Waiting for me to save her. Save her from a life she didn’t want.
She might have been Amish. She might have been Mennonite. She could’ve been anything, but I didn’t care. I watched them, watched her, as she turned around with the men, trying to find a landmark. At last, they plodded past the escalator and up the sloping, wide corridor to the great hall.
I followed them. At a distance, making sure to move in other directions when they stopped and looked around from time to time. They stopped three times on their short trip. I followed. She never turned back to see me, never gave any indication she knew I tailed her.
She knew. I know she knew. The connection was strong.
They passed along toward the exits, tucked into the corners of the ancient building but marked with carved signs over the narrow corridors, dim and claustrophobic, which led to them. They plodded, the man with his chiseled face and leathery skin checking his map every few steps. He studied the signs over the openings to the corridors and led his band through one. The woman tailed the men by a few steps — never too far to be alone, never too close to the position of authority.
I followed her, watched her swaying.
They moved outside, the brisk, crisp air biting. I wondered how she felt, in her plain clothing. Was it heavy enough? She had not jacket or coat, only a light cover over her blue shirt and charcoal skirt. I wondered if her nipples hardened at the bite of chill, and wondered how they must look, feel, taste. I ached for her, and she beckoned me with silent urges. They stopped and waited, the man turning his lined face first one way then the other, looking up and down the street. They had no bags with them, only what they wore on their backs. The younger man took a moment to look up, admire the towering spires around him, holding his hat atop his bowl-cut hair. She stood beside the hardy woman with blocky shoes and a harsh face, deep lines around her mouth from decades of frowning as befit her life. I could see those grooves burned into her face, into her beautiful, angelic face, and I couldn’t stand it anymore, I had to save her, to act, to move before she vanished forever.
We shared a connection.
I sprinted forward, abandoning my destination, leaving the doorway of the station, and she heard my pounding soles coming for her. I stared into her eyes and she backed up a step, reached out for me and snatched my hand as I passed them, and I dragged her along, her heavy shoes hindering her speed. But her muscular, dancer-perfect form beneath her loose-fitting, concealing garments responded. She fell in step and we raced, down the street, around the next corner, voices crying behind us, and I heard her laughter, bubbling and frothing from her. She squeezed my hand tighter and held on as we raced into the hotel across another street, the busy lobby enfolding us and hiding us. I spun her into my arms and she smiled into my face, lifted from the ground, her firm, strong muscles taut under my fingers. I held her, spun her again, and she put her forehead on mine. I kissed her, and she devoured me, hungry and yearning. She wound her fingers in my hair and pulled my into her deeper, and then we raced, smiling, laughing, to the front desk and got a room. It was so expensive — so much money for one room! — but we didn’t care. I didn’t care. She held my hand and we ran across the mosaic tiled floor inlaid with marble and metal, to the elevator, the shiny smooth doors, like mirrors, parting to swallow us.