Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Enterprise - 33

Robyn lived alone in some rundown flat near Port Authority. I imagined a bare room lit by a single, overhead bulb. Mattress on the floor. She got in late one day and I asked her why on instant message. She said she’d been in court fighting her landlord. It was one of those dreary, murky disagreements—a dilapidated building, kept up on the cheap; she got fed up, quit paying rent. He shut off her heat. So she’d taken a cold shower and charged downtown to sue the bastard.

There we were typing at each other, separated by the sculpture and the potted ferns. I knew she was sitting over there at her cluttered desk. Typing at me just as I typed back at her. Words and the spaces in between. I had to admit I was drawn to her purple highlit hair and tired eyes, her mania, her discombobulation. At the end of our exchange I asked her out to dinner.

We went to a chic French bistro on Park Ave. I don’t remember what we talked about. Work. The people at work. We got in a cab together, after. She laid her head on my lap with a sigh, playing it like she was too drunk and tired to sit up. And maybe she was. But there she was. Head heavy on my thigh. Her hair splayed over me, over my arm and the vinyl seat. Purple strands glinted in the passing lamplight. I could smell it—a warm and faintly bitter fragrance. The smell of an unfamiliar woman. Why didn’t I kiss her? Why didn’t I touch her? I don’t know why. But I didn’t. The cab pulled up on 43rd Street and she got out. As we pulled away I watched as she hunched over the lock to her building’s scuffed and dented metal door.