I hold out my hand. The movement of my arm seems to jar you from whatever moment you were having. Your train of thought is knocked off the the tracks it had been steadily barreling down and now you seem to be trying to locate where your own hand is. You haven't listened to a word I've said, yet still you haven't taken your eyes off of me once.
I'm suddenly conscious of how pointy my bony shoulders seem under the billowing, bright yellow cotton t-shirt and how long it's been since I've painted my nails. The dreamy glaze over your labradorite eyes and the permanent smile pinched into your high, porcelain cheeks argues in favor of an optimistic interpretation of the situation, though.
You collect yourself enough to find your hand and offer it to me. I swear that you made sure you were offering the correct hand for the ritual of handshaking. Your hand is as perfect as the one my mind had constructed in the lascivious fantasy already running parallel to reality. It is strong and gently calloused; warm, kindling a desire to climb on top of you like a lizard on a sun-warmed rock; bigger than mine, but still comfortable to hold. Your nails are well kept, but not overly manicured. Our palms touch. We hold hands comfortably in your doorway, seeming to have forgotten the pretense for touching already.
"Charmed, I'm sure."
The problem, of course, is that this is a little song I've learned to sing quite well. There's a certain arrogance in it, which forces you to sell it. The delivery is always an impromptu performance since science can only set the stage, not write the script. I know that tilting my head down emphasizes my features in a way that makes me look more feminine and softer, while tilting my eyes upward will convey a sense of subordination and vulnerability. Raising my voice slightly will accentuate this. Strategically, I hold back a slight giggle while saying this. It makes it all seem less arrogant while allowing me to get out a little nervous laughter. Plus, men love to listen to women laugh. Maybe you will love the way it sounds and tell me jokes in the hallway.
You see, I'm desperately lonely. You probably couldn't tell. Well, I hope you couldn't tell. I dumped him because I decided to move here. I decided to move here completely alone. And right now you're the only one within walking distance that I know. I'm here, being charming, because I feel like I'm going to die alone, even though I'm only 24. I just need to take off my pants and cuddle with you in bed for a few hours right now. Is that okay? You're the first attractive man that I've seen since I broke up with my boyfriend of over two years in February.
And since it seems like I can have anyone that I want, I choose you. I can't have friends since they all seem to fall in love with me. The ones who pursue friendship do so because they're already romantically committed. Then they usually have to cut ties suddenly without explanation because of a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend. In the spirit of fairness, shouldn't that mean that I can crawl into your bed when I feel like this without observing etiquette or thinking about your feelings? I don't know you, but you're so incredibly gorgeous. And by now we both know that beautiful things are there to be used, to contribute to the greater good, and to earn their right to be admired, don't we?
You continue to hold my hand, laughing with me in agreement. Unfortunately, my mother and nephew are downstairs carelessly moving my things into my apartment, breaking furniture, and fighting in the humid, Midwestern heat. They cannot be left unsupervised and I've already spent too long trying to play seductress in your doorway. I leave, sprinting down the stairs as soon as you shut your door, and shout commands to my troops downstairs that have gone astray and chosen to pursue their own campaigns in my absence.
Since this introduction, I've been frustrated and impatient. Somehow the days continue to pass, you continue to live your life, and I still sleep alone each night. My imagination runs wild with a myriad scenarios: sometimes you have a girlfriend who burns with a unique intensity that makes me look like an amateur worthy of your pity, sometimes you're simply busy with your job and friends but planning to invite me over tomorrow, but other times you're shy and humble despite your striking good looks, hesitant to put on the moves. When things are looking their worst, however, it was that you could smell the desperation on me and are now avoiding me like the bitter rebound that I am. This kind of pessimism, I tell myself, is only masochism.
We've run into each other briefly since that day and our interactions have continued to be flirty and positive. But you've made no forward progress and it frustrates me. I'm unemployed and lonely. I'm not used to being alone and I see no reason to do so unwillingly. I'm a little like a child in that way. Sometimes I want to march up the stairs, stomp my feet, and throw a fit outside your door until you give me the attention I've decided that I warrant.
"Charmed, I'm sure."
But this time I say it to myself, repeating it as a form of reassurance and feigning confidence.
I wish that you would hold my hand and laugh in agreement again.