An Uncertain Duality
Duality [n] 1. Being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses.
Example: Light exhibits simultaneously both the properties of a particle and of a wave. In physics, this is known as wave-particle duality.
Example: A woman who exhibits both beauty and smarts. This is known as an uncertain duality.
Viviane Fox stepped off a train into the underground station below the city she lived in. Despite the clean, modern design of the station with helpful electronic signage, Viviane was lost. She looked around, trying to make sense of it all through the noise and the crowds. It did not help that she was running behind schedule.
I can’t be late to the first class of kick-boxing today. That last class hardly made me sweat. Now I just need to find where the new gym is.
Viviane was already dressed for working out: snug athletic wear leggings and a racer-back tank top. It was a typical, ordinary outfit for anyone going to a gym, not the kind of outfit that would attract special attention, but not for Viviane. She attracted attention everywhere she went, even if she did not want to. After many years of stares and glances from strangers, she had learned that it was not her fault people wanted to look at her.
Today was no different. In the train station, both men and women took notice of her tall, athletic body. The men knew that it was impolite to stare at Viviane for too long so they stole quick glances of her. The women, on the other hand, envied little details about her such as how cute her wavy, orange-sienna hair looked tied up in a springy pony tail or how the curve in her hip was accentuated by her form fitted leggings, or how her face still looked perfectly pretty even with the lightest of makeup. Viviane pretended not to notice any of it. She was more worried about being lost.
The signs didn’t say anything about a fitness center around here. I hope I got off at the right station. I’m not familiar with this part of Capital City. I should probably ask someone local, but I don’t know anyone!
Viviane spotted her own reflection in a glass storefront window and looked up and down at herself. She was not ignorant or dumb about what people thought about her. She knew she was pretty. Sometimes flattering, sometimes handy and sometimes trouble, but most of the time, it was what it was.
Not my best clothes, but I think it’ll do. No guy should be able to refuse a pretty girl asking for directions, right?
A nervous Viviane looked around and spotted a young man completely at random who looked like he might be a local. After locking her sights on her target, she steeled her nerves and walked right over to him.
OK, confidence, don’t fail me now!
“Excuse me,” asked Viviane, “Do you know where I can find the fitness center that’s supposed to be near here?”
The young man who at first did not see Viviane coming, looked up and saw this tall, orange-sienna haired young lady with a pretty face looking straight at him. Startled and a bit intimidated, he tried to get out of the way thinking that Viviane was just trying to walk past him, but when she did not, his tongue became tied.
Viviane, on the other hand, just stood there with the most pleasant look on her face trying hard to not look anxious while she waited for an answer.
“Ummm…ah…were you talking to me?” asked the young man pointing at himself. He looked like a really old High Schooler. Perhaps he had been held back a year or two -- or four.
“Sure, I was. Do you see anyone else around?” Viviane replied.
The young man glanced behind him to make sure that was not a trick question. Indeed, there was no one behind him.
A hundred thoughts ran through the young man’s head. Oh my God, this girl is so gorgeous! Why is she talking to me? Something is not right here…she shouldn’t need me for anything! What if her bodybuilder boyfriend is just around the corner and doesn’t like me talking to her? I’ll get pulverized! Or what if she’s got a rich boyfriend with connections to organized crime? Then I’m dead meat! I don’t want to get sucked into organized crime! What do I do? What should I say?
He looked around with nervous eyes expecting at any moment either to be punched in the gut by an extremely muscular, square-jawed man with no neck or to have a gun stuck in his back by a mafioso.
His voice failing him, he replied to Viviane, “Yeah…I…don’t see anyone else…yet, that is, I mean…you’re obviously not here by yourself, are you? What was it that you want?”
Viviane struggled not to roll her eyes. “I was just hoping you knew where I could find the fitness center that’s supposed to be near here. I’m taking a new kick-boxing class and it starts in a few minutes.”
“Oh, you mean that extreme fitness place, Hyperextension? That’s right up those stairs at the end of this hall.”
Rather than risk an awkward silence, Viviane gracefully let this young fellow off the hook. “Oh thanks! That’s the place! Gotta run…bye!”
Viviane ran off in the direction of Hyperextension but not without leaving an impression on this young-looking, socially awkward fellow who watched this shapely woman run away from him with her springy pony tail flipping behind her as she jogged off. He was unable to take his eyes off her. He was mesmerized.
Being socially inept, this young man might not have had many people to talk to growing up. He therefore had a strange habit of talking to himself. “Kylian, my friend, you just moved here to Capital City and already you’re being approached by gorgeous women. Maybe you’re moving up the world?”
But a girl like that wouldn’t be interested in a guy like me, he answered himself as he crossed his skinny arms over his sunken stomach. I mean, I’m just a researcher doing post-doctoral work at the University and she just wanted directions. She’s probably got some sugar daddy arrangement going on. Oh well, that’s just the way it is, isn’t it? Better not get my hopes up.