You remember that line in that movie? That Thelma and Louise movie where two chicks go off on an adventure that somehow turns into murder and suicide? I don’t know how that sort of thing can even happen, and I watched the damn movie all the way through, but anyway that’s not what I’m getting at. There’s this line in the movie. One of those chicks, those girls, Thelma or maybe Louise, says it about Brad PItt back before he was Brad Pitt and was just some guy with no shirt and a hard shiny torso and nipples that looked as if they’d been iced. Anyway, she says it, that Thelma or maybe Louise, and the one who didn’t say it nods and mmm hmms and they both agree, and I cannot help but think of that line every time this happens, because the line goes something like this: I love to watch him walk away.
And I do. I do love to watch her walk away. I love it even when my heart has crashed somewhere around my left kidney in its desperate attempt to reach the floor where it will be stomped flat, and which is where it belongs and what it deserves. I love it even when I hate it, is what I’m trying to say here.
Her walk is a little bit different every time. She doesn’t have any sort of signature move like I guess some girls do. Some women. Sometimes her walk is smooth, like she’s gliding a half inch or so above the ground. And when she walks like that it’s cold somehow, and she is cold. Random strangers do not stop her to ask for directions, the time, her number.
It’s pretty much the exact opposite of her walk when I first met her, when I first saw her saunter past, ass swinging in a lazy figure eight. When I first said to her, ‘I wish I had a swing like that in my backyard,’ and instead of just ignoring it like girls and women have been taught to do with men like me, men who say those sorts of things to women they don’t have permission to look or think or talk that way about, instead of ignoring me, or telling me to fuck myself, which pretty much encompasses the standard, expected reactions, but instead of being standard or expected herself, what she did was laugh.
She slowed her walk way down in order to turn toward me as she laughed and I got the full effect – head tilted back, eyes shining, corners all crinkly. She clapped her hand over her mouth to bottle that laugh, stopper it up as if there was maybe some risk of drought, and she turned a slow circle, smile still beaming from those eyes of hers, and made sure I got it. Then I watched as she slipped through the crowd and around the corner, dodging drunk patrons at crowded tables, and servers with overloaded trays, and in that instant I decided I loved to watch her walk away.
Everything is right there in her walk, in the act of her walking away: her mood, her state of being. That slow, ass-swinging walk is like a cat’s purr. It means the lights are all green, everything is as it should be. She is content and happy.
Today she walks away with a squareness to her shoulders like a shut door. She has a way of closing herself up, her body, her heart, closing herself up in that walk of hers without looking fearful. Other girls, they tighten up like that and they look afraid. They look like prey. Not her.
Now she walks away from me, her shoulders square, her ass swaying not at all. Her body is closed to me, her heart safely behind that locked door, and I do not know if I will ever again get to watch her walk away.