I need some advice. I can't sort this out on my own.
A pale, sculpted face was looking through and past everything, seeing no more of it than necessary. He had no idea who was around him on the subway train, and didn't care because he was sure they must be strangers. Even the ones he couldn't see and didn't know about.
He clouds my judgment, he acknowledged to himself. How can I get clarity?
There was something hard, though he was not happy to see anyone. He reached for it, and pulled it out.
Can I call someone about this?
Clutching the phone he had taken out of his pocket, his index finger selected a number from his list, without punching digit by digit. His cell to his ear, ring after ring, he began to fidget. Yet, soon enough, he'd be talking freely, tongue unguarded. Relying on his virtual anonymity, due to the slim chance of being known by anyone else present, he was willing to say anything he meant to say, no matter how personal or profane.
"Hey Reverend Archvale," he greeted his phone. But he wasn't calling for the clergyman. "Is your son there?"
"One moment please," his phone told him.
Then, after a brief moment of the caller smiling white at nothing, a second voice came through, "Hello!" It was crisp with delight.
"Hey CJ," he said to his phone.
"Who's this? That you, Blake?"
"Yes. This is he," Blake told his phone, feigning non-chalance.
The young woman who had followed him onto this subway car from another, was seated two spots away, and wished she could have heard the voice of the preacher's kid more clearly, if only to hear the name of the adonis who held her gaze. Instead, she repeated his friend's nickname over in her head, wondering what the letters stood for.
"Any particular reason for calling? Not that you need a reason, or anything. I just... uhmm -"
"Okay, when I got up this morning, I dunno who let him in, but he had the stereo on full playing Pink," said the young man to his phone. "Singing along with every breath. Guess which song."
"Are you talking about Fernando?"
"Do I complain about anyone else? C'mon, guess."
"Gee, uhm... 'Funhouse', the one that drove your cousin up the wall in the mental health center? Hah, it made me picture the nurses in clown outfits."
"Close enough. 'Please Don't Leave Me'."
For a moment, the eavesdropper lingered on the impossibility that he'd said those words to her. Then she reminded herself that she was still a stranger to the man who sat just two seats away.
"Oh gawd. Is your relationship threatening to fall apart once more?"
"You bet, Sunshine!" said Blake, remembering the moment vividly.
The lower of the two singers sung with a voice I had stopped hearing in my dreams months ago. And unfortunately, its resurgence there was for reasons other than its initial emergence.
"I dunno if I could yell any louder..."
The lyrics and the music invaded my dream, tearing it asunder from my memory.
"How many times have I kicked you out of here?"
I rolled against the blanket with a groan.
"Or said something insulting?"
Pulling myself up against my pillow, I yawned.
"I can be so mean, when I wanna be!"
The clock read: 6:37 AM. It was not time to wake up yet. Not for me.
"I am capable of really anything..."
I rubbed my eyes and blinked.
"I can cut you into pieces, -"
I looked again at the time in disbelief.
"-when my heart is..."
"Ahora no, por favor," I mumbled groggily, thick with a Canadian-English accent on every Spanish word.
"Plee-ee-ease... don't leave me-ee!" His lilting voice, harmonized with Pink's, came closer, "Plee-ee-ease... don't leave mee!"
I flung the covers off, and from the doorway he smiled at what he saw there. That morning wood was not for him! I blushed with reluctance to do so.
"I always say how I don't need you, but it's always gonna come right back to this!"
As I slid my feet off the bed and rose onto them, he approached, putting a hand upon my chest.
"Please, don't leave me!" he chorused, face haunted warmly.
I brushed his caress away from my pectoral.
"When did I become so obnoxious?" he sang the question to me.
I gaped, pushing him away.
"What is it with you that makes me act like this?" the words were pouted to me, before he pushed me back against the bed. "I've never been this nasty!"
I rolled onto him, pinning him down, fury on my face.
"Can't you tell that this is all just a contest?" His foot went down to rub at my deflating loins. "The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest!"
And I could feel his arousal through his sweatpants. He was the only one hitting hard!
"My baby, I don't mean it!" A pause came. He pushed up against me. "I mean it. I promise."
Disgusted, I spat upon his face, a face that had once seemed so handsome to me. The memories of that time stirred in the back of my mind, and I winced.
"Please, don't leave me! No, ple-ease, don't leave me!" the chorus came again.
The stereo shut off. I thanked the powers that might be for housemates as a loud "What the hell, man?" came down the hall. Then I wondered how Fernando had gotten inside in the first place.
"Please don't," he whispered, singing no longer.
"I told you, Fern. I just need time to think," I told him as I got off him and grabbed an off-white tank top from the floor.
"Well, that certainly wasn't the song off that CD that got Pink her husband back."
"Ugh," said Blake, shaking himself from his reverie. "Did you say something?"
That was when the young woman with the short hair and the ornate pearl earrings became aware of how fascinated she was by his voice alone. It wavered with such bright emotion, even when it sounded sad. To her, it seemed both high and low at once, and somehow harmonized with itself.
"Don't call me Sunshine, Blake. My hair's not as blond in the winter. And it's turning brown with all this young-adulthood-testosterone. Guhh!"
"Fine by me. But I need some advice."
"Where are you? Toronto? Mississauga? We can do coffee. Well, in my case, a smoothie or a hot chocolate."
"Bloor & Spadina subway station, just pulled out westbound a moment ago."
"Union Station, 5:00 PM. That good for you?"
"Union Station, 5:00 PM. Sounds fine to me. I'll see you then."
The young woman looked at her analog watch. The band was leather. The face was like asphalt. The frame, hands and clip were gold embossed with silver. The time read 2:56 PM. She wanted to be there then. Running a hand through her bristling red hair, she smiled, believing with certitude that there was nothing wrong with following her heart to that place and time. And then she stood, to get off the train and switch directions, because she was content with the knowledge that she would see him again. At the next stop, she sauntered off the train, unknowingly walking a primrose path.