The Thousand Yard Stare Of Love
a tall skinny older white dude stands with a short Mexican woman at the corner waiting for the light. he is talking at her aggressively and close. he loudly grabs her arm. her face is a patient megaphone. you’d think this was an argument. a fight. perhaps. but what if i told you the man appeared incredulous. watching her from two-arms-length distance as if waiting for her to come into a kind of focus, which she resisted. he spoke loudly down into her face, him holding her arm as if keeping her upright. he needed something, wanted something. I couldn’t clearly hear them and thought: money. They moved as to cross the street, but she walked away first only to stand in the middle of the intersection, while he remained at the corner, watching her. his face soft, eternally amused but somehow not angry. He looked like a hippie, a white trash sam elliott, with all the handsome charm scrubbed off him leaving long tresses of unremarkable white and gray hair. But sam elliot wouldn’t be buried in a faded red t-shirt and stone washed jeans from 1988 while standing on the corner of fruitvale and macarthur. this man looks like he called in sick for work 10 or 15 years ago and has been cool with that, baby. he follows her and is still loud. he’s a good foot or two taller and stands in front of her, almost on her toes, his hands excavating the innards of her purse. She’s not struggling, just watching and walking backwards. she turns away from him and walks off. he stands and tracks her. This happens again twice, until finally he catches up with her and digs into her purse and retrieves a phone. the woman then turns and sits next to me at the bus stop. she is a short, thick Mexican woman in black and white blouse and black pants. she tosses herself into the bus seat next to me and crosses her legs. the man stands about 20 feet away. he examines his phone, lifting it over his head as if to stare through it towards the sun. You broke it, he said examining the screen as if it were money and he searched for the watermark. You broke the hell out of it. The woman gets up and tells the man to go on and get out of here, then sits back down. Again and again, she keeps getting up and sitting back down, getting up telling him to go away then sitting back down until she finally gets up and says in halting but good enough english: get out of here… you honkey. go back to you wife. maybe she’ll give you what you want. I don’t think so. you old honkey. you Italian sausage.” satisfied she sits back down with the man still standing in the middle of the sidewalk caressing his phone, not quite amused enough to do anything with his face but remain relaxed and stare. there’s no part of this story where he walks away. Is there really a wife, anywhere, waiting for him, thinking of him, hoping he either comes back or remains here, on this street corner, forever? And what does she look like? He approaches the Mexican woman. She digs in her purse like a badger. I gotta to the store. She says. I need a diet coke. And the two walk off together like that towards the store. Getting on the bus, I wonder why no one loves me like that? Enough to cuss me out on the street then watch me to come back to them like a dog waiting to be fed.