I no longer know how to stand.
It is the way she is seated on the bench by prearrangement, her husband on the other side of her with his newspaper turned open as he feigns to read the latest headlines when in fact his eyes are perusing me.
My body aches its way toward the vacant spot next to her on the bench. My hand then does as we originally discussed, moving slowly, lightly, as casually as a leaf in the breeze, toward the nylon clad thigh that awaits there, the smooth knee beneath the mesh, the rising and tapering calf, the foot deep into a wave of straps and spike and leather, flitting unceremoniously back and forth near the walkway where the pigeons gather restlessly for remnants of some other stranger’s crumbs.
When my fingertips make first contact with the nylon I am a fountain of arousal, the sensation extending as if through my bloodstream down into my legs which weaken with it, my heart beating out a military cadence, my throat as arid as Sahara, my passion rising so that I must cross my legs in order not to divulge it. Divulging it would go against the rules that we have predetermined.
This is to be casual, her husband’s gravelly voice demanded, it is to be innocent while at once be fiery with suppressed desire. For the love of legs and feet, of stockings and leathers, is alternately arousing and hidden in the nature of our society. There are many like me who wander about day to day, dazzled by the click of certain footsteps on the walks, the faint pungency of a shoe half dangled from a stocking foot, the gentle arch of said same foot like a triumphal passage into a conquerable and conquered city.
My reach extends further onto her thigh and even slightly up the skirt which has convenient slits along the sides for such surreptitious inspection, my hand flat against her hip, my body sorely tempted to drift over to her, closer to her, when it must not.
As if anticipating my anxiety she adjusts closer to me and the pressure of my hand against her hip grows more fervent, stronger, deeper, warmer and more proximate. She opens her legs ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly to the passing eye but to me it is the parting of the Red Sea, a biblical proportion of exposure, almost as if I could smell the oceanic conjure of her desire in the deep crevasse between her legs.
In another setting, in a closed room, I would surely by now be down upon my knees, rubbing my hands against her thighs in order to open them still further, burying my face deep within her, rending a tiny slit within the crotch of her panties so that I might taste the full pungency of her desire.
Instead I must content myself with the hand deflecting off and brushing along her calf as I traverse my way downward, falsifying motions like I am offering a crumb to one of the bobble headed pigeons nearby when I am in fact now caressing the heel of her shoe and seeking to open it ever so slightly, for all of this is about opening, all of it is about the concealment of this special form of lust and then opening it in all its raw red beauty to the world around us so that it must forcibly accept it once and for all, so that there are no more assignations on park benches to leave its occupants to later masturbate in darkened rooms.
No instead there should be a full exposure of the shoe, the foot, the leg, the nylons, so that there might be full exposure of my desire as well, and then hers, so that the pornography, the atomization of the body into these component parts, at last bears a connection to the tongues and fingers and penises and vaginas that will bring the entirety of the figures into total climax.
Instead I recognize the gesture of the husband folding his newspaper to tuck beneath his arm, his hand encasing his bride’s, the two of them standing up and dusting themselves off as if from my contact, he nodding, she nodding, I nodding, all of us like ridiculous wind-up dolls bobbing and nodding as we depart from one another sans climax, sans satisfaction, just bearing memories that we will take to other rooms and other lovers and scatter them like pollen in the covers to plant deeper seeds within our souls.