by Lavere, lavere.tumblr.com
“Hello,” it said, but I could not hear it. The sound was swallowed by the din of the train. The wall of wind kissed my face and ran its fingers through my hair, even creepily through the knots. My eyes were fixed as I watched some of the train cars ferociously glide past me. The faces on the train blurred- both women and men as well as their children’s faces blurred into one. It was the ugliest face I’ve ever seen. Ticktickticktick before the train finally haulted to a stop. I crept up to the door, still closed, and hovered over the fearful yellow line. No one was getting off at the stop and I got on in silence.
The smell of diapers overwhelmed my nose. The train always smells like diapers. My eyes scan quickly over the brightly colored seats before I choose one that looks clean. I’m sitting close to the door. I look through the window across the train and stare lifelessly at whatever possible. All I see is black, but I stare at it as if it was alive and perhaps even seducing me. It is intoxicating in its distance and mystery. The inside of the train is like the organs of the tunnel, and I feel like a parasite sitting inside of it.
I try not to look anyone in the eye, but around them as if I have x-ray vision or can see the color of their aura. I notice the women with chipped nail polish on their toes and make up names for what could have been the name on the nail polish jar: “Slutty pink”, “Bean Curd”, “Devil Red”. I look at the men’s shoes, most of them bordering, strangely, on perfect or ugly- in or completely out of style. Perhaps this is the style.
I make the mistake of looking somewhere else once. At a character sitting not straight ahead of me, but on the bench to the right of that. It’s like his shape is out of focus until I look him straight in the eye. His eyes lock onto mine and they shoot me down like a terrified doe. I do not feel like I am behind a focused camera lens, but rather perhaps that I am in front of his. Or maybe its a telescope, binoculars, a kaleidoscope.
I cannot express the feeling I get when a man looks at me this way. I cannot see anyone else. But it is in such rarity that I enjoy the attention, that I mainly feel as if I am being taken apart- maybe most accurately like a puzzle losing its beautiful picture. I am no longer me. My existence feels more concrete, more solid. Eyes like that make me realize that I am where I am and that I can be seen.
His skin is dark, good odds hispanic and he looks to be my age, maybe a bit older. I don’t like the gleam in his eye when he looks at me. I always think it will be a dead stare, like mine, and it surprises me when its not. He is not the type of person to look out of the window.
The train goes on and on and my body slides on the chair with every bump. I grip the silver handles next to me and my eyes dart quickly off of his. I break the connection but his energy drowns me in the train car and I cannot help but feel the weight of his stare upon me. For some reason I look down at my bare legs, sticking out like two sticks from my jean shorts and wish that they weren’t there at all. And yet again I feel like a parasite in the train car.
My stop is next and I stare into the blackness until it becomes light. For some reason I wait to get up until the train completely stops- most likely to make sure that he did not get up as well. Then I grip the handle, make a sharp right twirl straight through the door and ascend up the stairs to the exit. I become a shadow right behind a group of people and look back behind me to see the man I don’t want to see.
It is only when I reach home that I really think about this encounter, if one may call it that. Such little contact can really set off and warp my senses. It is not danger that I felt, but the frightening and chilling fact that I exist, and that there are people that set eyes upon me in any which way and how heavy this concept is for me. I exist in ways that I don’t know.
“Hello,” it said. But I did not hear it.