Dorian looks up more than most. Not that he is anti-ground, he simply prefers up, the up to eye parallel wedge. He frequently stubs his biggest toes, but other, more desirable things result from the habit. With a wide sweep of his arm, he throws his keys into the open window of a third story apartment. There had been a woman leaning out of the window moments before, an attractive woman, a girl his age. His action was impulsive. He thought it would make for a good opening line. Unfortunately, the arrival of his keys does not bring her back to the window.
Hello, he calls, charming woman who leaned out her window a moment ago, hello. She still does not reveal herself. When a tenant exits the apartment building, Dorian catches the door and makes his way to her flat. He knocks. No one answers. Returning to the street he sees that her window remains open.
He is young, in good shape. Finding ample foot/hand holds on the Victorian facade, he navigates his way up. No one shouts to him from the street below. Inside her apartment, music plays to a room full of artifacts. Lining a shelf over her couch, resourcefully crafted figurines: porcelain doll heads glued to nostalgic tin can bodies with limbs of wire, calves of spool, feet of thimble and bottle cap. Books socialize with vintage cameras and cologne bottles shaped as a motorcycle, a gun. Her ataman is a leather rhinoceros; her end table is a standing ashtray. An exit sign misguides over the closet door. There are no live pets. The flat is cat and cat odor free. This is important and cannot be understated, Dorian’s list of cat cons being precariously counterbalanced with only one pro: edible. He searches her entire apartment, not understanding what has gotten into him or how far he will take things. It does not matter. She is not there. Trying to determine where the keys had landed, he goes to the window. On the street below, she is there, jingling his keys like a bell, teasing him like, yes, a cat.
Three flights later, she is gone. After searching a café across the street, he takes several steps toward Washington Square then doubles back, going an additional half block beyond her apartment building and peeking into an artisanal bakery, an organic florist, a low VOC nail salon. No luck. Nose twitching from overstimulation, he triples back, and looking up again, forty-two degrees, there she is, leaning out her window, sipping honeyed Earl Grey’s tea from an oversized cup.
Bethany is two months into her fifth successive relationship with an older man, the current being twice her age. She will be the first to admit that she likes the attention and the gifts and the freedom. Looking down at Dorian, an attractive young man, she wonders, am I too cynical for this?
She has nearly forgotten how younger men kiss. Nearly.
Dan Lundin is currently collaborating with artist Tom Vadakan to create Los Desperados, an offbeat/oddball/underdog comic that frolics on the edge of things. Catch up with all his literary high jinks at: www.gonelumberjacking.blogspot.com