Inspired by Monocle’s Signals
The bus doors clapped open. The smell of diesel and hot pavement shoved passed her. The man next to her tucked his newspaper under his arm. She could smell him: the rich smell of his dark skin, the pungent odor of newsprint against his ribs, the beading salt on his forehead. She may have glanced at him. His arms were muscular, though he was older. He wore dress pants and his white collared shirt was rolled above his elbows. He might have been an office worker, but if he were, he didn’t spend the day sitting. She also may have quickly turned away when his attention turned to her, her knee length skirt, her sleeveless top.
He was taking her in: her size, then her gait as she stepped from the bus to the sidewalk, the way her top followed the inviting lift of her spine. She didn’t look at him again, but she knew he was appraising her, and she knew that when she stepped into her favorite smoothie bar, he sat on the bench outside and opened the paper. She ordered a banana smoothie with coconut milk, wheat grass and spirulina. As she waited, her heartbeat skated on a thin breath and her breath took from her tongue like an apprehensive bird. Her name was called. She didn’t hear the barista at first. Her name was called again and she reached over the high glass countertop to take the smoothie. Bottoms up, said the barista.
She thanked the barista, hitched her shoulder bag over her shoulder, and sipped the smoothie. She was always careful about what she put in her body. She took care of herself. The muscles of her abdomen were taut and she walked lightly with the gait of a runner. And when she walked out of the store he folded his newspaper and stood. Her gaze turned downward. He strode slowly into the sidewalk ahead of her. He was looking at her, at her body, at having decided. She pretended not to notice, first his fingers on her forearm, then up her arm, then over her shoulder, then taking her hair once she had stepped past him and he behind her. Then there was no more ignoring. He held her, head drawn back, his breath at her neck as though to smell her skin.
There was no exchange of words. He bent her over. Her shoulder bag slipped from her shoulder to the sidewalk. He slid a foot between hers and spread her legs. She still held the smoothie, heard the sliding metal of his belt buckle, then the zipper, then her own voiced surprise as he firmly opened her from behind. After that he was efficient, grunting with the heat and effort. She placed a hand palm-down on the sidewalk, supporting herself though he firmly held her hips. She looked up at the other pedestrians but they had their own chores and places to be.
His size made her her spread her legs wider, made her eyes wider, made her mouth open as wide as she was opened. She was answering each thrust with her own startled cries as still held the smoothie. When he drew her tight against himself she moaned, head thrown back. His fluids filled her from behind. The customers behind the panes of glass only glanced at them momentarily. He didn’t take long before he breathed again, emptying himself with a last shudder. He tightened his belt. He zipped. He tucked his newspaper under his arm and stepped by her as if nothing at all had happened. His pants were tight on his hips and ass. She noticed as she stood. She lifted her shoulder bag back over her shoulder and pressed her palm over her lower abdomen, where he was inside her now. She sipped the smoothie—the cool fluid descending and the warm fluid rising into her womb.