He didn’t know her. She didn’t know him. But their crossed glances rattled like sabres on a smoke strewn battlefield. They were at a gas station on the edge of a hopeless highway, distilling Greek mythology from trashy magazines and gleaning vulgar metaphors from the ad copy on chip bags and chocolate bar wrappers.
She wore yellow terry cloth shorts that hugged the creases between the tops of her caramel thighs and the pert cuffs of her ass. Her small breasts were unconstrained beneath a faded t-shirt and they quivered with her footfalls. She had dark hair and dark eyes and there was a dark valley in her heart where she’d slain or satisfied her demons in an endless war for truth.
He was a man of stubborn dreams, but his aversion to the real world held him back from the edge of action. Sometimes he couldn’t even walk past a stranger on the street without dissolving into the ethers. He wasn’t good at being human. Perhaps he wasn’t human at all.
She bought two hazelnut chocolate bars and a Coca-Cola and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. He was behind her in line and when his turn came he bought the new edition of Rolling Stone and a bag of sour candies and a quart of chocolate milk.
As he gathered his purchases, he heard her ask for the key to the bathroom and when he looked over, she too was looking over, weighing the gold of his soul on the scales of her mind. She sensed something within him—something acrostic—something wholly unknowable even to himself. It was opaque and unpredictable and maybe it was the seed of death or the mark of sleeping violence. Whatever it might have been, it opened the seal of the moment.
She walked out of the store as his eyes raked the warm earth beneath her clothing. She could feel his gaze, and she gave him an unequivocal look before passing the frame of the window.
He followed her and when he rounded the corner of the building he saw that she had left the door open. Stepping inside, jeans plied with lust, he did what her eyes commanded him to do.
In the grime of the gas station bathroom they crashed into each other, pulling at the roots of rage and anxiety like travellers on a hopeless highway.