I lean against my usual pillar in the plaza and tip my cup back and forth to swirl the milky curls of white around the dark roast’s deeply rich brown liquid. Looking ahead with my swirling cup, I watch the people pass and interact with each other in their very predictable ways.
There’s a young couple, the woman slender and waif-like. The young man excitedly strokes her back and cups her elbow as they inspect the fresh fruits and vegetables from Mr. Edmund’s wares. The young loves are blissfully happy with each other and they practically float through the colorful market stalls, completely oblivious to the older couple heading into the market from the street. The older woman walks sternly and insistently a few steps ahead of her defeated looking husband. Her head is held high and defiant while his hangs low and dejected.
So it goes.
I chuckle softly, take a sip of my coffee, and feel the liquid warm my throat gently before it smoothly travels to my empty belly.
And I listen for her.
Steps ring out behind my pillar, softly at first, and, growing gradually louder and louder, the footsteps eventually become tangible waves of sound that travel to meet my feet.
I close my eyes and listen closely.
This one’s steps are short and light. Her heels click quickly on the sun-bleached bricks of the plaza. Her steps sound as though she is short, in stature and in temper. It seems like she is wearing a pencil skirt with how short her steps are, and her heels are the dull click of shorter heels. Her steps are unattractive. I imagine her, small and bitter, with a pinstriped skirt suit, and big calves. She’s probably overweight, dumpy even, and scowling.
I keep my eyes closed until her footsteps are well past my pillar. Slowly, I open my eyes to see a rotund woman in a grey pencil skirt scurrying away with a grumpy expression. Laughing inwardly, I tilt my cup ever so slightly in her direction and silently wish that stranger a happier day.
With the game afoot, I settle in to listen to the women of the town as they begin their mornings walking through the plaza. Most people don’t realize the intimacy that a footstep holds; they miss the gentle clues that a footstep gives as the foot is placed on the ground. I like to think that the manner in which a woman walks alludes to her state of mind, of her most intimate fears and desires. And because since no one listens closely to footsteps, there is no reason for a woman to hide her feelings and alter her steps. Confidence, anxiety, excitement, fear, tenacity…all can be heard if people would just listen. They don’t. So I do.
I don’t listen for the men. Their clomping hooves sound as brutish as their minds.
As the marketplace fills, the waves of footsteps vibrate my feet almost incessantly, and it becomes harder to discern the different steps and match them to their owner. So I close my eyes for good and stop trying to see if I can determine owners. I wait for the step that will cause me to open my eyes, the footfalls that will be impossible to resist.
There are a few that catch my ears, with confidence and intent, but they are too similar to others I’ve heard before. I’m not listening for just another step that will creak the floorboard on my second stair in the early hours of the morning. I’m listening for…her.
That’s it, that’s the one.
I can practically feel her heel strike the ground with the solid intent that comes from a woman who knows she walks over the souls of abashed men daily and isn’t afraid to grind her heels in just a little deeper. While strong, her steps are fluid and graceful, and I can just imagine her tiny white toes peeking from the end of her brightly colored, I’m sure, heels.
Clenching my eyes closed more tightly, I let my mind travel further up the vibrations that passed from her feet to mine. Before the vibrations met my feet, they would move upwards through her body, gently shaking her thighs and hips, causing her tits to sway slightly and brush against her arms as she crossed them in front of her. The vibrations I felt also move her, and we share in this sensation as it affects us both.
Her steps shake me, and my eyes remain closed. She moves past my pillar with no hesitation in her steps and the height of her vibrations leaves me weak and wanting more. I can do two things: I can open my eyes and watch her as she moves past me, to see if she is the one I’ve been listening for…or I can remain still and blinded, hoping that she is my waif-like elbow in the market or my defiant face in the street.
I can see and know, or I can listen and remain hopeful.
Her steps begin to fade the longer I wait, and every thought of the past and future seems to disintegrate with the fading vibrations until I can hear no more, and I am left alone in the present.
Opening my eyes, I look at my empty coffee cup and smile.