Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ridin' the subway train

He is standing in the middle of the car and holding onto the metal pole nearest him.  He's standing with swagger.  It's the kind of swagger I imagine men had in the seventies when they were having lots of bell-bottom-ly sex. 

His hair has swagger.  It's thick and black and swooped with some kind of magic gel into what could likely pass for a very au-courant pompadour today.

He is lost though.  Time has left him behind and he stands there in his camel-colored cordoroy coat with a grey wool turtleneck underneath and his stomach is sagging a little and his pants don't have anything to cling to anymore and his hands betray a lifetime of otherwise long hours at work.  His eyes are damp.  He is leaning forward as if trying to hear some faint whisper of the seventies just inches away from him.  But he will never hear it.

She is sitting on the first row in the subway car.  It's the seat with all the leg room that's normally reserved for the elderly and the handicapped.  She appeals to both categories, though adheres to neither.  She has wilting silver hair beneath her green visor.  Her hair grazes her starchy white collar.  There are pale purple flowers on her shirt.  She frowns. She grips her walking stick though she clearly does not need it.  She sits on that seat like a stack of pancakes.  She walked in like a linebacker.  I wonder if she crochet-ed the very ornate white sweater she's wearing.

I do not ask.

His stop is nigh.  He straightens himself and regains his swagger.  He looks about him as if he might catch a glimpse of some long-extinguished flame on the other side of the impossibly smudgy, impossibly reflective window-glass.  He has somewhere to be.  He has had somewhere to be since the seventies.

I wonder if he'll ever get there.

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