I took the subway to Guam today. I didn’t have a destination or a usual. I ended up near your office, circling it, wondering if I’d run into you, wondering if something in you knew I was close. I’m still here, but the first “fourbucks” had a line out the door, a string of people in drizzle, and inside, they didn’t have tables. So I continued the circle and found a ‘bucks with everything I needed. Caffeine, music, Internet, and close proximity to you, even if I never see you; I know you’re close.
When I was in middle school, I’d visit Manhattan often on school trips. Sometimes we’d take the train to Lincoln Center, but mostly they’d haul us in on yellow buses. Meryl Glass and I would sit together. I liked the window seat so I could find cute drivers and make seductive faces at them; Meryl liked the aisle because her legs were longer than mine. We’d use the backs of our pencils to draw shapes on the green pleather seat in front of us. Is that a? No, wait… it’s either a man’s head in a baseball cap or a taco. “No, it’s a taxicab, dummy. Your turn.” Then we’d arrive at the museum with our notebooks and list of questions we’d need to answer for homework. The planetarium was my favorite trip; the seats reclined, and I could daydream. On our ride back to school, I noticed the women with their beige trench coats and briefcases, caught in a step on sparkling sidewalk. Frozen in a moment. I wanted to be her, that women in the trench with the attaché case. I’m a woman now, but I still don’t own a trench coat. I should.
I walked through Grand Central Station, past the whispering corners, into the mouth. Blurs of people on tracks, criss-crossing, overlapping, missing one another and trains. The engorged knot of a clock in the center reminded me of missed connections, of Moonstruck outside The Met, when we’re that close to what we’re waiting for, but we miss it, despite the looking. Maybe our lives are drawn with erasers on the backs of things, not really clear what we’re looking at. We all see different shapes in our lives. Other times, it runs into us, and we tangle like fishing lines, certain we’ve caught something. Grand Central Station is romantic, despite the rats and the rude, because it’s a hub of arrivals and departures, of people into one another’s lives.
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