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Archive for August, 2014

He didn’t bat an eye when it brushed against the top of his leg.  Gently moving from the fabric of his shorts to the skin just above the knee.  I watched it as it danced lightly across both surfaces.  

He boarded the train at the stop after I did and sat directly across from me.  No headphones.  No reading material save for the screen of his phone.  Uncharacteristic for a man of his age at this time of day.  Slender.  Plaid shorts.  A red v-neck t-shirt.  His tanned skin was the same color in all locations, including his head – which had been shaved a couple of days earlier.  He sat quietly with his thoughts.

At Belmont the train filled to standing room only.  A young man boarded caring a backpack.  Before grasping reaching up for the standee bar, he hoisted his backpack into place.  This action blocked my view of the seated man I’d been watching.  

When the train arrived at Fullerton the train filled even more.  The young man moved inwards and with that my view of the seated man returned.  The backpack now perched directly above the seated man’s lap.  As the train swayed to and fro the nylon straps of the young man’s backpack hung like tendrils over the seated man’s legs, fluttering as delicately as an aphid over a patch of clover.  

I looked at the face of the seated man expecting to see expressions of disapproval.  There were none.  The sensation, which could surely be felt, was either something he expected or something for which he longed.  An expression of bliss would have been inappropriate even if it had gone unseen.

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It wasn’t until she put on her sun glasses that I noticed that she looked like Elizabeth Taylor.  Dark sweeping hair.  A long strand of pearls resting atop her cleavage, exposed by the deep cut neckline of her black blouse.

Prior to lowering the sun glasses over her eyes, she’d been applying her eye make up.  First eye liner.  Then mascara.  And finally eye shadow.   She monitored each application in the reflection of herself in the round mirror inside of a plastic compact which was held in her left hand.  This, during her morning commute while surrounded by strangers

The woman setting next to me is doing the same thing, though she’s no Elizabeth Taylor.  She was applying her make up when I got on the train. I try to read but I’m distracted by the proficiency that these two women have with their morning routine.

At Wilson a man boards the train.  His shoes are brown – the preferred color of shoes by men in Chicago.  His pants are a light grey plaid.   He’s wearing a dark grey vest, buttoned, over a crisp white shirt.  Everything that he’s wearing is perfectly in line for a inbound commute on the Red Line, except that each article of clothing is too large for his frame.

I look up at his face.  He’s young.  Not much over twenty and I try to determine where he’s going as well as what brought him to Chicago.

It’s evident that he’s not from here though I can’t pinpoint why, save for the oversized clothing.  His actions and lack of reactions indicate that he’s used to riding the L.  He holds on to the bar overhead with one hand and reads a book that’s held in the other.  The changes in the track that cause the train to sway do not disturb him.  He’s not eyeing the crowd.  He’s adept.  An indication that he’s been here for awhile.

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