Impressions on a Saturday Train

Throughout the week, through all the stress and the busyness, I take a moment out of the day to write down some details about the environment around me. I’ll be posting them here every Monday.

A butterfly wobbles on the air a meter above the train tracks. I hear the rumble of the approaching red line.

Inside, the air smells slightly of feces

The young man has small lips; when he smiles his pudgy cheeks shows a youthful glee.

The black woman’s feet pressed into her flats look like an old chipped leather bag.

The boy next to me, fashionably dressed, is asleep, his eyes closed behind his $100 sunglasses, his lips closed and puffed out to kiss the awaiting goddess of his dreams.

Two lovers hover over the one’s phone like two kids peering over a ledge.

A young man in a Cubs hat and wearing a jacket with a green alien symbol on it rests his arms on a weathered brown leather briefcase. (I look at the black woman’s leathery feet to see if the metaphor holds; it does.)

There’s something odd about the way the young man in front of me sips his coffee. I ignore everyone and watch him—he lifts his arm up, the tops of his fingers parallel with the floor. I miss the act because a person passes in front of me. I wait again. He does it again and this time I see it and see nothing strange. But there’s a hint of strangeness still. I wait. The train car stops. He checks his phone. Then he lifts his hand, his arm following. And then I see his fingers curled down instead of curled tight around the circumference of the paper cup. Like bird’s wings spread halfway, the tips of the feathers pointing down. This means he is holding the cup by the sheer integrity of his thumb and forefinger, with the other three digits merely for show. It is an elegant, almost precocious act, now that I notice his age is younger than I thought. He knows none of this.

The cautious weary eyes of a middle aged white women getting on a city train for the second time. Her first time was when she was ten.

The blue-green-grey-white camouflaged book bag of the black woman resting against her high thigh. She reaches down and scratches her leathery foot.


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