The Woman With The Moustache

For IVO

Some women carry baskets of oranges on the tube. Some have their legs crossed and books resting on their top knee. Some sleep, some cry, and others stare right back at you. This one’s different. This one is wearing a moustache. A big, black moustache.

Her beauty hurts. You want to smell her, take her home, just how you’d take a rose home with you for keepsake, but then you realize that there are thorns all around the stem. No it’s not her unshaven legs that keep you from taking her home—it’s her aura of elegance that keep you from even considering she could ever be yours.

So you look at her and try to take in her silhouette but fail because your eyes are stuck like the needle in the scratch of a record: You start at the big black moustache, follow its curled ends upward and then stare right into her piercing green eyes. Her ocean eyes. You begin to drown in them. And then you sink, sink into her.

She’s deep. You try to reach for the ends of her being, try to hold on to something familiar, but instead, you only find more vastness. She has no corners, only curves, and no ends, only beginnings. Each of her beginnings is a story, and each story is a little infinity that she’s placed into each of her numbered days. Time’s started to resemble a lie. She’s proved it wrong.

After listening for a little while, your skin begins to resemble that of a ninety year-old; you’ve lost touch with reality. Is her moustache real, is it there to stay? She only smiles. It’s not for you to know. It’s for you to appreciate.

So you let it go.

Now, without any wind in your sails, all you’ve got left is your mouth. But the moustache still throws you off, puts you off a little too, because it’s so out of the ordinary, and so you decide not to kiss her, but talk to her instead.

You tell her that you love her. She nods in understanding. “I’m not for you to keep. I’m for you to appreciate.”

You try to, but that’s not how the world works. It shouldn’t, but it does. You’ve learned to love in possession, not in appreciation. You ask her for a little more time, one more stop, to learn how to unlove yourself and, with that, liberate her.

In that very moment, the old man with the long white beard next to you leans over and whispers into your ear: “She’s free, you know, the woman with the moustache in our part of the tube on this fine Tuesday morning. My advice for you is, don’t leave the tube with her. Just know that if you’re meant to cross paths again, you will.”

So you look at her again, realize that the moustache had been drawn onto her upper lip with thick black liner like they use them in theaters, and then want to share your newly acquired knowledge with the old man.

But when you turn around, he’s gone. Without a stop or another word, he’s left you there with the mysterious woman who taught you without ever opening her mouth that freedom, oh freedom is an illusion.