Saturday, July 5, 2014

table scraps: pieces of writing left unfinished

It's 9:27 pm and the weather is slightly chilly on a mid September evening in downtown Chicago. Susan Alexandria Turner, 26, exits the library amidst the hum of traffic and business of nocturnal pedestrian activity. The breeze from the east smelling of urban commerce.

Bookish and the indoors type, Susan was one who enjoyed taking in the sensations in life. When they presented themselves to her, of course. She was pretty in a faded way that made her seem pretty but not sexy. Looks being of a particular importance to her. Once dabbling in sadomasochism, Susan's interests in sex were, suffice it to say, wildly open.

Her acumen derived from an increasing academic ferocity. Respected around the workplace and firmly secured in the rigid routine of subway transportation in her day to day trips to her 3rd floor office and to her apartment.

This routine and conditioning would open a void. A longing waiting to be filled by something special. Something that was not tied to the world of constantly ringing telephones and rushed deadlines. The Monday of September 23rd was one of near expectancy for her at this point. A bad day as it would come to be known more and more frequently in her life. In this particular day, she arrived 5 minutes late to work because of an electrical failure in her apartment. Her supervisor, strict on the schedule, gave her warning that if this were to happen again, she was to be terminated. Faced with this ultimatum of unemployment mixed with a fair share of work related stress, she went to reside temporarily in the one place she found comfort- the library.

So there she was, huddled in the midst of a small group of strangers waiting for the Don't Walk sign to change. Ruminations on the events of the day rattling around in her head. These thoughts lasting up until the subway station in which she would allow her melancholy to slip into a temporary sense of being content from reading a good book on the subway ride back to her apartment.

Entering the train, the cadre of the unwanted, unusual and benign cordially presented themselves to her. You have the sleeping passengers, the man embroiled in the politics of the daily newspaper, the occasional stoner, and many more colorful guests. On days when she didn't have her books, she would playfully observe the passengers as a means of wondering what their occupations entailed. What ends did they meet on their busy schedules of life. Going so far as to playing out a scenario in which a murder took place and one of them being the culprit. A big part of this stemming from an intense obsession with the board game Clue as a kid.

She seated herself next to a man of average height. 5'6" 150 Ibs. By appearances, it looked that he wasn't the athletic, outdoors type. She had never seen this man prior to this particular commute. So, in her own little world, concocted fantasies about the man taking her away from her mundane life. The scenarios would devolve into a series of ugly thoughts about where it would this so called 'meeting of the fantasy man' would end up.Presenting a certain type of existential dread one would derive by jumping to conclusions about something that hasn't even happen yet. She started to bite her nails. Which would lead into tearing dead skin off the cuticle. Nervousness was becoming more apparent.

The stranger's acute observations of her anxiety led him to ask if she was alright. She responded in turn with a slight nod. A gaping lie if there ever was one. This caused a slight pause. The hesitancy caused a retraction in that response. No, I'm not alright. I arrived late for work today and the supervisor was displeased with my performance on the job. He gave me a warning but said that next time it happens I won't be so lucky."

To open herself like this to a complete stranger wasn't natural. But, with the events that had just transpired, she was willing to say 'fuck you' to her introverted nature.

"Sounds like real bullshit don't you think?"

Susan's head turned to him.

"Yeah. You better believe it." She continued "It's not just the fact that I got yelled at, I have been a competent worker there for two years."

"I'm fairly sure you could do better." He responded. "There's plenty of other opportunities out there." Her nervousness was now replaced by a sense of calmness. Followed by an inviting smile.

"By the way, what's your name?"

"Susan. Susan Turner"

"Pleased to meet you Ms. Turner. My name is David Hamilton."

It was apparent to Susan that David presnted a secure nature in his compliments.

"I work Monday through Friday and have the weekend off. Would you like to talk to more at my apartment."

"I'd love to" David replied

The train arrived at its destination. Susan and David exiting the business of everyday commuter activity.

f. entering the apartment

"So this is where the magic happens." David said with a sly, sardonic wit.

"I guess you could say that, Mr. Joe Cliche."

Both of them shared a laugh.

The apartment was well kept just enough to be presentable. But not enough to host an evening cocktail hour with a bunch of friends. Which in turn was passable being that her new friend had arrived unplanned.

Noticeable were the nick naks that lined the windowsills. A Lichtenstein hung adjacent to a shelf of books. The quaint observations led David to ask a barrage of questions.

"So what kind of movies and music are you into?"

"I'm mostly into the French New Wave type of stuff. As far as music goes, Boston, Journey, Some 60's & 70's stuff like Joplin, Dylan and the Beach Boys."

Being the artsy type, Susan was the kind of girl who one would find in the theater watching high brow art films from the likes of Luis Bunuel and Jean Luc Godard. Not that that would automatically lead her to be categorized as solely being interested in these types of films. There were plenty of nights spent watching the 8pm action romp on channel five.

"I noticed the Lichtenstein on the wall. An art lover?"

"Yes but only as far as modern art goes. I could never get much out of the Renaissance period. What with all the paintings from Bosch, Bacon, DaVinci, and so on."

"I fancied myself a fan of pop art as well. It doesn't necessarily need to lend itself to intense analysis to be good. That's my opinion of it anyway."

"I know!" She responds gleefully.

Seeing that the conversation was going smoothly, he brought along a personal critique regarding the art piece "People almost seem to have a hipness toward that kind of art. Kind of wanting to own the pop art for the sake of looking snazzy to their friends. I know too many people like that. You know, the ones who wear those fuckin' T shirts with Dark Side of the Moon embroidered on them but look like they never heard the band. At the end of the day it just feels like a big let down. Oh, that is what they do."

Laughing, Susan responded with "OK. Give me a good example."

"Well, when I was in the first grade there was always this particular woman who use to walk by the school. 8:45 on the dot. You could almost set your watch by her. Dressed in a striped and topped off with what was to be a hat with fruit on the side. Not-so-lovingly dubbed the Fruit Lady by classmate Ronnie Gartner. She would walk by the school right up through 5th grade. Same obnoxious outfit. Same leisurely pace. Almost like she was going to a high-brow functioning society where the rich and famous would gather to discuss the goings on of the upper class. So one day, when I was sick, I decided to follow her. All espionage like. I mean a regular fuckin' James Bond. Makin' sure I went by unnoticed. When I finally found out what her occupation actually was, disappointment hit me. It turns out that she worked at the local Burger King. She would take off the loud outfit, don fast food apparel and flip burgers for the rest of the day."

Being able to relate to the.

"So I was wondering, if you're not busy tomorrow, would you like to come up and see me"

With the quiet sound of the door closing, Susan experienced a rush. Being content had never felt as close but simultaneously so far away. A persistence on the matter could only bring this intangible ecstasy of feelings to a boil.


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