Strangers on a Metrorail

“You make movies, don’t you?”

Her voice carried familiarity rather than curiosity, particularly for such a strange question. This was Washington after all, not Hollywood. And it was the metrorail right at the calm before rush hour, not a party where questions like that may make one more memorable to others.

This girl knew me. She had to. I just didn’t know that yet.

“Yes. I do.” I looked at her and rifled through every memory that could match her blond curls and lichen eyes and left-cheek beauty mark with a name.

“And, is your friend still curing cancer?”

She knew me and she knew Moose and she clearly remembered our opening lines of a play called Two twenty-two-year-old bachelors go to Washington. Great. That narrows it down to a faceless crowd as numerous as congress.

“No, my friend’s running Canada now.”

“Wow. Time flies.”

Who the hell are you?

“Five years. Maybe six.”

She grinned and giggled, taking in the truth and brushing some hair off her face, deftly placing it behind her ear with classic grace.

That was flirting. Six years too late.

“I’m Emily. We met at Hawk & Dove way back when.”

I do remember Hawk & Dove. I always will. One must always remember walking through the Underworld—particularly that special ring of hell reserved for Capitol Hill interns, GW juniors, and Georgetown sinners. Laws had been written and broken at Hawk & Dove, and so had my spirit way back when.

“I remember now.”

Not you though.

I remembered the smell of cigarettes and young adult ennui. I remembered the darkness, ever so slightly ravaged by strove lights. I remembered the loudness that rendered the world and inner demons all silent. Hades and Lucifer themselves would have dreaded that place.

“We had fun that night.” A devilish smile hinted at her lips. “At least the part I can remember.”

That night we had met, talked, drunk. Perhaps connected. Fun had not found us that night.

I remembered how we had to yell pleasantries and introductions into each other’s ears. The rest was a story in frames and fragments. A filmmaker and a communications major. An adopted Texan and a fugitive Californian. Compliments. Jokes. Dreams. Promises. Flirty looks and filthy lies.

Then came the dancing, the grinding, the whispers, the groping, and the escape—all with another guy. One hour of connection trumped and belittled by a minute of bewitching. True intentions always betray us by bludgeoning hopes and expectations.

I left too, in the company of my solitude and searching for a fight. That night I felt so hollow that I yearned to feel pain if only to confirm my humanity. Yet violence had eluded me all the way home and to the realm of Morpheus. Fun had not found me that night.

“If you’re in town this weekend, maybe we could catch up some more.” Her body spoke the subtext of her words.

“Isn’t it pretty to think so.” And I left the train at my station, remembering never to look back.

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