9 a.m. Kate steps out of her Over-the-Rhine apartment, toting an umbrella and avoiding puddles as she travels. A few strides from her gate, she's joined by a stranger. A young man in low, baggy jeans and a big yellow parka.
This is their conversation. The words and actions in this piece are not embellished in any way.
Young man: Hi. I like your shoes. He states as eyes gaze at her black flats and bare, super white legs. His eyes creep up her legs to the knee length hem of her black dress.
Kate: Thanks. She says with an acknowledging smile.
Young man: What kind of shoes are those? He stares intently at her feet.
Kate: Unsure of the direction of the conversation. She hesitates. She lies. Um, they're just some shoes I got at DSW.
Young man: No, but what brand of shoe are they? He says insistently.
Kate: Again, she lies. Um, they're Nine West. (They're Cole Haan).
Young man: Slightly bending to get a better look. And what size feet do you have?
Kate: 10 She says with a smile and raised eyebrow, questioning the direction of the conversation.
Young man: Yeah, I like women with size 10 feet, he says while staring at Kate's face.
Kate tries to pick up her stride a bit, but he matches her pace.
Young man: So, do you work downtown. Kate nods.
Young man: And you live downtown, too, He says, surmising such based on the direction of Kate's walk. Kate nods.
Young man: And do you live alone? His face turns to her, staring intently at her eyes.
Kate: No, I live with my boyfriend, she says confidently and with a smile, even though it is a complete fabrication.
Young man: Staring off into the distance, Oh. I didn't even know you lived with your boyfriend. I didn't even know that.
They walk a few more yards, side by side.
Young man: Okay then. Well I have to go. He picks up his pace and turns a corner.
Kate proceeds to the corner of Central and Main to the bus stop at the courthouse. Peacefully listening to APM's Dinner Party Download podcast, she waits beneath her umbrella for Rt. 43.
Young man strides up Main Street, the opposite direction in which he and Kate were previously traveling. He walks up to her.
Young man: Hi. Are you waiting for the 43? Again, he looks at her black, patent leather flats.
Kate: I am, she says politely but in a manner that is not overly friendly.
Young man: Furrowed brow, considering the implications of her statement. So do you work in Roselawn?
Young man: But you work on Reading Road, don't you?
Kate: mildly perturbed, Yes.
Young man: And where do you work?
Kate: Simply stated. At United Way.
Young man: Where is that?
Kate: She considers lying, but knows he will see the truth when he sees her get off the bus. It's on Reading near Burnet.
Young man: Oh. Okay. I didn't even know you lived with your boyfriend. I didn't even know, he stares at her face.
Kate steps away from him and looks down Main Street to see if she can see the bus. Young man continues to look at her face. She then shifts her gaze toward Central Parkway and the Emory. He continues to look at her face. He turns away.
The bus arrives. It is almost full. They both board. Young man chooses a seat in the front area available for disabled people. Kate is forced to choose a remaining seat in the front row, just a few seats away from Young man. He looks at her shoes. They continue on the ride, Kate listening to her podcast and Young man alternately looking out the window, at Kate's face and her shoes.
A young woman gets on the bus. She is curvy and weighed down by several bags. Young woman sits on the seat across the aisle from Kate, facing Young man.
Young man: Hello. Are you having a good morning?
Young woman: Hi, yes, I am. Thank you. Smiling.
Young man: Do you live alone? he asks quietly.
Young woman: Uh, no. I live with my man. Her expression changes from kindness to defense.
Young man: Of course you do, with a smile like that. He shifts his eyes from Young woman to Kate, again looking at her face and shoes.
The bus approaches Kate's stop. She gets off swiftly, without so much as a smile at Young man.
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.