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CHARLES STREET ROMANCE

by

J. Tyler Blue

I am tired of trying to be clever, I just want to tell you the damn story the way I remember it. It's about space and timing although some of you will think it is about a man and a woman. I guess it is about that too, but mostly it is about space and timing.

It doesn't start the way great stories start. It wasn't raining and I don't think it was that cold outside either. I didn't have my poncho or my umbrella. I just had me. I was wearing flip flops one size too large. Blue and worn, I don't think anybody ever noticed they were just a bit too big for me. My jeans were ripped near my heel from dragging on the ground and my shirt was beginning to fade from too many washings. I didn't think about meeting her that night but like I said, this story is about timing.

And space.

She wasn't that overly beautiful girl that you might be thinking about. Yeah, she was a blonde but sometimes it seems like all of them are these days. She had blue eyes and yeah, they were something to look at but you wouldn't stop breathing if she looked at you or anything. I liked the way she dressed, in jeans and some button up shirt of some sort that said "I'm from California" even though she was only from some town outside of Baltimore. For whatever reason it didn't seem fake on her, she wasn't trying to be what she was, she was just being it. You have no idea how attractive that was to me at that moment. How many times do we meet people who just slither around in their own skin trying so hard to project some fantasy image they have of themselves on to you. As if you care. As if you would give a damn that they really can't afford that watch or that those shoes. I don't know maybe it's just me. Maybe it's because I wear flip flops from Wal-Mart that are one size too big.

So we started talking. How that came to be isn't so important. We started talking about politics and life and she had opinions. Not your everyday opinions like "I don't like Bush because the economy sucks" or "Republicans are liars." No, she had real reasons for her opinions, like something about the quality of the people Bush was selecting to be Justices and she rattled off some startling information about the problems of some of these candidates. It wasn't in that huffy puff way that some people do things. You know that way when people know something they get loud and excited and slam down the information upon your ears with triumphant arm waving. She did none of that and suddenly I became enchanted by the movement of her lips.

Nice and full formed they moved comfortably on her face. Sometimes I have noticed women speak quickly as if speaking were a crime or that their lips can only be perfect in the position they were in when the final bit of lip gloss was applied. She had such a beautiful slight smile that seduced me a good two feet away. What would they be like to bite? What if it was raining and I had an umbrella to protect her? I should have shaved.

Suddenly she had to go so I grabbed a napkin and wrote: "Kristin's fake number is:"

She smiled and stared at the napkin for a few moments. I think it was a new form of murder she was trying out. I said something like help but it came out as "Come on. A fake number, how hard could it be?"

She gave me a number.

Could this be some story I tell my children?

I called her and we went out. It wasn't a fake number and I wore real shoes.

I picked her up and she seemed a bit nervous but not overly.

"Have you been married?"

Yes, I said. More aware of how small my Civic is.

"Do you have kids?"

Yes, two. Wrong turn. Where am I going?

Don't look so upset I said. Please don't look upset I thought. Wouldn't a fake number feel better now? I wished it were snowing but it was too early for that.

Everything felt built up like a house of cards and as long as nobody touched it or no wind blows it might as well be a castle made of stone. We went out another night after that and then made plans for a Saturday. Then she said she couldn't see me. I said maybe some other time and she said sure. Some other time.

She called me later that same Saturday. She drove to a bar she had never been to. We kissed. She has beautiful lips. I played with her fingers between mine. We stood in silence and I didn't know who I was anymore. I called her. She was busy.

I called her. She was busy.

I called her. She was busy.

I never saw or heard from her again.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR


J. Tyler Blue lives in Baltimore, Maryland and when not spending quality time with his two wonderful children he enjoys splitting his time unequally among the many bars of Fells Point, Canton, Mt. Vernon and Federal Hill. Recently he sat down to pull together several short stories and poems for his upcoming book "The Baltimore Years." Get a glimpse of this new book at www.jtylerblue.com and other quality writings at www.writethis.com, an e-zine he helps run.








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