Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chance Encounters

D'y'ever see someone on the train and want to know their life story? Well this happened to me tonight and granted, I had a few in me, but regardless, he was a story waiting to be told. After a lovely dinner with good friends Angie and Barry, I got on the 6 to transfer for the R to Queens and saw this large Black man with amazingly braided dreads standing behind me reading his book. A book, I might add, that was secured in one of those B&N-type vinyl holders. So I thought to myself, "it must be an important book to protect as such, maybe a bible of some sort or just a special novel?" So I watched him for a while on the platform and he seemed to be distracted by every noise and every person rushing down the stairwell but never once looked in my direction which was RIGHT in front of him where HIS train would be arriving. Odd, I thought. So we got on the train. Me first because I wanted to position myself so I could continue to watch him read his book. He stood exactly opposite from me on the train. Me at one side's door, him at the other. He kept wiping his brow because beads of sweat kept flowing down his forehead and from his sideburns. But it didn't stop him from reading. He only took short moments to use his bundled tissue to wipe his face. Back to reading he went. But the next drips that trickled down his center were too much to ignore and I think at this point, he felt my stare. He took out his smooshed-up napkin and wiped again and looked straight at me. I smiled BIG and he smiled back but in that way where you are trying not to smile but it keeps breaking through in a BIG way even though you're trying especially hard not to smile. But it was inevitable. He couldn't stop. So he programmed himself to not smile and go back to reading JUST as I was about to tell him that I absolutely love watching people read at the very end of their book because their expressions almost tell the passerby whether it's worth reading or not. But just then, we got to Queens Plaza and he exited. Not even looking back to smile again at me. Just got out. No turning back. I still want to know.... what was he reading?