i saw you near the bus stop at wales street and lee avenew
i was the girl in the dark red cords and the holly hobby sweater and clogs. the kind that make that cool clip clop clip clop sound against the sidewalk. it was monday. or tuesday? i was wearing my pink ballet tights and my black leotard under my clothes for dance lessons after school so yep it was definitely tuesday. the clouds looked like my grandma’s hair all gray and poofy as i walked to the bus stop all by myself. Mommy says im getting to be such a big girl. she still reads to me at night and tucks me in and i don’t care what the mean girls say i like it.
you were the one with the messy brown hair poking everywhichaway out of your baseball cap and driving real slowlike in your dusty white van. you kept waving at me with your cigarette hand to come over psst psst but mommy told me never to talk to strangers so that’s why I ran to the neighbor’s house and rang the bell.
i just wanted to tell you that smoking is bad for you and you should probably quit.
To the friendly man at the intersection of McArthur and University / W4M
You: A guy, maybe 35, 40-years-old, wearing acid-washed jeans and a ZZ Top t-shirt, crew cut hair, pumping gas into your tan hatchback. The summer sky was popsicle blue. Classic rock, I think, was squeezing through a crack in your passenger side window.
Me: A girl (a woman?), mid-20s, in white jeans shorts and a cherry red tunic with a Peter Pan collar. I picked it up at The Limited on clearance. I was cleaning all the takeout bags from my floorboards and trying to vacuum out my car before the time ran out. When will I ever remember to bring enough quarters to get the job done?
If you thought I was staring at you over the roof of my car, I wasn’t. I was looking past you at an orange tabby scratching around in the dumpster. Perhaps that is why you thought it was a good time to wave and say, “Hey there. When are you due?”
“Oh, I, ummm, February?” I smiled—all of my teeth showing, gums too. I can’t remember what you said or did after that, but I thought you should know:
I was not pregnant and I smile when I’m uncomfortable.
I’ve seen you so many times hanging around the neighborhood, but I’m always too scared… / W4M
Friday night around 10 p.m. I was the one in the bathroom trying to sing high like Mariah Carey—Keep feeling emo-tions, deeper than I ever dreamed of, ah-ah-ahah, ah-ah-ahah, ah-ah-ahah—leg up on the soap dish shaving, you know, down there, before my boyfriend arrived. You were the one with the dirty blonde ponytail, thick eyebrows, and five o’clock shadow standing against the wall, all quiet.
A few minutes later I was the one prancing around my studio apartment in a towel belting show tunes into my hairbrush (but not too loudly because the windows were up) trying to figure out what to wear—the pink lace number or the shorty pajamas. They were both probably going to end up on the floor anyway, so I don’t know why I thought it mattered so much.
You were the one who my next door neighbor saw use the workmen’s ladder to climb onto the wide ledge outside our windows. You were the one she called the police about but didn’t tell me, didn’t tell anyone else, just played dead like a possum under her futon. You were the one she said matched all the flyers on the telephone poles: Wanted for Rape 1, Probable Cause to Arrest. You were the one—right before the cops rolled up with their heavy-belted swagger—that got away.
*A missed connection is a type of personal advertisement which arises after two people meet but are too shy or otherwise unable to exchange contact details. The Missed Connections section of Craigslist gets thousands of ads of this type every month for cities such as New York and San Francisco. —Wikipedia
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