2011-07-28 / Sandy Days, Salty Nights

Beach jogging boyfriend, where have you gone?

Besides the usual offers for old furniture and free kittens, the online classifieds sst megasite craigslist has a host ed of surprising gems. There are romance ads for every taste —“Skinny Girlfriend Wanted” and “Any Big Beautiful Womenn Out There?” — and missed connections cy that ask more questions than they ne answer (“Cute guy who gave me a ride on Immokalee Road”). The most memorable craigslist reading comes from the site’s’s “Best Of” collection, a sort of greatest hits of the most hilarious, heartbreaking and sometimes depraved ads.

The one currently swimming in myy brain is called “Bus boyfriend… I wantnt to smell you again.” It’s an ode to a briefef encounter, a lamentation for a missedd chance at love.

“We only rode the bus together threee den times,” the poster writes. “The second I saw you, I smiled brightly, because you looked so nice.” She says the man returned her bright greeting. “I didn’t’t make conversation. I just smelled youu the whole way downtown… Was it soap?p? Laundry detergent? A particularly wonderful nor brand of fabric softener and/or dryer sheet?”

The next week, the same man took a seat next to her. “There were dozens of empty seats on the bus, but you chose to sit down next to me. I blushed. You blushed. You smelled even better.”

As often happens with craigslist posts, the two were never destined for a happy ending. “The last Wednesday I saw you, I noticed you too late,” the poster says. The two sat apart, and the writer never saw him again. “Bus Boyfriend, where have you gone?” she laments. “You were my bus sachet… You made transportation tolerable.”

I thought of the post this past week as I went for my evening beach walk. I’m a focused walker; eyes down, I don’t take in the scenery or greet others out for a stroll.

But for a brief period — a week at most — I spotted a jogger who pulled me out of my moving meditating. He was older, fit, with silvered hair and a toned body. He looked like a senator. I caught him watching me the first time we passed. I raised my eyes, scanning the beach, and inadvertently found him staring. He looked away quickly. The next evening, at nearly the same spot on the beach, our paths crossed again. This time I looked up, boldly, but he kept his eyes on the ground. He was there again the next night. I looked straight ahead, burned by my previous evening’s attempt at friendliness. Did he look at me? I glanced from the corners of my eyes as he passed and found his eyes on mine. He smiled.

But then I went out of town for a few days and missed my usual walk. I looked for him when I came home, but he hasn’t reappeared.

I imagine him now back in his real abode — Connecticut, perhaps, or Massachusetts, some well-heeled New England state — and I wonder if he ever thinks about South Florida, about our miles of beautiful beaches, perfect for walking or jogging at sunset. ¦

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