Megan noticed, as all women learn to at one point or another, that it was taking all of the effort that he had to keep his eyes aimed at hers. Upon reaching his car, she had realized her power, his vulnerability. And who said she wasn’t spontaneous? Gary had said it. She wished her boyfriend could see her there in her spontaneous splendor. Maybe it just took a traffic jam, but the impulsiveness, what did he call it, “just live-life” was there. She could be whimsical if, of course, someone wasn’t there closing in on her, stifling anything that didn’t directly benefit him. What did it matter that she was standing there naked, well, naked with orange sneakers on.in front of a stranger? It was liberating, refreshing! Effervescent? It made her think of a commercial for something minty and fresh. Now if only she had some iced tea. Though naked, she was still quite hot.
She looked at the stranger again; all of this, of course, only taking seconds, and felt a second surge of power.
She knocked on his window.
He rolled it down, partially.
She briefly wondered if hers and this stranger’s were the only cars among hundreds with manual windows, if this bound them somehow.
Once he rolled the window to its bottommost position and his hand returned to his lap, she spoke, “Pardon me. Do you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”
Grey Poupon? She was disappointed. She knocks on a stranger’s window naked in the middle of the worst traffic jam she had ever seen and all she could think of was Grey Poupon and those commercials from her childhood. Her confidence deflated, a proofed dough roughly handled. Grey Poupon. She had never understood those commercials, why people were using mustard in their cars anyway. A mustard stain is nearly impossible to get out, decidedly bad choice for vehicular snacking. Besides, if the stuff was that damn good, you’d think these people would keep a box of it in the trunk or at least know a complete stranger wouldn’t be eager to part with his beloved goldenrod condiment.
“Grey Poupon?” The man asked.
“Grey Poupon,” she confirmed. Suddenly she felt laughter explode from within. Or maybe she was just laughing because her hair tickled her back. She laughed loudly, wildly and with all of her soul the first time in years. Certainly it was the first time since she had started dating Gary. Besides she had, as a child always wanted to give someone that line. In fact, she had begged her parents to let her do it. By the time she got her own car she was too embarrassed by it, painted by the elements not by some besmocked guy in a garage. to stop anyone for anything. But now, years later, she and that car had successfully acted out a childhood fantasy. She had done something she had always wanted to do, fulfilled her most longstanding dream. She felt good again, inspired. She could create a website about becoming your true self. She noticed the silence between herself and the man with the manual windows. Hoping she wasn’t too late, she offered, “I always wanted to ask someone that.”
She watched for his reaction. He almost looked scared. She had never seen a man look afraid of her. Intimidated, sure, after all women tend to hold the upper hand when it comes to certain sexual aspects, especially if she has the demeanor of someone who has experienced stronger, taller, smarter or otherwise better men. His apparent hint of fear made her feel good.
“Ironic,” she started, “men spend most of their scheming a way to get women naked and here you are…a naked woman strides right up to your car window and you look frightened.”
“You’re naked. On the highway. That is frightening.” He responded to her calmly and logically , punctuating his statement with an audible deep breath. He made her think he was a mathematician.
“What’s there to be afraid of?”
“Lots of things. There’s plenty to be afraid of.” At that moment, for example, he wondered if she had crabs and if she did whether one of them could jump from her crotch to his eyebrow or moustache.
“You know I’m not hiding anything, nowhere to hide it.” She pauses, thinking “these,” spreading her endless, sculpted arms like a television menace basking in the brilliance of a nefarious plot, “these people are the scary ones.” She turns around slowly, completes each and every one of three hundred sixty degrees, feeling like a superstar. “They could be hiding anything.”
She looked at him again. A searching look and found that he looked disinterested. She bored him. Here she was wearing only a pair of bright orange sneakers and a sticky, sweaty, film and she couldn’t even hold his attention. She was offended. His car has manual windows and he’s bored! He doesn’t even deserve to be bored.
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