Rus VanWestervelt
and Michelle Wallace

Michelle Wallace
Inspiration Piece

Rus VanWestervelt
More Than Words

Response

“I know you keep saying you are nothing, but I find that very hard to believe.”

They rode on the subway together, strangers 6 minutes ago, now close enough to foster some semblance of friendship, he hoped. Maybe even something else.

“You just don’t get it. I am nothing, and I’m late. Again. Like always.”

The concerned rider-friend sat in front of Nothing, his left leg resting on the seat with his arm draped across the back. He was balding, had brilliant blue eyes, and stared at Nothing’s reflection in the train’s window. She was naturally perfect in every way, he thought. She wore a simple black tee shirt and torn jeans. He wasn’t sure, but he was pretty certain she was barefoot, too. She had walked on the train cat-like. Silent. He liked that.

“I just can’t believe that. If you were nothing, why would I still be here, riding with you?”

She looked as if she was taking in his words carefully, considering whether to believe him or not.

What luck brought him here today with Nothing? He wondered. There had to be a reason. The coincidences were just too strong. Earlier in the day, as he and the other cube-mates were heading across the street to the Courthouse Deli for some lunch, a black Malibu pulled up to the light while his friends gabbed incessantly about the proposed tax revisions. The woman in the passenger seat looked at them, and immediately he caught her eyes, hazy golden brown, unblinking. He smiled, lowered his eyes ever so subtly, and caught her glance quickly again as the light turned green and her boy-driver shifted into gear.

Later in the day, in the break room, Helen brought the new girl in for introductions. It was her first day on the job. He had noticed her long before most of the others had arrived a little after 9.

He was one of the more observant associates of the Rickard and Becker Group.

“This is Aliana, Jim. She’ll be working directly with Mr. Rickard until she becomes accustomed to the way we do things around here.” Helen laughed at the ridiculous innuendo, and Aliana took it in stride.

She held out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Jim.” She smiled and looked into his eyes.

“The pleasure’s mine.” He took her hand and returned the cordial shake. When they turned to leave, he watched her move down the hall, her hips shifting in the soft pull of the polka-dot poplin skirt. He looked forward to working more closely with Aliana, some day.

But now, here he was just a few hours later, face to face with another beautiful woman. A woman in need, of low self-esteem, a wayward soul that could use a little encouragement.

Support.

Companionship.

He looked at her reflection again, eyes moving down, enjoying the supple curves of her breasts. It was rare that he could be this close, stare this long, without any worries whatsoever of getting caught.

“When do you get off?”

He jerked away from her reflection and looked back into her eyes.

What did she mean by that?

“I’m sorry?” he offered.

“Your stop,” she clarified. “What stop do you get off?”

A little relieved, he looked back out the window – this time through her reflection and at the buildings they were passing. He recognized immediately where he was.

“Carrolton Street. I think that’s next.”

“Coincidence!” she smiled. “Me too!”

Coincidence indeed.

They rode the rest of the way in silence – and he assumed they were both wondering whether to change their plans once they got off the train.

When they approached Carrolton Street, he stood up first and looked down at her. He noticed, for the first time,  that she held tightly to a long cylindrical canister.

“Looks important. I can’t imagine anybody saying she is “Nothing” when carrying something so, so –“

“Big? Long?”

“I was going to say something else, but your words work just fine with me.”
He sensed suddenly that this was more than coincidence. He was certain she blushed a little in her flirting.

The train stopped. She stood up, met his eyes on level, and smiled.

“I’m feeling a little more than nothing now,” she said.

The train doors opened, and the few riders around them brushed by and exited.

She leaned in, close enough that her breasts brushed his shirt (he could feel her immediately), and whispered something in his ear.

She walked off the train. He didn’t move as the conductor issued the last call for Carrolton.

All–ll Clea-uhhh.

The doors closed, and the train’s sudden movement made him drop back in his seat, speechless. He looked out the window and watched – looking through his own reflection – as the woman he so senselessly referred to as Nothing opened the cylindrical canister and rolled out a banner. She stood next to four other girls, all dressed in their standard black and blue.

*     *     *     *     *

“Just in time, Terry. What’s the big grin for?” A woman holding a sign with the word MORE on it shed a grin herself, wondering what Terry had done this time.

“Nothing. Just having a little fun with one of our bigger offenders.”

Terry’s friends stood side by side as the train rolled along the tracks. When the last car passed, the five women stared across the street at the porn shops, filled with men identical to Jim, and raised their signs.

Terry stood next to the woman holding the MORE sign, smiled, and raised her own banner, a little regretful that Jim wasn’t here to feel the full effect of their message.

“WE ARE SOMETHING,” she yelled proudly at the pornos, and without missing a beat, the other four yelled in unison: MORE THAN OUR PARTS.

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2 Comments

  1. amanda.v
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 2:25 am | #

    I like the dual perspective here–the way it turns in the end. I’m still wondering what she whispered in his ear???

  2. michellewallace
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm | #

    I’m with Amanda on that one. Interesting to get the back story behind the image. Good job, Rus!

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