I’m not the most athletic person. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t call myself athletic at all. I work out because I look good in athleisure wear and I like how I look naked. When people ask me what my secret is, I tell them the truth: I drink a lot of water and I like to run. Running reminds me of one of the many reasons my body is something to marvel at; my body – and the human body in general – is a machine. Like now, when I break into a full sprint, the pounding of my feet on the pavement is rhythmic and acts like a metronome. My swaying hips move side to side to the cadence.
The shorts I’m wearing are thin and too short. Some of the women at the flea market I’m passing make stank faces at me as I jog by. Others stare admirably, lustfully, with no shame. When Chicago’s gusting breeze kisses me under both butt cheeks, I’m taken back to last night. When the air from the AC unit made the curtains dance. Her blowing on my throbbing clit in the same pattern. Cooling me down after my third orgasm. I was embarrassed I had messed up her nice couch. She was proud that she could make me pant and gasp louder than the air box in the window.
I almost ran into the street when I finally realized where I was and what I was doing again. An annoyed construction worker directing traffic had to remind me with a whistle and an eye roll. I put both hands up and mouthed “sorry” as I walked backwards to the sidewalk. When his gloved hand gestured for me to cross, I took off again. I’m the newest resident of Chicagoland and running around my neighborhood gives me an opportunity to scout my new stomping grounds. The brownstones and their stoops on each block feel like the opposite of the shotgun houses and their big porches that I’m used to in the south. The redlining and blatant segregation are the same though. Cat cafés, salad-only restaurants and luxury barber shops are signs of the gentrification slowly seeping into the southside.
My sports bra has the White Sox logo on it. When I moved here, she informed me that I’m a Sox fan now… and I don’t mind doing what she says. Like when she told me to take it off last week and get in the shower with her, I did. After running along the lakeshore together, both of our bodies had clothes glued to them by sweat. And then us glued to each other by soap. Making out is so underrated. Her curvy body easily pressed my skinny frame into the corner of the shower. With water running into our eyes, we kept them closed and we kissed for what seemed like an eternity. The steam made the skin on our bodies even more supple. She squeezed water out of her wash cloth onto my small breasts and ran her fingers over the drops that clung glistening to my erect nipples. Then, keeping eye contact with me, she lowered down to her knees…
She was proud that she could make me pant and gasp louder than the air box in the window.
I didn’t notice the little boy with an ice cream sandwich staring at me admiring my sweat-slicked breasts in a car window. In my defense, the windows were tinted. When who I assumed to be his father rolled down the window and shouted,“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” I ran. I could hear the kid cackling before I sped off. I had to laugh at myself too.
Moving for a job has made me feel like a real grown-up. When my company decided to open offices here, I was one of the first people to sign up for a transfer. Anything to get me away from the unprogressive cesspool that is the southern United States. I met her at a networking event my company threw to welcome us to the neighborhood. It was her confidence and style that I was drawn too. I’m not a social butterfly, but I can make conversation. She, on the other hand, doesn’t even have to make conversation if she doesn’t want to. Everyone just wants to talk to her. She’s the flower that every butterfly wants to nest on. I thought her outfit was too perfect for the setting, but refreshing in comparison to the frilly shirts, shiny cufflinks and wrinkled khaki pants surrounding us. Her Chanel silk organza skirt was straight out of the boutique. Look #53. The latest from the brand’s Métiers d’Art 2021/22 collection. I knew because I watched the launch on Instagram. She even paired it with the Chanel cashmere cardigan Akon Changkou modeled on the runway. Her skin is almost as dark as the black diamond bracelets that dangle on her wrist. Feeling frumpy in my basic pantsuit, I worked up the nerve to talk to her. She turned around just as I was tapping her on her shoulder. Startled, she jumped back. The red wine in her hand splashed down my pants leg.
That’s how we ended up in the bathroom together and I learned her name. Margot. We easily made small talk while she dabbed my pant leg with a wet paper towel. She insisted on doing it even though I told her I could do it myself. She even took off my flat and gently wiped my foot just in case any wine got in my shoes. Her long, acrylic French tips brushing past my ankle made me blush.
The water splashing into my sock now is not nearly as romantic. I didn’t even see that puddle, I was so lost in my own thoughts. It’s hard to run today. Everything reminds me of her. Us. Together.
A postwoman smiles and waves at me with lips painted red by a popsicle in her hand. Makes me think of the time Margot left red lipstick from the temple of my head to the bottoms of my feet. When the timed sprinklers turn on in front of the bank, the rainbow the water and sun creates over the grass reminds me of our first Pride, finger fucking on a secluded hill in the park after eating and dancing at the parade below us. It was the first time I ever squirted for anyone. I should call her…
My phone buzzing with a text from Margot stops me in my tracks.
“Come over tonight for dinner? I want you for dessert.”
I wipe my sweaty hand on my equally sweaty thigh before replying instantly:
“Perfect… You’ve been running through my mind all day.”