When he turned the corner, I turned the corner. When he stopped at the orange hand, I stopped at the orange hand. When he jaywalked, I jaywalked, although sometimes that’s when I lost them. I moved with him. I learned how he moved. I watched his gait, his shuffle, the way he was always running his hand through his hair with some timed tension-breaking. He held space for his own self-assurance; feigned and toxic and unable to yield. He would play with his keys sometimes, or a pen and his forearms brushed people constantly. He would always have his head way up or way down and in his phone but never on anyone unless it was me and it was intimidating and it was meant to invoke subordinate laughter. A subordinate curtsy. He was heavy on the sidewalk, heavy in the air. He stomped his way through people, indifferent to the chasms he cut into couples walking. He passed right through them like a ghost. Like they were ghosts. They were forced to make their point abruptly or cut the thought short or turn around in disgust and the mood would be inevitably lost no matter how they chose to approach it. They came together aware of the split, aware they can be split, aware they are not one. They came back together and then I did the same thing.
I mimicked his carnal prowl, the way he ruined things, the way his arms hung at his side like a big, hungry primate. No purpose, I saw, but to smash rocks, strangle things, dangle things above me. I made my movements wider. I flexed the whole walk to make my arms stronger, larger, strong and large enough to smash rocks, strangle things, dangle my sex above them. I channeled the Earth’s orbit and became giant space behind him. I wanted to loom. I wanted someone to feel something looming behind them. I wanted them to be the victims of a person constantly walking in and out of their relaxing silence.
They demanded interruption. I became stifled violence. I became indiscriminate in my hunt. Sometimes whole groups I would follow. I would be in front of them to start, choosing all my movements slowly, carefully, deliberately, aware I was being watched. I was being followed. I would tense and untense my hand so they had something to focus on; so they could see my nails ripping at the inside of my palms and then releasing. So they could see my nails were sharp and sharpening. My biceps flexing so they could see my arms were strong and strengthening. So they could see my palm was pre-callused. Sometimes I sauntered. Sometimes I turned around without warning and walked the other way and caught all eyes now locked straight on my pussy. It was my ass they were just hungry for. Sometimes I laughed loudly to no one right in front of them and at them. Sometimes I relaxed; stopped dead in my tracks in front of them to check the weather forecast for the evening. I responded to texts and let giant groups break in two just before hitting me, move around me, a wave crashing right before my feet and parting their own sea. I lingered there, responding, taking my time with my choice in vocabulary, choice in emoji sequence. They assumed frivolity. I assumed a wider stance and let another group scramble to pass me gracefully and then I suddenly changed direction.
Sometimes I’d make eye contact for five hundred feet, or if I felt confident, I’d make eye contact for a mile. I walked right towards them my lips set in a straight line. My eyes unblinking.
My intent muddy. I waited until we were close enough to get a sense of each other. I stared until we were close enough to catch a whiff of each other. I could smell their begging cologne from the first five steps of this mile. They anticipated a contact, maybe a word spoken, an observation about the mild winter we were having, a rehearsed joke, or unrehearsed nervous choke. They hoped for something unbridled. At least, a once over we both would perform and a smile. I was walking theater. I held a bit of a smirk, but never anything wider, and then I looked up at the sun suddenly, looked directly at it. As they passed, I stared up at the sun the entire time. My head was completely back and I gawked. Or if I was passing a window, checked my reflection. I ran my hand through my air with a feigned apprehension I watched my dogs perform and repeated it in front of them. Whole groups I saw in my peripheral looking at me, waiting for me, watching me, wanting me to interrupt, but kindly. But please do it kindly. And I always checked my reflection, my lips set in a straight line just waiting for it.
“Hey girl,” they started.
I would suddenly change direction, running.