How will I know you, I asked. 42nd & 5th is crazy busy.
You’ll know me. I’ll be the big blonde walking down the side of the building stairs at four in the afternoon.
Sure enough, just a little after four I saw her walking down the stairs she walked right up to me after crossing the busy street without regard to traffic.
Hi, Mikhail, so nice to meet you in person, she said, and as she spoke Marietta took my hand and we walked to Bryant Park behind the library and sat on a bench and talked.
I’d like to kiss you, she said at one point and even though I had some minor fears of being swallowed by her plus sized mouth I nodded and we kissed and her lips were normal-sized and soft and her mouth tasted of soft winds on a spring day.
Come seven, Marietta said she had to run and I walked her back to the corner and she crossed the street and grew as she did and grew even more as she climbed the stairs dwarfing the world around her to her place on the billboard on the side of the building. Half way up she turned and blew me a kiss and the gust of her breath knocked me back into a more normal sized blonde with a camera to her eye obviously in the middle of taking our pictures. I’d seen her several times during my hours with Marietta but so many people walk around New York carrying cameras I didn’t give it a thought.
Hi, the photographer said. Would you like to see some of my pictures?
Why not? I said and she took my hand and led me back to the original park bench. She showed me pictures of me walking, holding hands, crossing the street and even kissing on the bench. There were dozens of shots and the only thing missing from them was Marietta. I was holding hands with the air, kissing the air, talking to an empty bench and so on.
How can this be? I asked her.
I saw you earlier on a street corner where you bumped into me and decided I’d follow you around and do a photo study and here it is. Who were you pretending to be with? She asked.
Marietta, I said.
Yes, she said, waiting for me to finish a question I hadn’t begun.
Paul Beckman is the author of two collections-Peek & Come! Meet My Family and other stories. His story, Healing Time was one of the winners in the 2016 Best of the Small Fictions. His stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Literary Orphans, Blue Fifth, Litro, Playboy, Molotov Cocktail, and Thrice Fiction His latest flash collection is “Peek” and is available from his websites: http://www.paulbeckmanstories.com and blog is http://www.pincusb.com Paul hosts the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB in New York.