Monday, February 17, 2014

#021714: The Other Side of the Tracks

It's midnight Saturday night on the Brooklyn bound A train platform at West 4th Street. I'd just left a birthday dinner for a friend. It's cold as a witch's tit in a cast iron bra outside and being on the platform only offers brief solace from the bitter, biting cold. As I walked up to a spot I deemed safe enough to wait for the train to take me to my second job, I saw him. Lanky and passably attractive at a distance, but up close, not so much.

"I was telling him about our amazing date."  The woman on the uptown bound platform yelled to him across the tracks. First, he chuckled, then it seemed that somehow, her discussing their date with a stranger invited a pantomimed conversation with him.  Initially, his performance led me to believe that he was autistic.  The whole exchange felt like a missing scene from The Other Sister.

After watching the performance for the better part of 7 icy minutes, I found it kinda cute that he was so vested in entertaining her while they both waited on opposite sides of the tracks. His rudimentary clowning was entertaining in part because it was so purely ridiculous. He played peek-a-boo around the columns. He gestured inside jokes wildly across the platforms and she giggled like a child.  He wanted her to know she was on his mind.  He was thinking of her and only her right then.
He could have been a generic asshole and not stand near her, or he could have feigned interest in something urgent on his phone like many others would have done. Instead, he was fixated on her and on making her smile even though they weren't going to sleep in the same place tonight. My observations shifted from ridicule to envy much faster than the trains rolled into the station.

I didn't want this odd buffoon by any stretch of the imagination, I did want someone to be as seemingly interested in me as he was in her. I want someone to be silly with. Someone who would be that vested in making me smile. Instead, I was boarding the train to rush to my second job (late) where I would be the clown; smiling and posing and posturing to ensure that our guests, relative strangers, would feel welcomed and wanted. Nothing quite like imitating what you want to remind you what you don't have.

It's midnight.
It's Saturday night.

I should have someone waiting for me or with me, holding my hand on that platform, or rushing to meet me so that we can hold each other until dawn and sleep late on Sunday until we decide to untangle ourselves from one another and go to brunch. Someone willing to be as silly and fun and funny with me as I am with him. That's what I should have, but I don't. What I have is two jobs, insurmountable/suffocating debt, a revolving door of lovers I should have cut off long ago, an amazing catalogue of music and shoes to match my every mood, and now the stink of someone on this train's constant farts wafting over me and making me want to vomit.

This isn't what I pictured my life being like when I was a little girl. I'm not lamenting the poor life choices that brought me here.  I'm not angry or sad. Sometimes, you can't help but wonder how different everything would if everything was different. You know?


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