(I used to hang around the cafes in Cambridge on Sundays, reading women’s handwritten poetry journals while in the Fold, but the surprising thing was how little you learned about what the women were really like, by reading their poetry journals – though their handwriting told you something. Eventually I found that a more dependable way to get an idea of a particular woman without actually talking to her was by hitting PAUSE, finding her address, and borrowing her keys to see how she actually lived.) Or I could put one my special homemade editions of a pamphlet called “Tales of French Love and Passion” in a trash can just as Joyce was tossing something out, so that she would find it and perhaps read it.
It was a crowded bus going from Forest Hills in JP all the way into downtown Boston via Center Street. It was very cold but sunny outside, and the bus was standing room only. The heat was blaring on full, and the bus smelled like carbon monoxide, as if the heater were working to recycle these fumes rather than providing any kind of comfort. It was too cold, that bitter New England cold, to open the windows. You could see it in every face as you looked around the bus, collective misery.
I caught her eye for just a second. She was about my age and exceptionally beautiful, with long dark hair and a dark complexion, perhaps Latino. With just an instant of eye contact, it seemed we recognized in each other that this was all so miserable that it was indeed comical. Everyone on the bus wanted to vomit, but we all kept it inside as we leaned against each other and went wherever we had to go, each getting on and off eventually.
I caught her eye a second time. We both smiled again.
We did this a number of times, but each time the smile was loaded with more. It started with misery – something all of us on the bus could sympathize with – became laughter, and soon became more passionate, even filled with lust. As with each passing glance and smile, an erotic tension built between us. When I couldn’t catch her eyes, I’d stare at her ass (lovely, in a tight pair of jeans). Her look and smile reciprocated, offering the same kind of lust, passion.
This went on for about 15-20 minutes. It staved off the nausea caused by the heater, the constant stopping and starting of the bus, and the over-crowded conditions. I was hoping her stop would be mine, but in the end I got off alone.