I follow a couple; a man and woman, strolling, holding hands.
Attempting to keep step with him, I hold out my hand as though I have a woman walking with me.
What is it that people enjoy about this?
Another young man and woman are riding the escalator, kissing as they ascend and I descend. Mentally, I take his place.
Is this what everyone wants? Do men and women desire to lose control of their emotions, their liberty, their personal space?
Standing inside a women’s clothing store are two men. They are awkwardly holding women’s handbags, waiting. I join them in the store as the owners of the handbags, the significant others, emerge from the changing stalls.
This is madness.
Shinelle paid no attention to me when we were teens. She was more interested in the fun guys; the ones who ran around playing sports and partying. Years later, I happen upon her at a shopping centre. She has gained several pounds and now finds me attractive. She asks me to walk with her as she shops for shoes.
I stand with her in the shoe store waiting for the clerk to bring her size. This is not at all pleasurable. Why would anyone need company to buy shoes? The clerk returns with shoes a size too small. Shinelle loudly berates her for the error. I excuse myself and leave her to her shopping.
I am introduced to Abigail at a mutual friends barbecue. She invites me out to see a movie with her. When we meet she inspects my clothing, telling me that she approves, however my shirt is too formal a choice for my shoes. We debate whether a plaid shirt can be called formal wear.
This is insane. I don’t care what she thinks. Why am I even here?
We stand looking at the posters, deciding which movies we would both enjoy. I silently wonder when choosing a film became a democracy.
I am shopping for a new pair of jeans when I run into Asha. She invites herself along and begins to give me her opinion on which fit she prefers on a man.
Marcia is in pain. I am told that it is a discomfort that runs on a monthly schedule. She is in urgent need of pain-suppressing medication and I offer to assist. At the pharmacy, I ask the druggist to provide me with what things appear on my list. She smiles. She finds it adorable that a boyfriend would perform these duties for his loved one. I’m at a drug store getting medication. There is nothing adorable about it. As a matter of fact, I am not even her boyfriend; he is probably off somewhere having a good time.
Is this what love is? Is this the goal? Is this what men and women want?
I walk into another store and there is no one there. Suddenly, a scent hits me, like a slap in the face; a woman is approaching. The odor is not perfume, but it is mixed with it. It is a scent from the pores. A spice-like pheromone, somewhat sharp. The female store clerk emerges from a back room. She is attractive. Her skin glistens. The scent is too strong today; I leave…