Rush Hour, 5/16

I am sitting in front, a pair of seats to myself. I’m short, too small to reach the window sill; nor am I touching the floor.  There are just a few seats open nearby, but the car is not full. Passengers board all around me. They come in droves, groups of twos and threes, sometimes more. Each looks at me, contemplates the open seat next to me, but all move on. Passing me by seems to be second nature to them. They consider sitting with me for an immeasurably small duration. And then they pass me by. I might as well be a piece of gum on the sidewalk.  But I am not dirty, nor disheveled. A shiny new carabiner is clipped to my loop. It gleams like a smile with a gold tooth.

One stop goes by. And then another. And another. Finally, a man asks the passenger behind me “is that yours?” He glances dismissively in my direction. The passenger shakes his head no, goes back to his conversation. The man sits down in the seat across from me. The one next to me still open. Next stop a man gets on. He looks at me. Concern comes over him. He looks around and I can read the word “shit” on his lips, but he makes no sound. He steps back through the doorway and onto the platform.

At last a woman sits down next to me. She is beautiful, blonde and smells like cake! I think to myself, “I”m not a pariah after all.” Delight washes over me. And relief. Maybe she will take me home. She looks around and says uneasily to the passengers sitting across from her “someone must have lost this.” She opens a book. I long for her attention but she gives me none. But I am content to see the treetops go by. One stop comes. And then another. Finally, another woman says to my new friend “excuse me.” She picks me up, slings me over her shoulder. It is familiar and warm. I recognize her smell–a little smokey with a sweet smell of sweat. The way her jacket rubs against my straps; how I’ve missed this closeness. We step through the door and it closes behind us. We’re on our way.

~ by namderf on May 16, 2011.