I was fourteen when I met him--a skeletal rendition of a woman I had the possibility to become--naïve and never kissed. My jeans were baggy on my nonexistent hips and the fabric was ample enough to obscure my platform shoes. I wore a too big collared polo shirt that I had stolen from my older brother and silver rings on almost all my fingers.
It was the summer before my sophomore year of high school and most days were spent at my mother's Laundromat in the West Village doling change, cleaning lint filters, handing out dryer sheets and single serving packets of powdered soap. He walked in with a guitar case slung over one shoulder, a bulging bag of dirty clothes over the other. Hair hung in loose unwashed curls over his sad eyes and around his thin, white neck. He wore a simple white t-shirt and faded black jeans fitted tight to his narrow calves and he cleared his throat before he handed me three dollar bills and asked for quarters.
His soft voice had a buttery quality to it and I knew that when he sang, it was the kind of sound that weighed people down, made them slouch in their seats and close their eyes.
I avoided his eyes as I carefully counted out the coins but looked at him eagerly when I placed them into his hands. He hadn't looked at me at all up to this moment but when he finally did, he gave a few seconds of pause to take in my face before mumbling a soft "thank you," and walking away.
I pretended to read a book as I watched him load clothes into two separate machines taking care to sort colors and check pockets for loose change. When he was done he took note of the time and walked out into the steamy late June evening returning forty minutes later so I could watch him load them into a dryer and back again in an hour so I could watch him fold.
My mother wondered why I wanted to come to the store more days after that. I told her I was saving to buy a computer.
Two and a half weeks pass before my anonymous white boy--ten years my senior--reappears and this time my mother is with me behind the counter where I am writing in a marble notebook. My eyes shoot towards the door as they have grown accustomed to every time I hear the vacuum kiss of it swinging open and when I see him, I immediately look down, feeling my face fill with blood.
I find it so strange that I'm fine with posting aspects about my life but I feel wholly uncomfortable showing people my fiction.