Here I am. Sitting on the 5 train. Listening to some sappy love song: A rendition of “All I Know” by Art Garfunkel. I always favored the lesser known of the two artists because I recognized the weird and potentially left-behind creative in myself. And also, because I secretly have an obsession with Jewfros. But that is irrelevant, at least, right now.
I am focusing on the dirtied train-glass window. Leftover bits of steam, suffocated and suctioned from the framework that stand out in a tiny pattern of circles, deluding the outside world that represents the second stop: Fulton Street. Second. Any second now. The doors start closing.
Get off the fucking train unless you’re going to stay on. I don’t know why anyone indecisively hangs by the doors, but whatever. The lyrics go on, glossing over unrequited love. Another piano crescendo. The train starts moving again. I am going to start crying.
Today has been uneventful, so far. Another shitty Tuesday. Rain. Surprisingly cold. I am 20 minutes late for work, as usual. Some random man is soliciting attention from strangers in the middle of the train car. Talking about Jesus and being born again.
I start to distract myself, counting the remaining single hairs on this balding man’s head who I guess is falling asleep next to me. He’s on my shoulder now. It’s a little unnerving but I stay silent.
He smells like astringent and wax papers. It kind of reminds me of sterilized needles at a doctor’s office; the ones in a jar filled with light green water. It also reminds me of my grandpa who’d just passed away. How fucking morbid am I?
Two stops away still. The train has been, well, stopped. But just two stops away, I say to myself. From the office I’ve been coming to for x years. Where outside, hot dog stands and museums are sitting and waiting to be bought. Where benches are resting as nearby pedestrians are wobbling and walking to their jobs, laptops and briefcases in-hand. Also with their umbrellas, which I wish I could steal. It is raining, after all. Or it was, when I got on.
I feel the tears welling up, but of course, they don’t come all at once. And my mind is scattered on so many subjects: This man’s balding head and if there will ever be a cure for baldness; the sticky water on these windows that could play the part of falling snow if you squinched your eyes and turned away fast enough and how my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song “Cecilia” was written by Paul Simon and not my beloved Garfunkel.
The tears are forming at the corners of my eyelids. I feel them ready to drip out with each new thought and every new sway of the train car.
Thinking back, I always wondered, when I was little, if tears were almost like little bits of the soul trying to escape. And if they could be happy and sad parts, too. Like the kind you get when you’re laughing so hard you actually start to cry. But anyway. Anyway. That’s too deep a thought for a Tuesday cry. Best to focus now on the mundane evils of the world: Student loan payments, uncleaned cat vomit on the bathroom rug or no vacation days, ever. Those kinds of shitty sads.
I’m one stop away now. I didn’t even notice I was thinking so much. And I also didn’t notice that the “saved” man has slipped me a pamphlet on sinning. The bald man has also gotten off at the Wall Street stop, probably to properly wipe his sweaty, hairless head with an insanely expensive scarf that can’t necessarily buy him real hair but a very nice hat, at the very least.
This pamphlet’s talking about sinning. I guess I would be classified as a sinner, since most of my thoughts are extremely selfish. Not the most deviant of sins. But still.
I skim the inside information, searching for how to get saved. The guide has been numbered. At least they made it simple for the sinners. My eyes automatically jump down to #4. I’m settling in on the word. M-a-s-t-u-r-b-a-t-i-o-n.
Oh my god. Well, that’s it. Me and my Rabbit are probably going to hell.
The tears come one by one, in sad, sorry, sinful circles.
But wait. Oh my god. There’s a #5. Perhaps the solution to #4: A-b-s-t-i-n-e-n-c-e.
The song on my phone changes to the beginning of Ace of Base’s album, beginning with “The Sign.” Was this an omen? Probably not. But I saw it as a “sign” to leave the pamphlet on the train.
Last Stop. Bowling Green. Feeling less sad and more yep.
My tears dry up as I walk up the stairs.
I always imagined that there’d be a bowling alley with neon green lights somewhere in or near this station. But there isn’t, at least that I know. I hope that changes someday.