Today a man in the Chambers Street station came up to me and told me that I would be his wife. “I’m 21,” he said after I told him, shaking hands behind my thighs, that I was only in high school. “Not really. I’m 41.”
Between the bile rising up and the alarms screaming in my head, I remembered my worst fear, a news item from a few months ago on a girl who told a stranger that she wouldn’t marry him on the train and was stabbed in the face by the man. It was happening, it was really happening to me. All at once I was hyperaware of my girlhood and of myself and of the possibility of these being my last moments. He sighed and reached into his pockets with the hand not holding the bottle of a quarter of vodka and all at once the dread chorus in my head tuned out even the rattle of the approaching train. Wait—the approaching train. I jumped to grab everything I had on the ground, keeping my head up and as far from him as possible in case he tried to do something, and hurried backwards toward the train. “Have a nice day,” I yelled. If he was angry it would maybe stop him from coming after me. As if in response, he shook his head and began to stumble toward the train. I ran.
This has been a week of running for me, of trying to be ahead of everything bad that could happen, of lateness, and enough awful moments to leech off of the good. I have been well, and I have been so sick that I thought I was going to throw up while riding down the street. It’s so strange how quickly things can return to the abyss from which they came, eating up more life than their absence did. I returned from being on an urban farm in North Philadelphia for five days, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had for a whole list of reasons, and immediately the fecal apathy of New York City settled into my gut. My welcome back party was a boy who no longer wants to see me and a park thick with the constant lust for Lethe. But I am learning, and I am moving. There are so many genuine positives that have unexpectedly entered my world, and I am upset that the smallest disturbances are tearing me apart so much that their impact sometimes falls through the cracks.
My stomach hurts. Running sucks. ♦