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Further back than I care to accept, before I moved out of NYC, but right on the cusp of my exit to supposed greener pastures, I pulled into a gas station in the Bronx community of Riverdale.

I just stood there watching her walk back to the pump, as I filled my tank. I wasn’t prepared for the paralysis, nor the seductive irony of her baseball cap with a giant generic M on it, as it coincided with my decision just weeks earlier to switch to my middle name in mid life.

The rest is hard to describe in ordinary terms, which is why I wrote the following run-on sentence later that week after we met for dinner. It just flowed out of me. There was just no end to it.

A day or two later, I presented her with this thing. It left her speechless. Just like I planned. 😉

She deserved it. Not because she did anything special, but because anyone who brings passion and creativity out of someone else deserves to know about it. People have power over one another. It’s not always deliberate. It’s sometimes by accident.

I can’t quite remember her name, Mara? Meg? But, I remember…her.

One sentence.

Suddenly my mind lost direction, and lapsed back to that gas station, watching her pull the baseball cap off with the giant M on it, and shake that incredible head of hair in the brightest of sun lights, while waiting for her tank to be filled and coffee to arrive, but maybe sneaking a quick peek at this guy standing across the other lane, wondering if he’s looking, thinking that he is, and then, knowing that he is, so when she smiled and said hello she was totally prepared, as he comes over, probably to do his charmer routine, because that usually works and she likes it anyway, besides, he’s wearing denim and guys in denim usually know what they want, even if they act like they don’t, but she’s in one of her moods anyway, because its a brilliant day and coffee’s coming, the country’s ahead, and hey, he smiled, so what’s a girl to do but shake her head in the sun, smile back, and almost take him away with her, even though when they finally get to where they’re going she may have to run off for her four-mile ritual, which isn’t all that bad, because he can stay behind and make some kind of home cooked meal that she’d transform into a fire insurance claim anyway, so it just happens to work out perfectly, until she lands back to earth for that moment as the man from the deli kisses her cheek and breaks the spell, but she’s already decided she’ll try this guy somehow, for something, so she gives him her name and lets the gods take over, which really isn’t bad, because it’s so much easier that way since they’ve been through this since time began and are more than happy to take over and let her be on her way to the country totally alone, which is absolutely the coolest because that’s when her best inner work gets done, her deepest thoughts come out; her brain unwinds; her body relaxes; she’ll stretch the widest; reach the farthest, and its great because she knows he’ll call her, unless he’s blind and stupid, which he’s not, because he wears denim, and then, he does the charmer routine again, and the flowers smell great, because he knows it works and she’ll like it anyway, because romance and passion are fun if they are nothing else, and that’s all that matters if you think about it, because all that other serious stuff the gods can’t handle alone unless the timing’s just right, and no one knows that right off anyway, so she kicks back and relaxes because she does want to go out, and it’s an excellent idea to cozy up in that hip little restaurant she likes, where they can check each other out, which he definitely does, and soon enough finds himself swimming in her luxurious hair and hypnotically wrapped into her curving smile, which the gods seem to relish in tempting him with, as he struggles to concentrate on an intellectual point; the human condition; and a medium rare tuna steak; all of which pale in comparison to her traffic stopping beauty that sits irresistibly close to him, gazing just barely behind his eyes so he can maintain his concentration while still entranced by the way she pushes her hair, crosses her legs, and picks at the zucchini, and still he’s able to hear her voice, which hooks his ears like a song he’d play over and over because he loved the bass track, which only deepens his sudden desire of returning to the big town for more than an occasional visit, until he lands back to earth for that moment as the table one over encroaches their space and breaks the spell, but he’s already decided that she’s in his system just enough to interfere with the nerve endings that allow him to shave without nicking himself, and so, he says it was fun, kisses her cheek, and quietly deposits her eyes and lips in the little front pocket of his denims, knowing that the gods have been here since time began and are more than happy to take over.