tales of a girl in the city

juin 03, 2005

Today On The Subway

They're in the middle of the subway car. His hands are above hers, wrapped around the metal pole. They've shared a night. It's possible they share an apartment.

She is long, smooth hair to his baggy jeans. She is dressed; a crisp purple shirt, a tiny handbag and careful make-up. He is rumpled; light blue, untucked. Their hands are close, but not touching. She stares up at him as he looks out the window. He must feel her eyes on him, but he never acknowledges or smiles.

After a minute or so of his not noticing, she stretches out one pinky to weave in between his hands. The movement is small, but important. I think of birds. Of windows and tentative taps.

I watch her continue to find little ways to seek out his attention. Her focus is complete. Once more, and then again, a tiny, crucial movement towards his hand.

Having stood before my own versions of this boy, I can't take my eyes from them. I know their morning. How the closeness of the night before, the week before, the year before, has evaporated and led to this. Now, confused by his indifference, her gesture is its own hopeful flight.

Eventually, he looks her in the eye briefly, then shifts his hands upward to where she cannot reach. When a seat opens up, he nods for her to take it, but doesn't move to stand near her.

My last view of them is of him with his back to her entirely, as cold as any stranger.