I’ve made a mess of me, he thought, slouching into the booth, his head against the wall. “It doesn’t help that you don’t have the slightest idea what you want,” she said to him. Her lips were icy blue and beautiful. “Who are you?” he asked, looking at her slender neck that made him want to kiss it, avoiding her eyes. Instead she flagged down the waitress. “I’ll have coffee and a piece of cheese cake. Just coffee for him,” she said. She was central. He, the waitress, the entire world around them, peripheral. “What do you know about me?” he asked her. She lit one of his cigarettes and dragged contemplatively, staring over his left shoulder at something that wouldn’t be there when he turned around to look for himself. Those were the only times he would look into her eyes. She appeared to look at whatever she damn well pleased, but she never looked into his eyes either.
“I know that you don’t take cream or sugar with your coffee,” she said finally. “That hardly qualifies you for the role of analyst,” he said. “I know that you have a romantic notion of smoking, and that is why you won’t quit. I know that you are tired of girls, and drugs, and school, and you want to see something that really shocks you. I know that nothing shocks you. Except for maybe me,” she smiled and pretended to bat her eyelashes. “I know that you’re tired and you don’t quite know why. I know why. I know that you keep one eye searching for home and the other darting around for something else all the time. I know that your surprise is turning into lust right now. And I know why that is too.” She blew a stream of smoke past his right shoulder this time and stamped her cigarette into the ashtray without looking. “So, now the big question tough guy, is what do you know about me?” she said, their eyes meeting for the first time.
Her gaze leveled in challenge and confrontation. His in wonder, wanting, and defiance. The bond was hard to be broken. Both wanting to break it. Trapped in their own vulnerability. “Nothing, just as I expected,” she said, taking another one of his cigarettes. He saw this too. One on top of the other. First signs of weakness.
“Come on, use some imagination,” she said. Sensing advantage, it was his turn at silence. “Are you figuring out a good story for me?” she asked. He waved over the waitress. “I’ll have a piece of cherry pie. Thank you.” He looked out the window at the clouds. “I know that you order for people to compensate for something else,” he said. She tipped her head back laughing. Her pink hair, and long neck, and blue lips, set in her light skin creating a starkly beautiful contrast to the blue skies and white clouds framing her against the window.
“Tell me, what am I compensating for?” she asked leaning on her elbows, her chin in her two hands, fingers behind her eyes. “That isn’t how you played the game,” he said. “I can’t tell you anything that you don’t already know.” Neither could turn away now. That would be giving up. “Is that all then?” she asked, and poured cream and sugar into her coffee. She watched what she was doing now. Three packs of sugar, one cream. I think that’s enough, he thought to himself. She sat back and looked out the window. She was a work in contrasts. He could tell that it was from this that she thought her sexiness derived. She was right, of course. He looked at the angles of her face. She watched a mother and her daughter arguing in a van in the parking lot. Had he been looking, he would see the same soul in the two of them. He would have studied the great mountain of time and place between them. She looked away.
“I don’t believe in mysteries anymore,” she said. “Not the way that I used to.” She looked so beautiful and alone. The picture would flash before his eyes every time something took his breath away for the rest of his life. He thought that she knew this. He thought that he would be on the tip of her tongue every time she ordered someone coffee. Her sadness was brilliant. He thought about the aesthetic of sadness. He thought about the aesthetic of this apparition of a girl before him - with her swagger, and sadness, and sharp angles, and contrasts. He thought about the offering she had just made to him. He thought about all of this and could think of nothing to say. They were past the game now. And she turned from the window and looked directly into his eyes. “You don’t believe in anything either,” she said. “You just don’t know it yet.” She looked out the window again. And he thought that she wanted him to prove her wrong. He thought how badly she must want to be wrong. “I believe in this,” he said quietly. She smiled, a jaded, knowing smile. And that was sexy too. “Yes well, what would you call this?” But he had expected that. “A moment,” he answered. “Oh...is that all?” she said.
He wanted to tell her about Nietzsche, and the juxtaposition, and creative recreation, and the color that the sky gets on certain nights, at certain times because of lights and air pollution. But what was enough for him didn’t seem enough for her anymore. And he felt lonely here with her in this place. And he wanted her more than ever, if only so they could both feel something different for a moment. Sadly, he knew how she felt about moments. He thought about what she would look like naked. He was glad to think about something that took him away from this place. But when she turned from the window, and his eyes moved from her breasts to meet her gaze, she only smiled at him. Her look was seductive, but her half-smile seemed to tease him. And he knew that she knew. And that smile seemed to say that she knew that he knew that she knew. And he felt small, the way that he had earlier.
“I know something else about you,” she said. “Yeah, what’s that?” “I know that your biggest fear is triviality,” she said. “But you don’t see.” “I don’t see what?” he asked. “Well, I guess I’ll break the rules on this one. You don’t see that drama is trivial. Sex is not trivial. It’s biological. It’s all that we attach to it that’s trivial. And that is what will always get in your way.” He drank the rest of his coffee. “If that is what you think, why are you sitting here with me?” he asked and lit a cigarette. She did the same. “Because it amuses me,” she said. “And...because you haven’t asked.” And as she dragged from his cigarette, she was sex. There was nothing else. No one else. He looked very hard at her. Imagined her naked body over his. Imagined the noise that she would make as he entered her. Thought about her sweating, feeling something, crying, laughing, scratching his chest, whispering his name in his ear. He imagined what it would feel like to grab her hips. What it would feel like to kiss her. Feel her tongue. Taste her. And then he stood up, picked up both of their checks, and turned to walk away.
“Where are you going?” she asked, startled for the first time. He turned and looked at her one last time. “I’m teaching you about moments.” The sun was low in the sky as he walked out the door, and all of the endless nighttime lay before him.