“How many reasons are there for losing yourself? No, no, let’s not get into that. Too complicated, too bizarre. Something simpler: How often do you change your socks? It’s a simple question, but I’ve always been the kind of person who wondered if anyone would notice if non-smelly, dark-colored socks would be fine to re-wear. I mean, they’re not noticeable, right? And isn’t that the point?
“The point, yes. Well, I think it says a lot about you. After all, so many things we do is in anticipation for, let’s face it, advancement with the opposite sex. So, maybe it means something. The socks, that is. If you change them everyday, does it mean you’re doing it for yourself? Or are you doing it for that person who’ll come your way? It’s an internal issue; you’re the only one who really knows. So, is it about confidence or insecurity? Is it about the superficial or the truth? Does it really matter? Does it really make a difference?”
Something was off with her breathing. I don’t think she stopped, probably just slowed down. Maybe I said something that struck her silly. She just kept on staring at me. The amber-colored lighting was reflecting off the wooden walls and into her eyes. Very sullen and very warm. The jazz band continued pumping out some cool Stan Getz. I think I had a bit too much to drink. But whatever, I stared back.
“You do this often?” She kept on staring, but somehow had those words flow out of her mouth. She had style. Style. The kind you cannot buy or steal or walk away with from the local brothel. You had to be born, and you had to be discovered.
“Do what? Talk? Kind of.” I stretched my left shoulder a bit.
“I meant asking random girls out on the subway. I hope it’s not an everyday thing, because that would scare me a bit.”
“Yeah? No, no. I don’t. I don’t.”
“Then why me?”
“Convenience? I’ll be honest: Everyday, I’ll see a few girls who take my breath away. Usually, though, I’m in a hurry. Or I don’t feel like doing something spontaneous. But most often, I just don’t have the guts. But with you it was different. Not because you were super special or some incredulous hogwash a twenty year old gigolo might spit out at you, no, that was not it at all. It just worked out. I mean, it’s not often that a girl that catches my eye is somehow sitting next to me on the subway—of all the hundreds of different trains, thousands of seats possible—reading the same exact book. It was too perfect, too coincidental not to try something. So I did.”