FLIRT  |flərt|  verb

to behave as though attracted to / but for amusement rather than / an experiment with superficial / without committing oneself to/  a deliberate exposure of/ to open and / a flicking of feel

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Dear Richard,

I held onto another’s limb to steady myself underground. There were no available poles or doors to lean into, so I found the nearest human to flirt my balance against. First, I grabbed their wrist which was red and tinged with many punctuation marks, as though rebelling against José Saramago. Then, they unraveled their tongue like a carpet for me to wipe my fears on. I hooked my right knee onto theirs, clasping cotton to denim. When I coughed suddenly, without warning, they caught my germs with their palm. Fourteen, they exclaimed. Excuse me, I uttered. Fourteen germs, now connected to the lines of my fortune etched into my flesh. And you’re welcome.

Richard, I cannot claim to understand any of this. I only know letters and barely that. When the subway conductor announces my stop, I disengaged from their bones. Already, I felt mourn. I never got their name nor did I ask for their handle or hunger pains. I simply walked off, with a piece of their wrist still embedded beneath my fingernail.