Sometimes it's just like that, you are positive
you exist and yet
, somehow, you can not
you are not invisible. Silent, moving down the street does not confirm your presence; headphones do not ensure that you are seen. You could be silently gliding through a mass of life that sees right through you, transparent
and dying for no extreme reason other than it's Thursday night
and you're tired.
The train was full, but not too full that I could
not slide myself into a space between two big
people, spilling over the edges of their subway
bucketed seats. This is what I did, hid myself
between the security of large people, confirming
that I could, indeed, disappear safely.
He was sitting across from me, bald head shiny
and gold earring in one ear. Mr Clean, or somesuch
reincarnation thereof. And he winked. He could
see me, of this I was positive.
The train ground into the station and the warm buffer
to my left lumbered to his feet. Exposed, I
winced and bent in further on myself. This happens.
You can hide yourself if you hunch enough, if you
wrap your arms around your shivering body.
Mr. Clean watched the panic flit across my face (as
I'm sure it must have), and kept his face steady:
sure stable eye contact. Of this I am grateful,
this solid assurance for the 10 long seconds it took for
another large person to stuff into the vacant seat.
The train filled up and he was hidden by lots
and lots of feet. I focused on the woven pants leg
in front of me, arms tucked under heavy arms on
either side, bag protecting my lap. When I got
off the train, I glanced back through the window
to see Mr. Clean's triumphant arm raised, waving to
me as his car slid away.
Fleeting contact with
strangers is extremely underrated.