Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Lost and Lonely Girl

Dispatches from Toronto. 

She was a woman, not a girl, probably early twenties. But she was a girl because I am an old man and she spoke with a hint of a baby's accent. 

I've never appreciated that way in which some women try to sound sexy, that clunky adult imitation of soft and sweet. 

It was in the AM. I thought I was cycling home faster than Yeager in the X1 but couldn't have been faster than sound because I heard her call out to me as I zipped past. I slammed on the brakes. I turned to see a lone girl on the sidewalk, waving. There had been recent sexual assaults in this neighbourhood. A disgusting blemish on our polite (but not friendly) city. It was time to be an ambassader for the polis. 

She was drunk as a skunk and lost. Sorry, little scavengers  it rhymes. For the record, I have never seen a skunk take one lateral step for every two steps forward. 

The girl told me she was lost and asked if I had a lighter. I did not. She told me her name. I'm guessing that she was a University student. We'll call her Jenga because she would wobble like that precarious block tower. Also, that nickname will keep this story light. It would not be if she were family. Even now, I feel detached and amused.

She was looking for an intersection that she was heading away from. It was only a ten minute stroll but she seemed uncertain. We started walking together. "You're going to walk me home," she smiled. 


"Do you have a lighter?" I still did not. We walked along the street and she, tipsy, began to sing my praises. I wondered, if she fell, would I have to drop the bike or could I catch them both.

She laughed loudly and asked about my day. I asked about her night. She named some bars and made it clear that she had many friends. She asked if I had a lighter. Then she held my hand, smiling like a goof. 

We walked and talked and she asked if I wanted to come over and watch a horror movie. I said it would depend on which one. She described something with a little girl in it. We agreed that little girls are terrifying.  She asked if I had a lighter. I told her that she had asked that four times and I did not. She looked at me like we have all looked at an adult who did the "got your nose" trick. We knew our noses were fine but there was that adult holding their fist in a peculiar way, waiting for a laugh. Why was this funny? We walked on.

"Will you cuddle with me?" she asked. I laughed.

"Jenga, you don't know me."

"I know you stopped your bike to help me. I know we're holding hands. I know you like horror movies." She did know me very well. I wanted her to add, "I know you don't have a lighter... do you?" I played a hunch.

"You broke up?"

"Yes," she said. I figured it out because I remembered how badly I wanted a body next to me in bed after my break up. How nice it was to hold someone who wanted you there. This isn't an allusion to sex. I'm talking about lying next to another explorer to share heat in the cold. I'm talking about break-ups are the cruelest season and you've got to keep moving because if the snow settles on you you're done.

We were at her street and she released my hand, ran-stumbled across the street to two young men sitting on the curb. Maybe two of her many friends. My hand cooled off in the fall night. How fleeting love is, I thought. She came back to me. "They don't have a lighter." She walked up her lawn. I stopped at the sidewalk. She turned and came back.

"Let's watch a horror movie."

"No, thanks."

"We can cuddle. We can find all sorts of things to do," she said in a baby voice.

"You're drunk," I said, "and I am sober." I tried to dilute it by saying it with a hint of boring poem.

I failed. She looked irritated. Disgusted. As if I had taken a perfectly good book and printed another book on top of it so now you couldn't enjoy Bel Canto or 1984. "You're an intense person," she concluded.

That made me laugh. "You know me very well." I said.

I watched her open the front door and go inside. I called after her with a joke about a lighter that neither of us understood. She was gone.

I stood and watched the house. I wondered if I would admire a man who chose to follow her inside. A man who would lay beside her in bed. He would be fully-clothed, shoes still on and spooning her. She would pass out immediately and dream of melted snow. 

It's all in the motive, I thought. If you do it for selfish reasons it's repulsive. But if you do it because you understand what someone needs and you're there to help... maybe that's a man I could admire. But I'm selfish with my body. I only want to share it with the interesting and the beautiful. I had no idea about this woman's voting record or her ability to write. 

I biked home.


Anonymous said...

I admire you. And this story.

ray ban wayfarer said...

westbrook jersey
kevin durant jersey
Serge Ibaka Jersey
Needless to say, our homecoming was very sad. After, I think, only one night in London we came to Ditchingham, where I found my two little girls dressed in black and — a grave.I began to write “Eric Brighteyes,” the saga which was the result of my visit to Iceland