Mystery Girl

There is a girl near you.
Look up. You’ll know her in an instant.
She’s sitting at another table in the café,
But she doesn’t see you.
She doesn’t care to see you.
You’ve seen her in movies.
You’ve read about her in books.
You saw her the last time that you took the bus.
She has many different faces;
Her clothes and hair change with the times.
Sometimes she has a gun in her purse,
And other times she has a planner.
She goes by many different names,
But you and I know her as Mystery Girl.

You could be sitting next to this girl in class,
And she’d never acknowledge you.
She’s not going to make a sarcastic joke about how bad the lecture was,
Or look at you expectantly if she drops her pencil.

You could be standing next to her in line as she applies her lipstick,
And she’d never turn toward you.
She’s not going to smile back at you as she meets your eyes in her compact,
Or “accidentally” jostle your arm as she throws the tube back into her bag.

You could be crossing the road with her at the same time,
And she’d never touch you.
She’s not going to trip over the curb and send you stumbling in front of her,
Or slip on the ice and grab your hand to catch her balance.

Mystery Girl is a beauty, but she couldn’t care less if you noticed.
She’s not staring at the piercing eyes that other girls in your life lust after,
Or chuckling to herself about something that you said a week ago.
Because she hasn’t noticed you.

It’s as if no matter what you do,
No matter how many times you see her across the room,
Turn a corner only to see her on the other side of it,
Or see those perfectly manicured fingers disappearing into her purse,
She doesn’t even know that you’re there.

She doesn’t need to know, because she hasn’t been looking for you.

Mystery Girl doesn’t run up to her old friends with a stupid grin on her face;
Mystery Girl might deign to glance at you as she saunters by.
She doesn’t hold the door for you even though any other girl would kill to;
She lets the breeze slam it back in your face.

Mystery Girl isn’t pursuing you.
If you’ve noticed all of this about her, you’re probably pursuing her.
Because you can’t help yourself.

I’m not Mystery Girl.


I wish that I had context
Context to see, and know, and feel
That I ought to do my laundry and wash those dishes.
But what I see is the sparkle in your eyes when I wore that dress,
What I know is how much I love watching you cook for me,
And what I feel is the desire to abandon these chores and run to you, even only
To do your laundry and wash your dishes.

I wish that I had context
Context to smell, and taste, and hear
That you’re out of town for the day and that I might as well do my work.
But what I smell is the candle that we never extinguished,
What I taste is the kiss that left me on my knees begging for more,
And what I hear is your voice reminding me that you’ll come back tomorrow
Even though I’ll already be waiting at the window today.

I wish that I had context
Context to remember, and understand, and share
That I have an appointment later and so I can’t keep doting on you.
But what I remember is how you like your coffee,
What I understand is that my friends could never fascinate me as you do,
And what I share is my ticket for the subway, because I want to keep you nearby
Shopping across the street while I have breakfast at the café.

I wish that I had context—
Context to see beyond you,
To smell the world around you,
To remember more than you—
And everything in between.
But all of the context in this world leads me back to you,
And what it tells me is that
I love you.

Monologue in Class

This fool.
Hey, don’t look at me—
I’m not being judgmental.
I sit next to him every day, so I should know.

For reasons unknown, he
Can’t go two seconds without touching his mustache.
Index finger and middle finger,
Always extended.
Always about a centimeter apart at the fingertips,
Stroking the hair under his nose
In perfect parallel with his nostrils.
Fingertips always in tandem,
One never lifting off of his brown hair before the other does.
And it’s always three strokes, too,
One after the other,
Before his hand falls from his face and I
Can go back to looking into his eyes.
I mean, it’s one thing
To pet one’s own mustache while thinking quietly.
But while speaking?
His voice echoes behind the
(Always right)
Hand hovering in front of his mouth.
And I don’t understand how he doesn’t notice.

For reasons unknown, he
Can’t pick up a pencil without scraping his nails with it.
Mechanical with an orange tube and a dull tip,
Always scavenging.
Always roaming just under the white part of his nails,
Scratching at his own skin
As his brow furrows in concentration and his knuckles clench.
The pencil dives for treasure in the same order every time,
First in his thumb and then down the hand.
And it’s always at inopportune times, too,
Right before our professor says something important,
Forcing him to jerk the pencil away from his finger so that I
Can go back to focusing on my own notes.
I mean, it’s one thing
To clean under one’s nails with the tip of the pencil retracted.
But when the lead is still out?
He’s adding grey smudges to his
(Always left)
Fingertips as he rubs the pencil across them.
And I don’t understand how he doesn’t notice.

For reasons unknown, I notice all of this.

I love him.

I’m the fool?
Who said that?