Smile For Me?
“Mami, Mami! Smile, Ma. Ma, you so beautiful, I see you walkin’ by. Ma. I’m sayin’ ma. Why you don’t never smile?”
She kept walking, gum snapping, heels clacking on the concrete. She sped up the pace a little bit. “Those Dominicans are crazy. Always smoking blunts, and kickin some tired lines to any chick who walks by. I’m sure he’s broke as a joke anyway,” she spun the words inside her head.
Click, clack, click, clack. Down the steps to the train station. Snapping the gum. Buys a metrocard, swipes it, floats through the gate. Sashays toward the other end of the station. Sits down on the bench, crosses her long, brown legs. She examines her manicure, frowning. Snaps her gum. She looks up and sees him, standing against the wall, waiting on the train. Her heart’s desire. Huge diamond earring, 360 waves, platinum cable, diamond crucifix, Avirex jacket, Cartier watch, Blackberry in a Gucci case, matching Gucci belt. He turns his head slightly, but doesn’t look her in the face.
“Oh my God, oh my God. I know who that is. He’s one of those guys, one of those music moguls. What’s his name, Dame, Irv, Russ, something like that. Damn, he’s fine. Damn, he’s rich. Oh my God.” She snaps her gum, loud.
She’s clocking him. He looks at his watch. He checks his Blackberry. She checks her reflection in the mirror, puts on some more lip gloss, shifts her weight to accentuate her cleavage. He looks toward her, past her. Through her.
“Maybe I should say something to him. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he needs glasses. Maybe he doesn’t see me over here. Maybe he’s married? He might be late for a meeting or something. I’m sure he has important business on his mind,” she mulls the situation over and over in her head.
“Hey Papi. Smile, Papi. I see you standing there. Papa, I’m sayin’. You don’t hear me talkin’ to you Papa?”
He gets off the train, takes the steps up two at a time, chain and cross jangling. He jogs a couple of blocks, late for his meeting, the fucking train’s always off-schedule. Should’ve taken the car service. Some crazy broad tryna kick it to him in the station. Pretty girl, but real loud and ghetto. Would’ve been his type five years ago. “Not today, dude, not today.”
He finally gets to the restaurant, scans the room with his eyes. Good thing they’re always late, even though he’s late, he’s early. He waits at the hostess stand. Hears the sounds of high heels click-clacking across the marble floor. He looks up and sees the hostess. Forgets he has a reservation. “Damn, that bitch is beautiful. No, no, she’s too stunning for me to even call her a bitch, that woman is gorgeous. She’s top notch. I could really go places with her by my side. She must be Dominicana or something. Damn.”
“May I help you, sir? Sir? Sir, may I help you? Do you have a reservation,” she asked haughtily. “He must be high. Probably another rapper. Too many blunts,” she mused.
“Oh, yes Miss. My apologies. My mind was somewhere else. I’m here to meet Mr. Kleinfeld, we have a 7:30 reservation,” he says. “Damn, she got some pretty, full lips, she could wrap those around my…”
“Yes, let me show you to your table. Please walk this way.”
She glides across the marble floors. He follows, head down, watching her ass switch back and forth. He sits down, ignores the menu, and watches her. Kleinfeld never shows up.
She finally gets off work after midnight, her feet aching from the work stilettos. She changes into her Nikes for the long trek home. She pads down the stairs to the subway, rides for 45 minutes, and gets off uptown. She pads up the stairs, up the street, and stops in front of the bodega.
“Mami! Oye Mami, I missed you today, you was at work?” She sees her man posted in front of the bodega. He’s so damn fine, skin glistening in the summer heat. He puts out his blunt on the pay phone. He walks toward her, and slides his hands around her waist. She pulls him close, closes her eyes, and relishes being in his embrace. They pull away from each other. “Did you talk to a bunch of bitches out here today in this heat Papi? Huh?”
“Mami, you know I only have eyes for you.”
She looks at him with her face screwed up.
“Ma, I’m sayin.”
She can’t help it. Her face breaks into a smile.
“Damn, Ma, I love your smile.”
They walk toward the building, smiling, holding hands, their sneakers padding on the concrete. The moon smiles down on them from above.