Off of 25th & 78th

A Short Story by Brooke Boddie

  

That’s where we met. Dark chocolate not cocoa. He had long legs. He stood about six feet tall with eyes that could pierce your soul. Wait a minute. 

Before I tell you this story, let me just say this. I hate it when people compare my skin complexion to a food. Allow me to correct myself. He was luxurious and voluptuous; not big boned. He was delightful. He was amazing, and everything graceful. 

 The second time I saw him was on the corner of Beanie Ave. and 33rd street. Every day he would go by the corner store and get a bag of Ruffles, and a mineral water. Like clockwork, I’d be there to watch. I loved to see him get his change from the store clerk. This particular interaction told me much about how he was feeling daily. Most days he was flirty, rarely was he stand off-ish. Not only was he approachable, but he was a sociable. Some days he would collect his change by placing his hand below the cashiers as she dropped it into his hands. As a smirk sat on his face, he would make deep eye contact with her. She would lightly smile and push her hair behind her ear, as he left the store. Other times he would simply ask her to place the money on the counter while he bagged his food. This was the interaction I preferred, it’s not like she wasn’t getting hit on by every guy that walked into the bodega. 

He was wrapped up in his own world. I don’t think he ever even noticed me. Well, then again, there was this one day. I believe I had on a red cropped shirt, and blue jean shorts. It was a hot summer day and my braids were down to my backside. This had to be the skimpiest outfit that I owned at the time. I remember intentionally dressing skimpy because I was headed to a video shoot for my best friend Vicky. Vicky was an undiscovered pop artist. People often said she could be the first black Lady Gaga. Don’t ask me I don’t know what that looks like either. Sounds cool.  

Anyway, he told me that he liked my makeup and he asked for my name. I told him that my name was Adam. I remember intentionally looking away when I told him. I didn’t want to see the usual look of shock that normally followed. I mean for god’s sake, I was a woman named Adam. As soon as I told him my name his phone rang, and he had to rush off. I was once again left in limbo by the only man that I wanted to be seen by. That was the only time we ever spoke. 

Now a days when he by passes me its blank stares into the distance, headphones always in.

He literally came out of nowhere and reminded me that I had feelings. I had found a way to turn them off. I had mastered the art of hiding my feelings until they became extinct. Well, at least I thought I did. Maybe it’s my time of the month. There’s no way I should be so invested. Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe this guy was freaking gorgeous?

“Ever thought about how your parents met all to produce you? I mean it’s even more beautiful if they came from different sides of the world. How did they find each other? It would be so amazing to hear that love story from beginning to end,” I recalled Vickies words in my head.

Him

“Hey Darnell. Bro, let me talk to you real quick” he sighs. There’s this girl that I like…. I mean woman. I see her every day at the store, she must be following me or something. Anyway, she’s beautiful, smart and she seems like she’s got it all together. I know she’s smart because we went to Herkimer University together. She was in my economics class in college, and she doesn’t even remember me. I wanted to reach for her hand the last time she walked past me. The only reason that I didn’t do it is because I forgot her name.”

“Oh, no! what woman has you going all soft on me man?” Darnell asked.

“It’s nothing like that bro. I just think she’s an intriguing woman.”

“Oh, she’s intriguing?” Darnell mimicked. 

“Maybe it’s a good thing that she doesn’t remember me,” he said kicking at a rock on the ground. “Then again, maybe I should introduce myself as Charlie. It’s hard to believe that she wouldn’t remember a man named Eve.” 

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