Between Stations - WH Patterson
I don’t find beauty in the normal places in cities. I don’t find it in the city parks, the statues, the fingers of buildings reaching toward the sky. Nor in the galleries filled with the masters.
I find beauty on the subway. Or train. Or bus. There is something about the press of people. The beautiful strangers. Don’t get me wrong: I have spent many a subway ride jammed in the armpit of an overweight man from some country that doesn’t believe in showers. But most of the time, it is everyone else jammed in my armpit, and I believe in showers. Hooray for being tall.
Or, you can find yourself pressed against something beautiful, in the flickering darkness between each stop. This is where I find myself today, dear readers. I found myself pressed against a rare beauty. Her hair was dark and short, in only the way that girls with short hair can pull it off. You know what I mean. Her eyes were bright. Now I’m not talking about color. It doesn’t matter if they are sky blue eyes or that vibrant green that always seems to draw me in. No. Her dark eyes were bright. They had that spark. That light that was just waiting to be kindled. This is true beauty. Fuck what the swimsuit edition tells you.
The train turned on the track slightly. I’m from the country, so I always envision fiery a wreck, but apparently subways move like grass in the wind. We all leaned, like some giant game of JELL-O in the car and she pressed against me. We caught eyes in the reflection: She had the promise of a smile on her face.
I was so close to seeing something very rare: something beautiful and unphotoshopped. The station was approaching. I felt a moment of panic: What could I do get myself into her fire, into that beauty that the airbrush tries so hard to extinguish? Maybe she was the kind of girl who liked bottles wine and Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch read in over dramatic accents. Or a girl who lounged naked on a bed, staring at the smoke of a joint slowly drift into the fan blades, listening to the scratches of Folsom Prison Blues on a barely working record player.
The train slowed at the station. I opened my mouth to say something. Something profound or completely asinine. She was going to find out at the same time I did.
The doors opened. Another girl stood on the platform. She was trying to keep a smile off of her face. And failing miserably. The girl rushed off the train as the first syllable was leaving my tongue. Thank god for loud station, because, dear readers, I would have left the station alone.
She flew into the arms of girl on the platform. They grabbed at each other and kissed, in the only way you can when you’re desperately in love. With everything you have, completely lost in each other. I saw what I was looking for: those sparks flared into flame.
The train wheezed a deep breath as the doors closed. And I realized that I, too, was holding my breath. We lurched back into the darkness between stations.