At a bookshop
``I have a new erotic book here for you.'' How does the book shop owner know that I like erotic stories? I don't ever remember having bought one here or asking him for one. Did he guess? I look back and see the girl talking to him, early twenties, long dark golden hair, plain clothes, cute face. She smiles, not the least embarrassed by the owner's loud remark. I wonder what book it is, and what kind of stories she likes to read; if she reads much online, if she has read my favorite works, if she has read my works.
I almost go to her and ask her all these questions, but I decide against it. I realize she's probably thinking I'm shocked, and I have to suppress a laugh, only half grinning. I imagine her books, now read, arranged on a special shelf, as innocuous as all books seem when lined up and closed; all those books, filled with stories of lust and sex, depicting orgies and nights of passion, and yet written in a quiet room, the author alone, inspired by the memories, fantasies and the stories read in other lonely moments.
Maybe she would tell me that I am--that is, my pseudonym is--her favorite author. Or I could ask her if she ever read me--him--, and she'd say yes. Then I could tell her I'm him. But it wouldn't be true, actually. I'm not him; he exists as a feeble lining of stories that happened to be put together, side by side. She wouldn't understand that; even if she told me that she writes, too, and her pseudonym, which I'd recognize as one of my favorite authors. Maybe we have talked to each other before, exchanged emails. We would have a lot to talk about, over a cup of coffee, and she'd accept my invitation. We'd talk about each other's works, telling what we like, and about our own works, telling what we don't like.
The coffee cups would end empty and cold, but our eyes would be sparkling more and more. I'd ask her out for dinner, she'd smile, and her foot would be on my leg, slowly climbing.
``But it's too early for dinner,'' she'd say. ``Anything else on your mind?'' I'd ask, with a grin that should be forbidden in public places. ``I think we could discuss our techniques...'' she'd suggest, with her own version of the not-for-children grin.
I wouldn't care about the room, it would have a good bed and clean sheets, and that's all we would need right then. There'd be not much discussion. When she lies her head over my chest, hearing my heart pounding still faster than usual, it'd be already dark. We'd start to talk again, a quiet talk, almost whispered, that has none of the usual boundaries, but only touches subjects that would still matter to us if the entire world disappeared. She'd have to go, but so would I. Saying goodbye would be a little awkward. I'd want to ask her number, her name, but then it would dawn on me.
``I'll email you. Maybe we could run into each other again.''
She'd smile, she'd like that. Later I'd wonder if she was wearing a ring or not, but right then it would not matter. I'd write a short story that she alone would see through, and so would she. Maybe a few emails later we'd be back back to that bedroom. She'd scream my pseudonym, and that would settle everything. From then on, we'd refer to each other by our pseudonyms. We'd meet often in a bedroom, and later we'd start to take books and stories to read, after the first round, one reading out loud while the other finds another use for his/her mouth. And we'd comb through second-hand bookstores for those books that we enjoy together.
Of course, I couldn't do that. She'd be too proud (read: afraid of being judged) to tell me her pseudonym, and I'm too modest (read: shy) to tell her mine. And we don't let our pseudonyms to come alive, in what could be a beautiful Mary Shelley dream.