Part 10 of the Netcromancer by M.J.Miello
By the end of my sophomore year, I had just about completed my tenure as an Ap and was looking forward to being named a Lv1 (a third-year member). The night before the end-of-the-year party I had slept over at my girlfriend’s Columbia dorm room. After a pleasant morning and a very late breakfast, I wandered downtown a bit earlier than I needed to and found myself with a healthy amount of time to kill. It was just dawning on me that once again I was free from all of my academic requirements.
After a few hours of exploring, I walked to a nearby park (really just some benches and bushes in between two merging avenues) and sat. I looked across to a woman about my age, seated on a bench. Her legs were stretched out before her. A flip flop dangled from her toe. My eyes were pulled to the green tattoo on her ankle, a swirling arrangements of leaves, grapes, and thorns, gave rise to a vine that traveled up her long cream-colored leg and disappeared under her acid-washed jean shorts, only to emerge again out of her green tank top, slipping over her shoulder and down her slender arm. The final bloom adorned her grateful hand, the fingers of which held a book.
It was the Silmarillion by J.R.R.Tolkien.
My heart beat erratically. She looked up from the book—her blue eyes sparkling luminously through her chunky eyeglasses. Her hair was a flame of orange, radiant in the sunlight. It was a disordered mess of tight spirals, pulled back. Her ears which protruded slightly were pierced with what seemed like a dozen small silver rings. She had a purple backpack that looked filthy. It was covered with small buttons. I saw one that read, “We must be the change we would see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi.” Another read, “Frodo Lives.”
I felt a sudden urge to plant my knees into the concrete and kneel before her. I wanted to know everything about her—to hear the stories behind each of those buttons on her bag. I wanted my fingers to get lost in the curls of her hair. I wanted to climb her beanstalk.
She looked at her Swatch wristwatch. I realized she might jump up at any minute and go on with her life before I had time to fully integrate kissing her into my daily routine.
‘You’re not going to kiss her,’ some pedantic part of me corrected.
Dozens of haphazard instructions burst into my mind. I had very little experience at spontaneously communicating with women. In fact, I was usually only able to do so with the aid of a week’s worth of strategizing sessions or with the help of meddling best friends.
‘Will you get a hold of yourself man! You already have a girlfriend!’ my conscious was now screaming.
I reached for my backpack and pulled my own copy of the Silmarillion out of it. I held it up like it was a piece of the sun that would send a shaft of light toward her. But her eyes had already resumed their reading and I was left holding the book aloft, looking like an idiot.
‘Rally,’ the annoying inner voice was persisting, ‘Your girlfriend’s name is Rally. Do you remember her? Naked? On top of you? About six hours ago?’
I began to panic, realizing that I had no choice but to verbally communicate with the Elf Queen of Manhattan. I had to say something incredibly witty— something that would show her how sophisticated, intellectual, and eloquent I was.
“Oh my god you are so cool!” The words spilled out of me.
She lifted her eyebrow above the frame of her glasses.
“The Silmarillion. I have never seen anyone reading that…let alone a girl.”
She laughed at this. More likely she was laughing at me.
“Most people stop at the Hobbit,” she said.
“I know! I love that book. I have read it so many times.
“This is my fifth time reading it. I love elves.” The world seemed to only be a series of spinning lights swirling around her.
“Me too!” I said after a period of awe.
We launched into a conversation about elves in their many iterations—about our disdain for Christmas elves or our hatred for any blurring of the line between elves and fairies. She had played Dungeon’s and Dragons and knew all the games I played with my friends.”
I wondered how quickly I could enlist her as my girlfriend.
‘Shit head you already have a girlfriend.’
“I’ve seen you in the lab haven’t I?” she said.
“You have?” How had this majestic woman who would be fair among the firstborn of the Eldar ever passed through my domain without my noticing her?
‘Probably because you were thinking about your girlfriend.’
“You wouldn’t know anything about this would you?” she said, unfolding a piece of paper. My mouth dropped open. It was a printed email asking her if she was “r34dy f0r 7h3 n3x7 l3v3l?”
[Thanks for reading! If you like what you’ve seen so far please let my know my commenting or liking. I am definitely eager for any feedback or questions. I have to say I am very relieved to finally have a female character in this story!]