Last Login: 08-08-21
Last Login: 08-08-21
Description: I saw you on the LRT. I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do. You got on at Corona and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you’re looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there. Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you — maybe pretend I didn’t know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, “Hot day.” It all seemed so stupid. At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it — a biography of Lyndon Johnson — but I noticed you never once turned a page. My stop was Stadium, but at Stadium I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer at Belvedere, but then I didn’t get off at Belvedere either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line, we both just sat there in the car, waiting. I looked at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason. Still I said nothing. We took the train all the way back down to Century Park. And when we got to Century Park, I knew I had to say something. Still I said nothing. Up and down the LRT line, over and over. We caught the rush hour crowd and then saw them thin out. We watched the sun set over Downtown as we crossed the River. I gave myself deadlines: I’ll talk to her before Grandin; I’ll talk to her before Enterprise. Still I remained silent. For hours we sat on the LRT saying nothing to each other. We must have seen a million commuters, had our faces nearly kicked in by break dancers. I gave money to the beggars until I ran out of change. When the train went above ground I’d get text messages and voicemails (“Where are you? What happened? Are you okay?”) until my phone ran out of battery. I’ll talk to her before Corona; I’ll talk to her before Southgate. The longer I waited, the harder it got. What could I possibly say to you now, now that we’ve passed this same station for the hundredth time? Maybe if I could go back to the first time the LRT switched over to the NAIT line, I could have said, “Well, this is inconvenient,” but I couldn’t very well say it now, could I? I would kick myself for hours after every time you sneezed — why hadn’t I said “Bless You”? That tiny gesture could have been enough to pivot us into a conversation, but here in stupid silence still we sat. There were moments when we were the only two souls in the car, perhaps even on the whole LRT, and even then I felt self-conscious about bothering you. She’s reading her book, I thought, she doesn’t want to talk to me. Still, there were moments when I felt a connection. Someone would shout something crazy about Jesus and we’d immediately look at each other to register our reactions. A couple of teenagers would exit, holding hands, and we’d both think: Young Love. For 14 hours, we sat on that LRT, just barely pretending not to notice each other. I got to know you so well, if only peripherally. I memorized the folds of your body, the contours of your face, the patterns of your breath. I wanted to comfort you, wrap my arms around you, assure you I knew everything would be fine, but it felt too familiar; I stayed glued to my seat. Finally, late in the night, you stood up as the train pulled into Coliseum. It was difficult for you, this simple task of standing up, you hadn’t done it in 14 hours. Holding onto the rails, you managed to get yourself to the door. You hesitated briefly there, perhaps waiting for me to say something, giving me one last chance to stop you, but rather than spit out a day of suppressed almost-conversations I said nothing, and I watched you slip out between the closing sliding doors. It took me a few more stops before I realized you were really gone. I kept waiting for you to reenter the subway car, sit down next to me, rest your head on my shoulder. Nothing would be said. Nothing would need to be said. When the train returned to Coliseum, I craned my neck as we entered the station. Perhaps you were there, on the platform, still waiting. Perhaps I would see you, smiling and bright, your long hair waving in the wind from the oncoming train. But no, you were gone. And I realized most likely I would never see you again. And I thought about how amazing it is that you can know somebody for 14 hours and yet still not really know that person at all. If you see this please message me!
Publish Date: 01-05-21
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