I’m in the café when I see him. Thin, but defined; the space around him well-groomed, restrictive, as if to say that only certain people are allowed here. Appropriate. Someone approaches me while I’m staring, interrupting my line of sight. I sigh, slowly running my eyes upward to take them in. The crotch is flat, not bulging out from fat and not bunched up from a belt holding up slacks that are too small, beige slacks too. Blue and white vertical stripped dress shirt is tucked into the pants, same with the left hand and the pocket. Belt is plain, leather, worn. Buttons are trying to be mother of pearl, but the cheap imitation stuff used in middle-of-the-line stores. Right hand is holding a cup of coffee, plain gold ring on the middle finger, no hair on the back of his hand, nails well-manicured. His physique is athletic, if a little blocky. The stripes look well on him though, helping to lengthen out a shorter-than-average torso. His face is squared, strong jaw bones and a good, if somewhat wide Roman nose, with a pronounced bump just below the bridge, brown eyes, brown bangs, covering part of his face towards a somewhat recessive chin, with the ears cleared and, I guess, a buzzed back. Office appropriate, but young. I’ve already dismissed him, but meet his eyes anyways.
“Excuse me? Is someone sitting here?” He maintains good eye contact.
“No.” My voice is flat, dismissive, like I’m answering the question he’s about to ask instead of the one he just did. I notice flecks of green in his eyes; still not enough.
He turns away to sit down before I lean forward and say quietly, “Before you embarrass yourself, that wasn’t an invitation.”
He freezes. His head slowly turns to look at me, but even before we re-establish eye contact I can see red creeping up his neck, settling into his ears and cheeks. His nostrils flare a little bit as he inhales deeply. He straightens his back and doesn’t look at me.
“Sorry for bothering you. I’ll find somewhere else to sit.”
As he leaves I am once again afforded a view of him. I am amazed at how a few subtle cues are able to give it a sense of remoteness. His position in the room; the emptiness of the space around it; even the exoticism of the object; his posture; the use of colors: subtle, muted shades; the lack of a presence here before; it turns everything into an advantage to discourage approach.
I want to ruin the effect. I want to approach him, but I know that doing that will collapse the bubble of isolation he has around himself. Approaching, interacting with him will open him up to interactions with others, and if I am to have him I don’t want him to be used or dirty.
I go back to reading the latest fitness tips on my tablet until my alarm goes off. I pack it away, take one more look at him, and then leave for the gym.