The Welder is probably a wonderful, chaste, naive, angelic man, dedicated to a life of hard work and charity. He probably tithes 10% of his earnings to the Methodist church and takes stray cats in off of the street, feeding them baby formula with an eyedropper.
Or, conversely, he doesn't even know how to read. But none of that matters. Because I don't know him like that, because I've only just seen what he looks like. I see how tired he is after a day of welding. Which I'm not even sure is his profession, I've just attributed it to him based on his dress, and the sexy idea of working with fire and metal. I've seen how he gets on the train and collapses into a seat, immediately closing his eyes, gripping his green hard hat in his hands and exposing his cheek, which very often has a dark smudge of dirt or oil on it. When I see him, I try to sit near him on the train, pretending to read. But I'm not reading. I'm watching him sleep. I'm watching his shoulder, his thick fingers, the cut of his jaw. He does't know it. But I'm watching.
I think if I see him again, I may approach him. My being married makes it safe to do things like this. Flirting is a joy when you know it doesn't have to go anywhere. I may just go up to him and say,
"Hi," of course, as a simple opener. He'll look at me, confused and tired, but I'll be able to see that he's intrigued.
"Hi," he'll say back, screwing up his eyebrows a little bit. "Do I know you?"
"No, no," I'll answer. "I've just seen you down here a couple of times and I wanted to let you know that I just think you're gorgeous."
He'll look around then for candid cameras or cops or whathaveyou. I'll have confused him a tad, but when his eyes return to mine, his face looks very different, and his voice is a little smoother. The balance of power will have most certainly changed.
"Is that so? You stare at me when I'm down here?" He'll say. And I'll get a little shiver in my neck just looking at him, because all of the sudden, he won't look so tired anymore. And he'll look a lot taller than I'd originally thought, and more 'construction worker'-ish. He'll seem so much bigger and stronger than me, his skin will look rougher, much more tan, and I'll feel so tiny standing next to him. I'll swallow audibly and smile, trying to keep it safe and innocent. I'll have to actually tip my head to look UP at him.
"I can't help it. I giggle like a school girl when I see you. You're just so...cute."
It'll sound stupid -- to both of us. And so that will be something we immediately have in common. The train will still be a stop or two away and he'll pick up my left hand and examine it.
"You're married," he'll say, frowning at me. It's a frown of disappointment in my wanton behavior more than disappointment that I'm married.
"Yeah, I know. I just wanted to give you a compliment," I'll say and he'll throw me an evil grin.
"I don't think that's what you wanted to give me at all, was it?" He'll glance down the train tunnel and see that it still isn't coming. I'll take one step backwards, slightly regretting that I ever brought it up. When he sees me moving away, he'll grab my elbow and pull me close to him, so that his lips are right near my ear. I'll start sweating. "I think you've been doing more than just thinking I'm cute. I think you've been thinking very naughty thoughts about me, haven't you?"
I won't say anything, just nod, and he'll laugh at me quietly. "You've been thinking about me fucking you, haven't you? Even when your husband is fucking you, you're thinking about me." He'll squeeze my arm a bit, just to hold me closer to him. I'll be able to hear the train finally approaching, but he doesn't move. "How many times have you thought about that?"
"I...I don't know."
"Not so forward with your compliments, now, eh?" He'll still be smiling. He'll still be quiet. There will still be something about him that won't scare me at all. "So what do you really want, you horny, married slut?"My mouth will go dry and I'll turn my eyes up to him. "Look at you, blushing." The train will roar closer but still he won't move. He'll just walk me towards the wall, away from the platform. "We're not going to get on that train, angelface."
The waiting passengers will push onto the crowded cars and I'll just watch them go, feeling slightly nauseated with fear, but also very excited, trembling, loving the unknown, the spontaneity, the danger. I can smell him, the worn, musky leather of his jacket, then something like metal, something like dirt. He doesn't smell bad, but I can tell he's been working, and not on a computer like I have all day, but with tools and fire and fresh air.
"What are we doing?" I'll ask quietly, my cheek nearly resting against his chest. Because I'm not struggling with him, no one will be suspicious of our activities, in fact, someone will look over and smile as if we're reunited lovers.
"Well, what do you want? I can pull you into the stairwell, go up under your skirt and nail you right here in front of everyone, in this dirty, loud subway station."
"No thank you," I'll stutter, surprised at how little the statement is laced with sarcasm rather than polite reverence.
"Then let's wait here for the next train," he'll say slowly, looking around at the newly developing crowd. "We'll get on it together, and we'll sit in the last row of seats. You'll sit by the window, and keep quiet like a good little slut and we'll ride up to my apartment, OK?"
Without even realizing it, I'll nod and he'll smile at me. It will be a relief to see his face brighten. "You won't talk to me or anyone else on the train, and you won't cross your legs. Put your hair in a ponytail for me, tight, so I can see your neck."
I'll nod at him again. When we hear the train rumbling from one stop away, he'll start walking towards the platform, but stop and turn to me, holding a finger up to make sure I'm listening.
"You know you can trust me, right? I'm not going to kill you. We're just going to have some fun. You'll be safe with me."
"I know," I'll say, even though I won't really be sure of it.
"OK then. Let's go. I promise I'll have you home by eight o'clock. I have to work tomorrow."
I'll look at my watch and realize that it's only 3:10.
The Welder - Part II