He had on dumb shoes with weird, double buckles. The shoes probably cost more than my rent, and as I was desperately yearning for payday to come I internally rolled my eyes at the guy. Wednesday mornings are hard, and it was cold and I wanted to judge his “man bag,” so I did. He had on nice pants and his coat appeared cozy… he smelled nice too. I couldn’t place the cologne he was wearing but it didn’t matter, it’s all I wanted to smell the rest of the ride. For the rest of my life.
I allowed my eyes to trail up to his face.
**Dream weeeeeeevah** (play the Gary Wright tune for full effect) I fell in love on the 6. For the first time I understood J Lo’s infatuation with the 6 train that runs up and down the east side of New York City.
He had brown eyes, which weren’t particularly big and beautiful. In fact, they looked tired and worried. He had dark circles and the delicate skin underneath his eyes looked worn. He was probably working late the night before. His suit and fancy peacoat made me assume he worked in business, and apparently the economy sucks these days. His job is probably to fix the state of our Nation. I bet if anyone can fix the economy, it would be him. He reminded me of a really tired Superman with weird buckles on his shoes.
He wasn’t participating in the “No-Shave-November” thing because his face was clean. It was imperfectly perfect. The skin covering his jaw line, that I wanted to reach out and touch, looked raw as if he quickly and carelessly shaved, and then ran out the door into the blistering cold. I wanted to offer him lotion to soothe it, but that would have been weird.
I liked his nose. It wasn’t big like mine, it fit his face, but it wasn’t flawless. It looked smushed, and I scrunched my face as I wondered if he ever broke it as a child. Maybe he broke it playing football? No. It was broken during a Lacrosse game. He definitely played Lacrosse. His dark brown hair was child-like, but endearing. It was parted off to the side as if his mom wet it down with one of those black, shitty combs for picture day at school. He had a little cowlick on the crown of his head that stood up. I imagined us laughing about this in bed on a Sunday morning as we teased each other about our similar messy hair.
His hands were nice, strong and lean, as he grabbed his phone and sighed. 8:14AM was too early for him to be in a good mood, and I liked that. Who wants to be in a good mood at 8:14AM? No one. I liked that he was annoyed. I wanted to swap stories about our bad days, fears, hopes and dreams.
I was ecstatic when a seat became available. Of course it was right in front of him and I felt uncomfortable sitting directly in front of his crotch. My love for him was innocent and it was too early to imagine him naked. He seemed aware of my awkwardness and shifted slightly to the left and mumbled “sorry,” and threw me a crooked smile. I imagined that our heartbeats synched as I awkwardly smiled a half smile back.
The seat next to me became vacant and I believed in god as he sat down next to me. Pulling out his iPad (fancy fancy) he opened the Harvard Business Review app. I side eyed him and watched him flick through story after story telling tales on the economy, business strategy, and “The Brain –And Soul- Of Capitalism.” I hate all of those things but I wanted to watch his mouth move as he explained them to me under the covers. I wondered if he hated his job. I hoped he liked it. Envisioning him unhappy made my heart hurt.
I hid my iPod from him; I didn’t want him to notice the cheesy pop music I was listening to in order to get me through this morning commute. I bet he’d listen to it in the car ride upstate as we drove just to make me happy. He’d sing along too, but only if I asked him to.
I loved the way he chuckled to himself at the political cartoons he was reading. I didn’t understand them as I read over his shoulder, but I smiled because he was. I prayed the train would get stuck— the 6 has never moved so fast.
At each stop, the train screeched to a hault and people bustled off, and the 5 seconds his right arm was against mine was heaven. He still smelled so good, and I liked that he didn’t pull his body away quickly. I didn’t mind being so close to this stranger.
28th street came too soon. We got off at the same stop and I hated the Target backpack my mom bought me was the bag I decided to use that morning. I wish I was carrying my unnecessary crap in a more chic bag. I could feel his eyes on me as I went through the turnstile. I walked as slow as possible knowing we’d part ways and amongst the 8.3 million people residing in NYC, I’d probably never see him again.
I rode the train the next day, even though I rarely ride the train in the mornings, just to see if he was there. He wasn’t. I was angry at J Lo and didn’t understand her infatuation with the 6 train anymore.