We liked each other for all the wrong reasons.

He was the man in the trenchcoat, and he tilted his head and patiently listened, rapturously watched as I kicked my mouth into overdrive. We had exchanged places, times in a flickering chat window, and now we were looking at each other, looking past each other, running up against the inevitable wall of flesh. "So -- conversation!" I declared, as if I had started a computer program, and we conversed.

I shivered nervously, secretly, as minutes went by, 1:00 pm went by, school went by without me. I watched him eat. Soup, sushi. He had that long, long hair, messy, geeky demeanor, and was as dark as a girl looking for an escape from community college boredom could wish.

His job. My school. Cyborgs. 3d graphics programming. A buffer between us, these words. Later, I would say, "I like you but I'm afraid of you."

Pale skin. Raw fish. We wouldn't touch, until later, when I would taste him and remember his kisses like a tactile hallucination on my lips. I was afraid of what was hidden behind his dark passivity -- trenchcoats could carry guns, as well as leather gloves, wallets, checkbooks, receipts.

He paid for my lunch, though I had brought upward of $20. I went to the bathroom, and when I emerged he was gone, as if I had imagined him, and was suddenly alone here, in this small sushi restaurant in Richmond, Va. Then, he was there, coming around the corner, trenchcoat and hair both dark and trailing behind him dramatically.

We walked toward a missed bus, auras crackling, isolated from each other, semi-silent.

I think he wanted to put his arm around me, but, and somehow I love him for this, he did not.

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