i looked at her. she pretended not to notice. she looked at me and i glanced away, smiling. smiling that i knew she knew that i had seen her. it was a game. it was all a game. i had waited for her outside. she came out. he followed. i looked at my shoes very, very intently. they talked and she shouldered her guitar.
i watched as they walked away. watched as she turned back, stared straight at me and smiled.
i followed them for several blocks, being sure to keep my distance. half a block behind, stopping for traffic, always watching her. she never looked back at me, but she knew i was there. i could tell. the way she walked. the way she touched his arm. she was touching mine. she was walking with me.
they entered the subway station. i was still a block away. i waited for the light to turn to cross the street, wondering about the rules of this game. could i follow them? was i getting too close? what if he saw me? would he ever recognize me? the light turned. i crossed. i found myself in a brisk walk and forced my steps to slow.
i reached the station and peered in. the light flickered. the stairs stank. i heard the train approaching. forgetting the rules, i dashed down the steps two at a time. the doors were open when i hit the turnstile. i fumbled in my pocket for a token. found one. dropped it in the slot, pushed through the gate.
the doors closed.
the doors closed and i was not behind them. i stared, scanning the faces in the train, seeing everyone but the one i wanted. i turned to leave.
"going somewhere?" she asked.
she was alone.