He runs a finger across the spines of the books on the shelf without reading the titles, watching her out of the corner of an eye—the thick-rimmed glasses that flash momentarily as it caught the light, the sheer white blouse hugging her round breasts, the swish of a knee-length skirt that revealed glimpses of smooth skin.
He picks up a book and flips through the pages absentmindedly. Later, when he gets home and runs through the things he bought, he would find this same book inside one of the shopping bags but would hardly be surprised. It wouldn’t be the first time he idly bought something in a bookstore because he was distracted by a schoolgirl.
He remembers the first time he went to this bookstore and discovered that students from a nearby all-girls high school went here to buy school supplies. He got such a big hard-on just being in close proximity to these young girls, their virginal youth, their pure innocence which he felt he needed to violate, as if it were both a coy invitation and a helpless plea: Teach me, but please be gentle.
Once, he went home with one of these girls. In that breathless moment after he was done with her, panting beside her fetal figure on the bed, the girl suddenly wanted to know what he did for a living. He told her the truth: that he was a clerk in a boring department of a boring insurance company. He had wanted to say something cool: “What do I do? Girls like you.” Because there really is something with the way a school uniform changes a girl, he tells himself now, perhaps for the thousandth time — the way it offers the exciting prospect of anonymous intimacy, the worthlessness of names and faces, the possibility of pleasure without familiarity.
He now imagines this girl standing almost right next to him. She’s lying in his bed, fully clothed, as his hand opens the buttons of her blouse one by one. His other hand slinks beneath her skirt. He thinks about the way he would slide her panties down her legs to her shoes, the way he would lift her skirt to her waist as he moves on top of her, pinning her down, relishing the touch of fine fabric against his own skin.
He would leave the lights on but would not once feel a need to look at her face. In the last seconds before he comes inside her, he would feel her hands on his waist, trying to push him away, in vain. He would grip her small shoulders and close his eyes. He would then—
The girl lines up at the counter with an armful of magazines. He abandons his daydreams to relish the last few minutes before she leaves the store. He would have to talk to her the next time she sees her again. For now he memorizes the cut of her blouse, the pleats and patterns of her plaid skirt, the length of her socks, the sensible black leather shoes. She waits patiently in her place at the queue, typing perhaps a text message on her mobile phone, oblivious of his stare.
Tonight, when he gets home, he would lie in his bed and for the last few minutes before he dozes off to sleep, he would be dreaming about her.
(first published in print in issue 25 of the Philippine Collegian on 08 February 2012)