Pizza in the Park
By Geoffrey C Porter
The voice I called Jack said not to do it. The serpentine voice that whispered like a ghost and sent shivers like lightning down my spine said begin. I donned my shoes, for I had often been caught without them in dire straights. I left my apartment and headed towards city center. The wind felt good in my hair, and I pondered whether it would rain. A voice in my head reminded me that my cat was being a dick lately. I approached the campus, and a woman about my age sat reading in the park.
I walked briskly up to her and knelt down in the grass casting a shadow over her book. She looked up at me with a gleam of hatred in her eyes. I said, “Hi, my name is Jason.”
She looked back down at her book.
I said, “What’s your name?”
“I am trying to read.”
“Is the book any good?”
She looked back up at me. I smiled my nicest smile and tried to keep her eyes focused on mine. A shiver of golden ecstasy ran up and down my spine as was so frequent when my soul felt the urge. Her eyes were green, and her hair was long and brown. She had a round face and soon her frown turned into a smile. She glanced down at my body sizing me up. Then she looked back at her book and gingerly folded one corner of the page over. She closed the book and set it aside. She glanced off in the distance.
She said, “No, the book isn’t very good.”
I held out my hand and said, “I’m Jason.”
“Do you always talk to strangers in parks, Jason?”
I smiled. “Only if they are beautiful.”
“Ha! Does that line ever work for you?”
The serpentine voice whispered, Tell her you’ll kill for her.
I sighed. “It hasn’t been working lately. You still haven’t told me your name.”
“And what makes you think I’m going to?”
Jack said, Tell her you have a cat. Tell her about Nathan.
I looked her in the eye and said, “I can be very persuasive.”
“What, you’re some kind of hypnotic vampire, and you’re going to hypnotize me?”
“I’m not a vampire. I’m just a lonely boy looking for a lonely girl.”
“Well, I’m not a lonely girl, so find someone else.”
“But you don’t have a boyfriend. If you had a boyfriend you would have said that a long time ago.”
“I might have a boyfriend. He might be the jealous type. Scurry on to your next conquest.”
One of the nameless voices howled, She lies!
I grinned one of my best toothy grins and caught her eyes with mine. I reached out my hand to just below her chin and gently lifted her chin until she was at the perfect angle for me to kiss her. I whispered, “I want to know your name.”
She pushed my hand away from her face. She shook her head no. She picked her book back up and lay down on the grass on her back with the book held open above her face. I lay down in the grass next to her. She didn’t turn away or anything.
I lay there staring at her breasts for a few minutes. She seemed content to read. Then she turned and faced me. “Go away, Jason.”
Jack said, Do something! You’re losing her.
“I’m 23,” I said. “Perfectly heterosexual. I just finished college a month ago. I have an apartment of my own. I have a cat named Nathan. I’m drug and disease free. I don’t drink. I’m kinda ugly and fat, granted.”
She rolled over on the grass away from me and opened her book.
“Would you like a coffee or something?” I said. “There’s a shop near here. I could use a coffee.”
She ignored me.
Promise her the world.
She turned to face me. Her eyes bored into mine like green gemstones. I said, “Your eyes are so beautiful. I could look into your eyes forever.”
“Has this ever worked, Jason? Just walking up to a girl in the park and nagging them to death when they’re trying to read?”
I smiled at her and said, “This is the first time I have been so inspired by beauty that I had no choice but to try anything.”
“Ha! You weave wicked lies!”
Feed her to the trolls in the basement.
She was smiling though. I said, “What about pizza? We could go get a slice of pizza.”
Jack said, Reach out and grab her. Touch her.
“Bring me a slice of pepperoni and a diet soda, and maybe I’ll still be here reading if you are quick enough, and I don’t come to my senses.”
In a great unison of voices, I heard, Yes! Then I hopped to my feet and took off in a run to compete with the Olympiads towards the pizza place. Four blocks never flew by so quickly as I crossed on the don’t walk signs dodging between moving cars with their horns blaring. I ordered two slices of pepperoni, a bottle of diet pepsi, and a bottle of water. They gave me a box and bag.
I started sprinting back towards the park careful not to bounce and shake the soda. I sat down next to her and held out the pizza box. Find out her name.
She grabbed up a slice of pizza and took a bite. She smiled.
I grabbed the other slice and started eating. I finished first and waited just staring at her face memorizing it for future reference. When she swallowed the last bite, I said, “What’s your name?”
She said, “Thank you for the pizza, Jason. I think I should be going.”
“Where are you going to go? Will you still be alone when you get there?”
She scowled at me. “No, my roommate will be around. I’m almost never alone.”
“But, you sleep alone don’t you? I hate sleeping alone.”
“I don’t mind sleeping alone. You’re cute, Jason, and I have to admire you for effort, but I don’t enter into relationships with strangers.”
I reached out and grabbed her hand with mine and then held it tight. I kissed it on the knuckles and let it go. I stared into her eyes. Kiss her you fool.
I leaned in close to kiss her. She didn’t back away. I kissed her on the lips, and she trembled in return. I put my arms around her and squeezed her tight feeling her breasts push on my chest. She pushed me away. She said, “I can’t do this.”
“It’s perfectly natural, baby. My apartment isn’t far.”
“Come on, my car is this way.”
She led the way, and we climbed in her car. I gave her directions, and we parked outside my apartment. Don’t do anything stupid.
We went inside my apartment and embraced in a kiss. I picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. We stripped naked and went at it. Afterwards I lay there breathing next to her and said, “You never told me your name.”
She sat up in bed. Then she climbed out of bed. She got dressed and made to leave. I said, “Don’t leave without telling me your name.”
“Maybe someday, I’ll be in the park again, and you can ask me then.”
I went and took a shower. Steam coated the mirrored glass above the sink. I wiped away at the condensation and stared into my own eyes as I realized Jack stared back at me, and now it would be Jack’s turn to find her. Jack knew he would find her, either in the pub on third, the coffeehouse on fifth, or the park in city center. He would find her, and she would be his for one more night only to escape to wherever she hid when they weren’t together.