Weather like this makes me feel nostalgic.
You know those moments when certain smells, tastes, sounds, or circumstances just pick you up where you stand and instantly transport you to a memory…? Or maybe I’m just weird…
But standing on the platform this morning in the brisk weather all bundled up and listening to my iPod, I was reminded of a particularly awesome memory.
That time I was kissed by a stranger.
I was 17. Fine as hell if I may say so… I was wearing a brand new pair of Timberland boots (boots I am proud to say I still have), Boot Cut jeans from The Gap, a black pea coat and I was too cool to wear anything else to stay warm.
My hair was wavy and long. I was also wearing a tiny bit of mascara and lip gloss and the natural flush to my cheeks in the freezing winter weather. My perfume (that I usually BATHED in) was Tommy Girl… and I was wearing a lot of it.
I was waiting for the train headed to Queens to meet my mother. She was picking up a new car.
My hands were freezing, though I was too proud to admit it, and my ears were frozen… I was damn near about to put my scarf around my head to give me some warmth.
While listening to my DiscMan a young man about 20 (ish) years old arrived on the platform and stood about 10 feet away from me. (which in NYC subway platform standards is too close). I noticed his eyes exploring my body and I decided to move a little further away from him…
My mother painted a very scary portrait of the male mind at a very young age and his eyes on my body only made those key points my mother highlighted scream out at me
“He wants to rape you.”
“He is gonna mug you”
“He is gonna follow you. Mug you. Then rape you”
I decided to turn off my disc man since The Red Hot Chili Peppers were getting a little loud. The strange man looking at me noticed I had moved a little further away so he too moved a little closer. I decided to look back at him… in case I would have to later describe to the police what the man who attacked me looked like.
Baggy blue jeans.
Beef and Broccoli Timberland Boots
Black North Face bubble Jacket.
Black Skully cap with a NY Yankees Emblem.
Not ugly… at all.
He caught me looking at him and he smiled.
Whoa… nice smile.
I returned his smile with a shy half smile.
He took it as an invitation.
“What are you listening to?” he said.
“What you mean nothing? I see you bopping to them beats…” he laughed.
“I turned it off. I’m just trying to stay warm”
A few moments of silence go by and I am tempted to put the music back on just so I don’t have to talk to him. I can see him wanting to say something else but I wasn’t looking at him and I imagine he was waiting for eye contact. I glanced at him and he took the opportunity.
“You smell really good.”
I gave him a strange look and replied “um… thanks?”
“its Tommy Girl, right?”
“I knew it. I love the way that smells on a woman… Even more so on a beautiful woman”
“Thank you.” Dammit… are rapists polite? This wasn’t in Moms tutorial on talking to psychopathic killers.
Okay clearly, I was YOUNG and this guy was hitting on me. But IM SHY. Go on and laugh. Go on and say BULLSHIT. But Seriously, I am shy. And if it weren’t for the fact that I was FREEZING, I would be blushing bright red… but I was already bright red from freezing.
“Your boyfriend is a really lucky guy. He better treat you right!”
“I don’t have a boyfriend”
Looking shocked. “So you’re gorgeous AND intelligent! … I don’t blame you for being single… less drama ya know?”
“I have a girlfriend. But I’m not happy with her”
“Why are you with her then?”
He shrugs. He started to kick a balled up piece of paper that was blown into his direction by the wind.
“I don’t know… but I am standing here looking at you and feel like I am the dumbest chump alive.”
I stood silent. I didn’t really know what to say since, you know, he was a stranger and all… but I listened.
It’s funny how life works. I sit here today remembering this day and how I used to think as a teenager (ugh, so ignorant!). I really thought my life would be something completely different and now looking back at this man who was sharing a piece of his soul with a complete stranger I can’t help but think he was sent there to make me a little wiser.
“Don’t rush growing up… Once you get there you can’t go back.” He said it very seriously.
He laughs. “Have you been waiting for the train long?”
I glance at my watch… “like 10 minutes maybe”
No sooner than I say this, we hear the rumbling of the train. It’s an express train to Queens. MY Train.
“Shit! That’s not my train” He said.
Relieved. “Oh, well its mine. It was very nice talking to you” I said as I started to walk towards the approaching train.
He started to pat his jacket pockets for something. I guessed a pen and paper.
“Look, I know you leaving, but can I get your number so I can call you sometime?”
And because homeboy told me he had a girlfriend I told him I didn’t have a phone… In his last few moments with me he made several suggestions and I refused every one of them.
The train slowed to a hault and he knew he was never going to see me again.
“Well, It was nice talking to you Beautiful. My name is John.” He held out his hand and shook it.
And when I let go of his hand he gently leaned in kissed me on my lips.
Fear. And Fear alone cemented my feet the ground where I was standing. Shock made me stay there and perhaps maybe stupidity made me purse my lips and kiss him back.
He pulled back and said in almost a whisper “Goodbye Beautiful” He smiled and I boarded the train. . .
And that’s how I was kissed by a stranger.