Clark adjusted his glasses. Tough day. He was late to the editorial meeting—AGAIN. What was it this time? Oh, right… the fire down on Lennox. “It’s always something,” he thinks.
He checked his watch. The subway train was five minutes late—AGAIN. All he wants to do is to get home, take a hot shower, and just be…human tonight. For a split second, he thinks about flying home but decides against it…can’t afford to ruin another suit.
Finally, the rumbling of the subway car signals its arrival. Clark starts to think about what he might cook for dinner. He’s got…what…cereal at home? Some pasta noodles? Gotta go food shopping. Put it on the checklist next to “Pick up dry cleaning.” The little things add up and make the day seem full.
The train slows to a halt and the doors swing open. Clark stands aside to let the sea of business suits and pea coats exit when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees her.
She doesn’t see him, but he sure as hell sees her. He’s been at the Daily for how long now…2, no 3 weeks? And he’s still fumbling with the right words… “Hello, I’m Clark. And you are?” The tone’s all wrong. It has desperate written all over it.
It’s bad enough that he has to parade around in this ridiculous Clark costume. Every time he sees her, he’s tempted to rip off the Men’s Warehouse and flex some spandex. But now, he has to be invisible at work. He doesn’t want her to see him as an acquaintance or God forbid, a colleague.
He decided instead to bide his time until some social situation presented itself. He’d be out of his work clothes and into something a little more approachable. He’d be cool, surprisingly funny, unexpectedly charming. Then she’d see him as a serious kind of guy: Professional at work and a real keeper at home.
But Clark knew deep in his heart that this was just an excuse. This way, he’d get to admire her from afar without having to do or risk anything. No chance of being embarrassed. Or hurt. “Everyone knows about the kryptonite, but Lord, don’t let them find out about this.” He smirks.
Suddenly, it struck him that this may be the chance he’d been waiting for. This was the express train right? That would give him at least 15 minutes alone with her. But what was he gonna say? He quickly ran a list in his head. “How’s work treatin ya?…Crazy weather we’re having eh?…Seen any good movies lately?…How’s um…you got any pets at home or um, a boyfriend?”
Jesus, this was harder than he thought. Clark had nothing to offer because he made it his mission in life to be as nondescript as possible. Now at the critical moment, he was devastated to discover the truth…He’s boring.
Clark took too long.
For all his speed, he wasn’t faster than those fucking subway doors.
For all his strength, he got beat by a moment of hesitation.
The train lurched forward.
Lois turned around and spotted Clark, made eye contact. Then she looked straight through him, a sick role reversal. Then she was gone.
Clark stood in the exact same spot, didn’t move until the next train arrived 20 minutes later. A sea of business suits and pea coats exited, and this time, she wasn’t there.
He let out a sigh of regret.
The subway car tipped over.
“Shit, I hate when that happens.”
For windows of opportunity, Jessica J.