Narrative Nudge ~ August 15, 2017

le passe
Image from “Le Passe

8.15.2017: They carried it with them.


One Reply to “Narrative Nudge ~ August 15, 2017”

  1. They say that don’t they. That with your last silver breath you regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did. They tell that to the people still alive, to prompt them to do today the good they might put off till it’s too late. That’s why I’m writing this.

    I want to put down in print those things I never did, and who knows, maybe in writing them down I’ll find the will to do some of them now. Like there’s this girl I see every morning on the subway. Actually, I see her standing on the platform first. Sometimes she can be a little late, and she’s not even on the platform; I wonder then what I’ll do if she doesn’t turn up. I wonder if I will get on the train without her. My heart beats a little faster then.

    But though she’s late sometimes, so far she’s always there. I don’t know her name or anything about her. I do not angle to sit next to her or on her side of the carriage. I sit where I can see her. I pretend not to look, but always I do, catching her reflection in the glass so no one else knows I’m staring. I don’t think she knows.

    She has earphones in her ears and a far away look in her eyes, and I think she must be listening to music. And, well, she’s got this thing she does with her hair, twisting it around her index finger, twisting and twisting, and then suddenly letting it go so that it uncoils but still holds some of the curl. It’s such a small thing and yet it’s something of note. I see her do it, every morning the same, and no one else on the train notices.

    And right there is the thing I want to do and I never do. I want to reach over and tell her that the pretty thing she does with her hair makes me smile every morning.

    And there’s this guy who sits the subway stop where I get off and he looks like he’s part of the sidewalk and he’s all over grey and old and blank. He holds a paper cup in the air and he grins, showing the brown mousehole gaps in his teeth. I want sometimes to empty my whole wallet into his lap and for him to take all the money I have and to live differently for a day. I want to ask him his name and to tell him about this girl and what she does with her hair and how it is the most beautiful thing in my morning every time she does it. And I want to ask him what’s beautiful in his day.

    Some mornings I want to buy the man sitting on the street a filled bagel at the same time as I am buying my own, but I don’t know what he’d like. Instead I smile at the guy behind the counter. He knows me by now, the bagel guy, and he say to me a cheery ‘hi and what’ll it be today?’ He says that even though I order the same filled bagel every day. He never tries to tempt me with something else and I sometimes wish he would. He says to me to have a nice day as he hands me my change and I want to say to him I sure will, and to take the time to tell him just how my day will be nice, but instead I just smile and nod and turn away.

    And I want one day to not go into work, but to walk on by and into the park and to lay down on the grass with the sun full on my face and my eyes closed like I could be sleeping, everyone at work making remark that it’s not like me to be sick and then not saying anything more than that. And a woman with carrier bags weighing her down stopping to ask if I’m ok and if there’s something she can do for me, like maybe she needs to call an ambulance.

    There’s a hundred small things like that in every day and I don’t do any of them; and one day, when the dark is closing in and I am laid out on my bed, I just know I will regret every one of them. I know cos that’s what they tell you.

    So today, having written some of my ‘regrets’ down, I decide. I decide it will be different today. So I’m standing on the platform waiting for the train and waiting also for the girl with earphones in her ears. my heart beating faster cos she’s late but also cos today I have decided – I will tell her about that thing she does with her hair – which maybe even she hasn’t noticed she does – and I will tell her it is right up there with sunsets and sunrises. And I’ll tell her about my heart racing each time I think that maybe she won’t make the train and how there’s this man at my subway stop and he grins even when he doesn’t have any reason to grin and the guy in the bagel shop selling me the same bagel over and over and the unvisited park tow blocks past where I work.

    And having done all that – well who knows what then.

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