Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Manhattan Story

I've spoken before about the chance meetings that take place in this city. The times you've sat down at a crowded cafe only to have someone interesting share your table with you, strike up an intriguing conversation, and then wish you a good day, content with never seeing each other again. In a city this huge, well not really huge, but this populated, it's just a matter of time before you crash into someone else or just brush by them in life, no second thought given...

It was a muggy, summer day. The subway platform, as per the summer status quo, was like an oven, and everyone took whatever possible precautions necessary to relieve themselves in some way. From the sweaty lady with the bite size portable fan inches from her baby's face to the man with a small, cold washcloth draped around his neck, everyone was connected by the heat, sharing in it's oppression.

The subway finally flew into the station bringing a hot, dirty, yet still welcomed gust of air with it. We all hopped aboard, amidst a sea of wiped foreheads, ponytails yanked off necks, the first few breaths of air conditioned relief.

My car was relatively empty, but only compared to the usual stereotypical packed subway ride. As I sat down, I was finally cooling off.

And then he sat down across from me.

He was the color of a dark Hershey bar and while I hate dark chocolate in it's sugary form, I'd been falling for the skin color for decades. His eyes were the shape of almonds, his lips like ripe, full grapes. I was getting hungry.

He looked up, I looked away, hoping there was no drool on my face. But I felt him staring at me, felt his gaze zeroing in on me and I couldn't help it. I looked back. He looked away. Cat and mouse, who would break first. I noticed a tattoo peaking out the V of his t-shirt, more swirling down his arms. I might break first.

He looked at me again and this time he smiled. Good lord, I was just about done. I might've married him, given him six children without even hearing him speak. He could've sounded like Mike Tyson for all I knew, but something told me he probably didn't. He probably sounded like smooth jazz or a healthy dose of 90s R&B. If I was really lucky he'd sound like Idris Elba and then they'd need EMTs on this subway, cause I'd die. Twice.

My stop was approaching and we were just sitting there grinning at each other, enjoying the view more than the ride. The train eased to a halt. It was time to go, for me at least as he didn't budge.

I stood up, gathered my stuff, and headed for the door, standing right next to him as I waited for the train to slow, stop completely, the doors to open, releasing me into the heat, away from this comfy subway car.

His hand touched my arm. "You should ride some more."


The double meaning was driving me up a creek on an inflatable lifeboat with a hole in it, no ore, and a pair of arm floaties as my saving grace. I was about to go down.

The doors opened. I stalled, but remembering my extremely important appointment, I had to get off. Damn career.

"You should get off," I replied.

He smiled resignedly and shook his head. "Can't."

Maybe he had an appointment too. I stepped off the train, hit by a gust of absurd heat, but as the doors closed I looked back. He was looking at me.

"Shame," he said as the doors locked and the subway car snatched him away. I thought about banging on the window, shouting my phone number the way they did in chase commercials that ended with a happily ever after. Somehow I didn't think it'd go down as cutely.

So instead, I watched the subway disappear out the station and then hurried up into the city's maze.

I guess I'll see you next life time...that certainly sounds divine.

That bitch stole my line,

Blackie Collins


  1. love this. it's just makes me feel cozy or something. good post

  2. "He probably sounded like smooth jazz or a healthy dose of 90s R&B." Ohh snap!! This was TOOO cute..still smilin'. Hey BC, never know might see'em again! And you better tell us about it!

    - A.D.

  3. you are a tERRIFIC writer.