Thursday, 8 August 2013

struck by her

He was struck by her. He had seen her in the grocery store, once. Then at the farmer's market, where she accepted the half of the walmart receipt on the back of which he wrote his digits in small, insecure handwriting. He was not insecure. He was an accountant, and wrote very small. She read the name, Tony, which was not a very attractive shortcut for Anthony. But his name was not Anthony. His birth name was Tony. His parents liked shortcuts and hated formalities. Well, not his mother. But she was subservient to his father, atleast when it came to naming her firstborn son. She was gonna name the boy, Marcus Aurelius, but deferred to her husband. Secretly she called the boy Marcus Aurelius, though he responded to Tony.

He invited himself over her house, Tony. That was after she called him. She called him to find out who this poorly named boy was. He was a man, but she preferred to think of him as a boy. Any man who slipped her half of a receipt from Walmart with his little digits inscribed on the back of it, was a boy in her mind. She did not necessarily want to get to know him. This Tony character.

So she called out of curiosity, and you know what they say about curiosity. He was so excited when he realized who was on the other line, that he broke a sweat. She was so anxious afterward, she ran to the bathroom and spoke to the porcelain. Both conversations would be brief and unpleasant.

He was struck by her. Before and after the phone call. Before and after the farmer's market. Somehow he got online and performed some queries, over google search. was a nice way to find out basic information without breaking any bank. He felt a little guilty, but more curious than guilty. You know what they say about curiosity.

She regretted having called. She turned the half of a receipt from Walmart, over and over in her fingers, until the oil from her fingerprint rubbed the ink of the digits, half-off. You're not supposed to use paper that way. Like a touchstone.

He had hoped for more of a chance. The conversation had been so brief. About as brief as they come. There had been an awkward silence. He needed time to absorb the fact of her, on the other line. Her voice was not pretty. Pretty common, maybe.

She laughed at herself after speaking with the porcelain, after speaking with him. She laughed for a second, about the nature of the first conversation. So awkward. Like kids.

He felt himself getting younger. He felt like just a boy, again. Not many women made him feel this way. He wondered why. There was nothing special about her, really, except everything about her. Except the way he thought about her.

She was not prepared for his visit. Neither was he. Just a boy, visiting a neighbor girl, is the way he thought of it. His visit. She thought of it as a supreme offense to her entire being.

He was struck by her. By the flat palm of her hand.
Not very pretty. But pretty common.
The way he was struck by her.

-Katya Mills,  08/13