I was driving home from work when I saw a woman walking along the side of the street. I slowed down and she turned to look at me and our eyes met. She had piercing, dark eyes. Framed by thin, delicate eyebrows and dark, long lashes. She had a beautiful, soulful smile that could light up the darkest room. I felt my heart clutch in response to her beauty. I immediately felt drawn to her. I couldn't take my eyes off her. She looked like someone from a small town where everyone knows each other. But tonight, I would swear, she must be the most beautiful woman in the big city.
I had to introduce myself to her.
I pulled over to the side of the road to ask her where she was headed. Could she use a ride? I opened my car door and got out.
I reached my hand out to her and said, "Hi! My name is Evan."
From this distance, I could tell she was wearing a wig because it seemed heavy and her lipstick looked drawn on. Yet, as she came closer, I also noticed that she had high cheekbones which made me want to kiss her full lips.
She nodded and picked at a loose string on her cardigan. Then smiled with those pearly white teeth before saying "Hi Evan!" in a voice that could charm any man with one word. It made me want to kiss her more and explore the rest of the soft skin on her body. I looked around for something else to say and noticed her fingers were bitten down to the bone.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Well," I said, glancing at my watch for what felt like the hundredth time that day. "It's not even that late. Are you free tonight?"
"I just wanted to get a drink before dinner," she said, her voice thick and raspy from too much vodka.
I looked away from her eyes and noticed her shirt was halfway up her stomach and she hadn't bothered to button it.
"I can take care of you," I said and softly touched her chin.
"No, it's okay, I'm going to walk around for a bit."
"It's too cold," I said, looking at her again. "Are you sure that is a good idea?"
"I'm sure," she insisted.
I pulled my hand away and noticed the way her pale skin contrasted with her dark hair under the street lamp. She truly was beautiful - like in all those movies I would watch with my dad. The ones where the women were always beautiful and mysterious. I felt drawn deeper into her dark eyes that danced with something too primal for words.
She smiled, and my heart skipped a beat. "What's your name again?" she asked.
I opened my mouth to answer, but before I could, she bit her lip and shook her head.
"Never mind." She leaned in and our lips touched for the briefest of moments. It felt like a bolt of lightning that struck me in the heart, making it race and my knees go weak. "Of course, you can give me a ride."
We talked for a bit more before she got into my car. When I started driving, I glanced over and saw her hand on her lap in a way that made me think she was nervous. I could feel my heart speed up in response to how she looked. Those dark eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses and her long red hair hitched up into an untidy bun. A goddess on earth.
"You're good at this," she said. "I can tell you've done this lots."
"There's a lot of driving around to get done in the city," I said. "And I love to drive."
She nodded, leaned back in her seat, closed her eyes for a minute then opened them and looked out the window.
Finally, she spoke. "That is a sad story," said the young woman in the seat next to me.
I looked at her and shrugged. She nodded, leaned back in her seat, and closed her eyes again.
I listened to the conversation on the radio for a while. It was a pleasant enough sound of voices, but it soon became annoying and I found myself starting to feel afraid. I flicked it off and looked at my speedometer, then back at the young woman and saw that she had opened her eyes again.
"What's your name?" I asked, without thinking.
She stared at me for a moment and said nothing. She took in a breath and seemed about to speak when a bus in front of my car stopped with a jolt. The woman looked away, closed her eyes, and leaned back. I looked over at the bus driver, but he was already moving.
It left a bad taste in my mouth.
"What's your name?" I asked again.
There was another jolt as I pulled up to the curb outside a tall square building of light gray stone blocks. Water trickled down its front.
The woman opened her eyes and said nothing.
"What's your name?" I demanded.
There was an ugly light in the woman's eyes now, and she stared straight ahead with a satisfied look on her face. It made me angry.
Then shaking her head slowly from side to side she spoke in a whisper that barely rose above the noise of the traffic, "I don't know." I slowed down and looked at her, but she was asleep again. I pulled up a little farther and put the car in park.
"What's your name?" I asked softly.
There was no answer. I leaned over, caught her by the shoulders, and shook her gently.
"What's your name?"
I didn't get any response to that either, but I saw the woman's eyes suddenly fill with tears.
"What's your name?" I asked, shaking her again.
"I don't know," she said in a weak, despairing voice.
"You don't know?"
She shook her head. "I don't remember."
"Can't you remember anything?" I asked.
"Not now," she said. Her eyes closed and she relapsed into unconsciousness. I was about to move on when a policeman in uniform came up to my driver's window and rapped his baton against the glass.
"You can't stop here," he said gruffly, pointing to the sign that forbade parking for over two hours.
"Why not?" I asked.
"This is a no-parking zone."
"But I'll just be a moment," I said. "I'll pay the fine."
The policeman looked down at his watch. "It's two minutes to nine," he said briefly and walked on without another word.
I stared at her for a moment, then jumped out of the car and ran up the steps to the building. The woman lay back limply, still without moving or speaking. I didn't realize I was crying until I felt the tears running down my face.
"It's hopeless," I muttered thickly.