The time: Nine in the evening on a delightfully warm late March evening.
The place: Right-most elevator in my apartment building -- that is, the one with the extra button that always confuses people.
The people: Me, wearing a tight long-sleeved blue t-shirt and brown corduroys. Sneakers, no bra, and toting a shivering wide-eyed black chihuahua. Her, wearing an over-sized, stained white t-shirt and velvety pink PJ bottoms. Flip-flops, and a basket full of neatly folded laundry.
"Oooh, he's so cute," she says, gazing at my dog with eyes the same moist bistre hue as his. Her lips are curved into a shy smile, making it hard for me to tell her age; late twenties? She looks tired, though, as though the children whose clothes she is toting about have worn her out utterly.
"He's my ferocious guard puppy!" I quip, my usual reply, and we share a short laugh. The elevator doors slide shut, as I realize I've forgotten to press the button for my floor.
I extend my arm just as she does, asking me, "Which floor?" and our fingertips brush. Though the dog cringes back fearfully, I move my hand away slowly, and she looks up at me through her eyelashes. She's shorter than me, older than me, bustier than me, and, for the moment, I'm absolutely infatuated with her.
I exhale, "Eight," and rock back on my heels, studying her. I must be imagining things -- that can't be invitation in that gentle, round face. Her lips are pursed, not puckered. Her stance, with the out-thrust hip, isn't to make curves for my eyes, but for balancing the weight she carries. Those same fingertips that touched me aren't stroking the laundry basket, but tapping it impatiently.
We don't speak. Airy curls of pale wheaten hair have escaped from the tortoise-shell clip confining them, and I make a pretense of looking at anything but where they stroke the soft white skin of her throat, because I am certainly not debating how that flesh would smell, or taste, or feel...
The elevator grinds to a stop and the door rattles open. "Buh-bye," she says, and instead of immediately stepping out as I usually do, I bend over and set the dog down. He promptly starts racing down the hall to our door, leash flailing behind him. "Knows where he lives, mmm?"
"Mmmm..." I agree. I'm blushing. "Have a night nice! Nice night!" I'm stumbling over my words and nearly my feet as I step into the hallway.
"You too!" She leans forward -- dear God, there's a little slash in her shirt collar, over her breasts, and it's not as though I can see anything besides her collarbone, but the blush grows deeper -- and presses the DOOR CLOSE button.
I rush to the apartment, toss a treat to the dog, and strip down. My bed looks inviting and as soon as I close the door (otherwise the puppy will come in and disturb me) I'm on it, spread-eagled, stroking myself.
Did she think of me? Was I reading too much into her actions? Did she go up to her husband when she got home -- she was wearing a wedding ring -- and pull him into the bedroom? Is she feeling good that she aroused such feelings in me? Does she even know? Before the questions are done running through my head, I've come.
I'm lusting after someone's mother.