries today so far. It’s a slow one.”
“Anything else new?” I ask, already knowing.
“Actually there is,” Myra says. I’m thinking here it comes. She’s going to joyfully rip my heart out, and throw it into traffic. I’ll try to count how many times it gets run over before I fall off the curb. “Just found out the guy I was seeing, was seeing other people.”
“That’s bogus, I’m sorry.” Really I’m so relieved. Now I won’t have to be the one to tell her. I definitely don’t want anymore details. It’s done, and will bother me no more. “You should probably just go out with guys like me,” I say out of nowhere.
“I’ll take that under advisement,” she says, giggling. “Probably need a break right now.” This is getting awkward. Okay, it already is awkward. I might as well push ahead.
“You wanna get a drink?” I ask, forgetting what time it is. “Like a coffee or something? It’ll keep you going.” Nice recovery.
“I could use something stronger. But I should get going.” She gets up, asking “Do you even have my number?” At this point, my hand seems to swell while my pant pocket shrinks. I can’t get my phone out fast enough. After what seems like forever I succeed. She grabs the phone and punches in her number, handing it back to me. “I put it under Best Courier Ever. So you can’t forget,” she says, giggling again.
“That’s neato.” I’m such a dumbass.
“Let’s hang sometime.” And she takes off on a bicycle. So there’s that, and her name. I don’t expect a third strike, and can’t worry about that now. If we were together, I don’t think I’d be ‘hanging’. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.
I’m walking away, having given up on a day’s earnings. There’s a smile on my face nonetheless. I’m feeling pretty good about myself for the next few blocks. Progress made. One step at a time. I grin dumbly at strangers. Also up at a couple of pigeons on a traffic pole. I think nothing of walking right underneath them. Then it hits me. Bird shit, all down my right side. I turn back for confirmation, which quickly becomes a desire for retribution. Soon it’s clear I won’t know how to accomplish that. They fly away, as if they can feel the negative energy returning swiftly in their direction.
I’ve heard it said that this can be good luck. Maybe those pigeons thought they were doing me a favor. I’m having trouble seeing it that way. How would it be good luck to get shit on? I grab whatever I can find to try and wipe it off. Nothing works of course. I’m frustrated, confused. Looking around to find somewhere or something to clean up, I catch my reflection in a storefront window. All I notice is that my grin persists.