“These fuckin’ shades”….
They started this whole damn thing in the first place……
He’d never forget the first time he saw her. It was late one afternoon after work, and he’d just come downstairs to the main lobby of the building to wait for his ride. He stopped three steps short of the main floor, to stare at his obstruction and his distraction. There she was, crouched down on the floor, digging frantically through her bag for something. The way she stooped caused her hair to fall all around her, and from his perspective, it looked like Lady Godiva had gotten off of her horse. He was speechless. It had to be at least a minute he was standing there, perfectly still, just staring. She found what she was looking for then stood up, finally noticing someone standing there, and that she’d been blocking their way. He’d never been more thankful for those shades.
She was wearing tiny cut off shorts and a white t-shirt that was long enough in the back to cover the shorts, but short in the front to glimpse just a bit of her belly. His eyes spanned the extent of her lean body, from the flat strappy sandals that conformed to her feet, to her legs that just went on and on, to her collar bone, to her lips, which he fixated on for a while to her eyes, then the top of her head. He glared behind his shades. He would not have been able to take all of her in that way, had he been without them. His mother did teach him that it was very impolite to stare, which he was doing and then some. She put her bag over her shoulder and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’, realizing that she’d prevented him from completely descending the stairs. She rushed out of the building immediately, and he quickly moved towards the door to see what direction she went. A black mustang with a driver that favoured her appearance, zoomed by a few seconds later.
He’d never seen her before, but he prayed he’d see her again. The following day around the same time, while he stood outside, he noticed that same woman, walking ahead towards the parking lot. Maybe his shift change to working in the day wasn’t so bad after all. He had certainly never even seen her once, when he was working from 6 pm til 2 am, so he decided to time his movements whenever he left, to see around what time he would run into her. It always seemed to be around 20 minutes after 5. For nearly 2 weeks he watched her, and tried to figure out where she worked, because her attire was all over the place. Some days she was dressed as if she should have been on the pages of a fashion magazine, wearing pencil skirts and pretty dresses, with some of the most incredibly sexy high heels he’d ever seen . She moved like Secretariat in them. He loved to watch the way her body swayed. Then some days it was short shorts, t-shirt, some things that were too casual for any office, regardless of how informal their dress code was. She still looked like she should been in a magazine, even when she dressed that way.There were several offices downstairs, so he had no clue where she went when she got there. He never saw her speak to anyone, and he barely spoke to anyone he worked with, so he didn’t know who to ask about her.
After about a month on the day shift, they’d graduated from longish glances, to head nods, to hellos. Then one day he worked up the nerve to say something to her while she emerged outside, to head to her car. She’d already started to walk ahead, but he just couldn’t take it anymore. He needed something more from her. Hello and have a good evening was definitely not enough. He walked up quickly behind her and touched her arm and said..
“Hi. Excuse me.’
When she turned around she was surprised by how close he was. He smelled wonderful. Her face was in the middle of his broad chest, so she angled her head up, with a puzzled expression, yet intrigued disposition. As usual, he was wearing his shades, but she thought his face was beautiful.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I just needed to know what your name was.” he sheepishly replied.
It felt a lot less urgent after he’d asked her.
She took a step back and smiled brightly.
“It’s Tarah. And you are…”
“It’s nice to meet you Alex. I’ll see you around.”
She turned again to walk away, then he instinctively grabbed her arm to prevent her from doing so. He was quick to let go when he noticed the WTF look she shot him.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. What company do you work for?” he asked feeling as if he was messing up badly.
“I work for myself. I have an office here. When I can’t get any work done at home, or have things that I can’t do from home, I come here.” It’s just a small office in the back.”
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I’m a writer and you?”
“I’m a computer technician. Well for now. I’m trying to figure out what I wanna do with the rest of my life.” he smiled sheepishly.
She smiled brightly, looking directly at him.
He sighed deeply…
“Can I call you sometime?”
Her smile softened, then she lowered her head….
“Call me for what?”
“I wanna get to know you better.”
Feeling ridiculously flattered, especially since she’d admired him from a distance, she immediately closed the door on what seemed to be a bit of a crush..
“I can’t. I have to go get my son. Besides, I don’t know if my husband would appreciate me getting to know you or you me.”
He felt as if he’d been drop kicked.
“Come again? You’re married?! You have a child?” he asked.
Tarah nodded in affirmation and showed him her left hand.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ….”
“Don’t be. I’ll see you around though. No worries ok.”
She sauntered off leaving him feeling gutted. He couldn’t believe it. How could he not notice her ring before? He felt as if he could’ve kicked himself. Funny thing though.., after that initial awkward conversation, they started talking to each other really well. It was always outside the building, when the sun was setting. The conversations went from 2 minutes, to ten minutes, to even a half hour sometimes, and sadly, the more they talked, the more he liked her and the more she liked him.
One afternoon, as he stood downstairs waiting for his ride, his cell phone rang. It was his friend telling him he wasn’t going to be able to pick him up, because he was having car troubles, but Alex suspected it was girlfriend troubles. Alex did not want to call his parents to come and get him, so he started his journey to the bus station. He couldn’t linger around that day to see her. With his hood over his head and his matrix shades fiercely in tact, he started walking. About 5 minutes into the walk, he heard the humming of an engine close behind him. When he looked back, it was the beautiful mustang with the beautiful girl.
“Where you goin’?” she asked.
“Home. I got stood up, so I have to take a bus today.”
