Kim, the diverted
I sat down next to Kim on an F-train out of Boerum Hill on purpose. I’d noticed her reading Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together on the platform, and I found myself stalking her impulsively. She seemed new to the city, or maybe a tourist, the way her eyes wandered across the mostly empty train, taking note of the ads for hack lawyers and language schools, the grab bag of old and new Brooklynites. She wasn’t hardened to the terrible reality of New York, that there are too many people to give a fuck about any of them.
As I sat down, I pulled out my notebook, and started writing haiku, specifically about who I thought Kim might be.
Out of town woman
Never feels like a tourist
She lives where she is
Grad student dimples
Smiles when she thinks about
All her friends shit jobs
I wasn’t even on to the third one, when I caught her looking at my notepad, and traded her a sheepish smirk for her quizzical half smile. She’d been heading to Paris, from Denver, to visit a friend, but volcanic ash over Europe had stranded her at JFK two days ago and it was unclear when or if she’d be able to continue her trip.
“My college roommate who I kind of hate is letting me stay on her couch. We were maybe going to go out tonight,” she tells me over a cup of earl grey in the MoMA cafe.
“I think I’m still trying to get over my big ex, but I also might be in denial about whether or not she was my big ex or not.” I tell her over dinner at a-hip-corrugated-iron-table-snout-to-tail restaurant in Williamsburg.
“This isn’t who I think I am,” she tells me as she removes her tank top back at my apartment.
“This isn’t who I think I am, either,” I tell her in the morning, when I catch her looking at herself in my closet mirror. “This isn’t who I want to be either.” I convince her to stay with me until her trip resumes. She obliges, though maybe only because she really doesn’t like her old roommate.
“Is this just a meaningless fling?” She asks me, out of the silence, as we walk down the boulevard, holding hands. I don’t answer immediately.
“This doesn’t feel meaningless to me,” I say, breathlessly, as we make out furiously outside of my brownstone, “and it doesn’t have to be a fling”. She pulls away, a bit, and her eyes kind of water, and she makes this barely audible whimper that absolutely melts me, and I pull her close and hold her.
“I want to come to Denver,” I tell her, over a grapefruit breakfast.
“There’s something kind of perfect about you, like you mix a joyful sensibility with a deep melancholy in like, the most perfect way…..” I whisper to her, right as she’s drifting off to sleep.
She turns to me and says, “Knox, I’m going to see my boyfriend in Paris tomorrow. My flight came through.”
I stare at the ceiling and wonder.
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Tags: fiction, heartbroken, kim, knox dupree, stories of hearbreak