Seemingly out of nowhere, Electric Blue Running Shoes texts me,Hey do you remember kissing me what it was like?
It is tempting to text back,How about you refresh my memory?
But that would be a bad idea.
Also a cliché.
So instead I ignore him.
For about two hours.
(Electric Blue is not one to be ignored.)This is important. Do you have a specific memory of kissing me?
Really, Electric Blue? It is important that I respond to a text out of left field regarding a kiss we shared last winter?
The elevator doors open to reveal a man on the seventh floor jogging in place. I feel like he should be embarrassed. I know for certain that I am embarrassed for him. But he is somehow oblivious, immune. And he unashamedly just high knees it into the elevator, turns, and continues jogging in place as the doors close.
I watch his nervous dancing feet as I consider how well the steel cables might handle this bouncing force. He’s wearing electric blue Asics with white stripes. They look freshly bought. There is something so sweet about them, and it’s ridiculous. The whole thing. It makes me feel suspiciously happy inside.
I glance up at the jogger’s bobbing face, his own eyes turned toward the rotating lit numbers above. I give him the chance to look at me. Blatantly staring now. He doesn’t.
And I think, “Oh no, I’m going to do it again, aren’t I?”
I start to feel sick, and my heart starts to hop in my chest almost as if getting in sync with his stupid feet.
And I reach sideways and take his hand in mine to get his attention, and ludicrously he continues jogging in place as he turns to me. And I say, “I am going to kiss you now,” in much the tone of a doctor saying, “This is going to sting a little.”
I put my hand up to his still-bouncing cheek and do my best to hold him steady. But it isn’t until my mouth touches his that he slows down at all and it isn’t until he realizes that my hips are a great place for a man’s hands that he comes to a complete stop.
The elevator door dings and I pull away and slide my thumb across his bottom lip, because it is something I have seen done in the movies. And then I walk out of the elevator with my head screaming so loudly, “DON’T FOLLOW ME DON’T FOLLOW ME DON’T FOLLOW ME” that I can’t believe he doesn’t hear it.
Later, in his hotel room, straddling him on the divan thing, I pull back a moment from his soft kisses and look down at him. My loose hair hangs long in my face, the best place for hiding in the world. He takes his fingers and parts it, like curtains. Opening night. Starring an unknown.
I pull a smile that I can feel is tinged with a bit of sadness, and he looks at me so forlornly that for a moment I worry he is going to think he is in love with me.
But instead, “My wife just left me,” he says.
And suddenly I am the ridiculous one jogging in place in the elevator.
“Oh,” I respond. I arch my back and search out his left hand to see if I missed a sign that I shouldn’t have, but it’s bare.
Placing my hands on his shoulders for balance, I start to remove myself from his lap. But he solidly grips my knees and stops me.
“Is that all you’re going to say?”
I search the caverns of my intelligence for anything else that might wish to present itself.
So I nod my head. Yes.
He lifts his face to the ceiling and exhales largely.
“More than half of marriages end in divorce,” he tells me, and I try to figure out what to do with these statistics.
And now, “The odds are not good.”
I want to go home.
He looks at me again. Touches my neck lightly with his fingertips.
“I like your dog collar,” he mentions, absently.
“It’s not a…um…it’s called a choker,” I say, touching the leather band encircling my neck.
Not long after that, I see myself out.
On my way, I catch sight of his bright blue running shoes, nestled carefully by the front door, side by side. And it’s heartbreaking, somehow.
The housebrokenness of it.