“Want a lift to the bus station?”
“I’d appreciate that.” he responded.
The conversation on the way to the bus station was so good, that when she realized that they were almost there, she asked..
“Do you live far from here?”
He asked her what she considered far, then told her where he lived. Against her better judgment, she decided to take him all the way. They talked about silly things, serious things, a little bit about themselves, both seeming to skirt around anything that seemed like it would get too deep. Then there were moments of silence, when he listened to her eclectic musical taste on her car stereo and watched her handle her car like Dale Earnhardt. She was barefoot and her legs were exposed and glistening. He tried hard to keep his focus on the road or outside his passenger window, but he wasn’t doing too well. If he didn’t think she would smack the crap out of him and never speak to him again, he would have leaned over and licked from her knee caps, to the tightly covered space between her legs. If only she could read his mind. She probably would have never given him that ride home.
When they got closer to the more intricate parts of getting to his house, their vocal silence ended, with him telling her when to go left or right, then finally to pull over.
“Wow, your house is beautiful.” she said.
“Thank you, but it’s my parents.” he replied.
“Well it’s beautiful.”
There was an awkward silence, and she felt compelled to ask…
“You still live with your parents?”
He cringed at her tone.
“Yes, I live with my folks, but I’m not mooching off them or anything like that.” He laughed uncomfortably.
“You’re not?” she said laughing, noticing his discomfort
“No, I was actually ready to build my own home, but I couldn’t go through with it, because I didn’t know if I was ready to make such a serious commitment. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave my job, if I wanted to travel, if I want to pursue my masters. I ended a relationship about a year ago, and I’ve just been kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Besides, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I loved my mother doting on me. I’m their only kid and it’s a big ole house, so there really is no rush for me to move out. I can save my money instead of wasting it on rent or a car payment. Now what about you?”
“What about me?” Tarah asked.
“Well, I kinda summed up my lil existence to you in a couple of sentences,..fair exchange is no robbery. Tell me something good. You’re an odd one.”
“Odd?! How?” she asked shocked by his response.
She immediately felt hot under the collar and grabbed her Oasis. She turned Incubus down a bit more..
“I mean, you drive this amazing car like a pro, you look like a model, you’re already married with a kid, you work for yourself, you move around by yourself,..How come you seem to have it all sorted out, when I can barely figure shit out?”
“I dunno. Oh and thanks for the model compliment. It does my ego good. I guess I’ve had more time than you to get to where I’m at. I mean how old are you? 27,28, 29?” she was smiling on the inside.
“I’m 23.” Alex replied.
The contents of her mouth sprayed all over her dashboard, her legs, her stick shift and his pants.
“Are you ok?” he asked as she coughed.
“I’m good. You’re 23?! Well bless your heart.”
“Yeah. Something wrong with 23?”
She began laughing uncontrollably.
“Oh my God..” she whispered softly.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, genuinely unsure of why she suddenly seemed to be acting strangely.
“Nothing. I swear. I’m just,…I dunno why I reacted that way. You’re 23? wow. Ok. Anyhow, I’m gonna get going….”
He cut her off.
“Nonono,…you still gotta tell me something about yourself, something deeper and you gotta tell me what the hell just happened.”
“How old do you think I am?” she asked.
“I’m 34.” she said matter of fact like.
“Ya shitting me?” he thought she was lying and definitely trying to scare him off.
“I assure you that I am not, but I’m flattered that you thought that I was that age.”
She angled her body in her seat to face him and he did the same.
“What do you wanna know about me?”
“Everything.” he was joking, but he was serious.
“Why did you get married? How old were you when you got married? Who is he?Are you happy?”
“Why the focus on my relationship? Why don’t you ask me something about how I make a living?”
“Because truthfully, the first time I saw you, the only thing I wanted to know was if you were single and how I could get you to be mine.”
She was taken aback by his honesty. She sighed deeply and shook her head. She was really taken by surprise when he took his shades off and rested them on the console in between them. She’d never seen him without them. Seeing his entire face suddenly some how changed the dynamics in her vehicle, and her gut was telling her to run, far away from this guy. He was beautiful to look at. She eased back and leaned on her door…
“I got married because I was in love, I was 24 years old and he’s a carpenter who makes beautiful furniture.”
“Are you happy?”
“I think so.” she replied after slight hesitation.
He sensed there was much more going on behind that ‘I think so’ but it was definitely too soon to ask pressing questions. He was just really getting into her head and didn’t want to push her away with questions.
“I gotta get going. I need to get my son.”
“How old is he?”
“He’s seven. You wanna see what he looks like?”
“Sure.” he answered smiling.
Tarah reached to take up his shades from the top of the console, so that she could take out a picture of her son that was inside, but in doing so she dropped it, and it fell between the seat. They both simultaneously reached between the seat and console to retrieve the shades, but their hands began to rub together. When she looked up in shock because of the friction of the rubbing, their faces were less than 2 inches apart. She was immediately aware of something bigger than them happening in that car, but she had no idea how to describe it. She needed to leave.
“Alex I gotta go, but I’ll make sure I get them out tonight and give them to you tomorrow?”
He felt absolutely naked without those shades, so it pained him to agree, but he didn’t have much of a choice. She also couldn’t have insisted her goodnight any harder, without saying ‘Get the fuck out my car dude.’ He had a back up pair, so he knew he could make due for a day or two without them. However, he smiled inside. He knew she liked him..he could feel it….