Each time he would look at her he'd always turn away. He felt that if he could just hold it a little longer something important would happen, something to change his life, but he always looked away. It wasn't even the same woman. First a young Chinese. She held his eyes. They had been talking about nothing in particular and then the conversation lagged until they weren't saying anything at all and she just looked at him, and he returned her look in the silence. It went on and on. Then he smiled vaguely and let his eyes drift down and it was over. She changed entirely. From then on it was just chit chat by the coffee make, an excuse me, a little joke. Completely changed.
Next it was at the library. This was a stunningly beautiful young woman with very black hair and fair skin. She was sitting at one of the tables studying an art book about Geisha dress. She looked up as he approached and he held her gaze. He was determined not to look away this time. He kept moving towards her, looking, and she looked at him. Her expression was not quite hostile although it could be mistaken for that. Pointed, direct, what's the word? He looked at her anyway, and she kept looking back. But then she turned away this time, going back to her book. He went over and scanned the shelves behind her without seeing them. Then he back tracked and moved past her table, and as he went by he turned. She looked up at him, then quickly down. He continued to stare at her. Once again it was over, though.
Who was this woman? Was it the same? Were these somehow emanations of the same? What? Same what?
This had happened before but it was years ago. There would be an encounter. Oh, in an elevator, on a bus or subway, once at the airport. There would be this same kind of prolonged stare. It would always go on too long not to be significant and yet break just short of a real meeting. And he always, always regretted it. He always blamed himself. He felt he wasn't allowing something into his life that properly belonged to him. Or she wasn't. The girl at the library. She knew better. Perhaps she was thinking to become something like a Geisha, a call girl it would have to be in this country, "escort" they always advertised them in the free rags with shots of Tami or Kimura or somebody with their eyes covered by a heavy black slash. Odd, their breasts were there to behold, sometimes even a little bit of pubic hair. Under Escort Services. Is that what she thought to do, to have an adventure or something? She was astonishingly beautiful, she didn't have to do that. But sometimes people have no choice. There are psychologies to consider. Very important, those psychologies.
He laughed out loud. He was sitting on a bench outside the library now. A light wind was up, tossing things around, leaves, waste paper. The homeless guy was playing his flute amidst all the piles of plastic bags he kept by him. He was significant, too, somehow. It was significant when he spoke or acknowledged you. When he didn't you felt somehow slighted, even condemned. Did he have something to do with the women? Was he their keeper? Their pimp?
Well, no, he wasn't always there, or you never noticed him, or rather didn't always. Only at the library. But there might be someone else, another cast off of some sort. At all the other places where this thing happened. He only noticed the homeless guy at the library because he had spoken to him a couple of times. What they said didn't amount to much and yet these seemed to be significant encounters, and after each the homeless man ignored him for days, looked away from him when he passed, once even spat on the sidewalk in his wake. He hadn't seen this but he'd heard it alright, heard him spit a good one, it landed hard with almost a popping sound. Well, never mind that fool, he thought. What difference does it make? Well, he played the flute. No, it was a recorder. Is that symbolic? Of course it's symbolic.
But it was the women who preoccupied him. What was that all about? There were these love glances in Wagner, that's what the pompous bastards called them, love glances. These two huge people would see each other and look and look and look. The vast music would come to a sudden standstill... one... two... three... then swell in massed strings like a breath in, a swoon, a gasp, whatever. Obviously that fathead Wagner experienced such things. Or he made them up and we all must suffer as a consequence. Well, not if you don't listen to that idiotic music anymore, he thought. He. He. Who is he? by the way. Well, call him Tobin. That's all right. Tobin.
So, Tobin had been afflicted by this music in school. It took him over. He looked up in the psychology books what this whole business was all about. Jung told him it was anima possession. Something like that. Really, these Nordic asses with their symbols. What happened to them? Is it the weather, the altitude, barometric influences? What a mess they've left us with, all those twisted sentences and music that coils in and out of itself in a moebius of couplings and recouplings, incestuous blurs, doubles and triples and thripples, turn it upside down, inside out, coil it, boil it, rearrange it all in different branching and twisting halls of thrilling harmonics. The whole thing disgusted him now, he dug jazz. Well, he listened to it. He took drugs and listened to it, or he drank a nice red claret or pinot noir, night grape, no, black. Like her hair.