Friday, June 18, 2021

Mark 5:1-8

The woman on the train is yelling in Spanish, so the object of her distress isn't completely clear to me, though I catch words - demonio, puta, Dios, Jesus - that indicate to me that, whatever the cause, it's not anything I'm going to be able to see or address. She slams her bag on the subway bench next to me, but I am resolutely not giving any energy to her or whatever invisible denizens of the darkness she believes are tormenting her, so I keep reading my book until she quiets down.

Another woman across the aisle tries to help, and speaks very gently to her in Spanish, but this seems to rile her up, and she goes on another loud, angry, frightened rant until she is crying, weeping in rage and fear. 

We reach a subway stop, and without hurrying or drawing attention to myself, I stand, exit the subway car, and quickstep over to the next car, where I easily find a seat, sit, open my book, and continue reading without anyone yelling in my ear.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Picnic

Another plane looking smaller than a grain of rice passes far, far overhead through the heart-stealing blue, and Katie and I lay back on the blanket in the middle of the Great Lawn in Prospect Park, lazily speculating on its origin and destination.

"Europe, headed to China, maybe?" Katie says.

"Or maybe the Middle East, Dubai or something, headed north," I reply, though she remains unconvinced.

The beautiful, smooth, impossibly tan young couple on a blanket several yards over on the next hill start to make out, and jazz drifts over the lawn; a dog runs, some kids yell, and the sun slowly falls behind the trees.

Monday, June 14, 2021

AITA?

"Yeah, we're a little low on sizes for running shoes because everybody got out of lockdown like, 'Oh I gotta get in shape,'" waving my hands in faux panic.

"Yeah," she says, laughing uncomfortably. 

"Cool, lemme go see if I can grab you a seven-and-a-half, my name's Scott, I'll be right back," I say cheerfully,

It only occurs to me halfway to the stockroom that what I said might literally have been what she just went through, and that I may, in fact, be the asshole.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Yucking Someone Else's Yum

I'm super excited to bring out the boots she asked for, but when I get there, she says, "Nah," hooking a thumb over her shoulder to the woman next to her, "she said they looked stupid."

The "she" in question watches as I bring out other choices with head cocked and eyes showing all the trust and empathy of an angry parrot. With the same expression she says, "Well they'd look stupid for me, but maybe on you they'd look cute."

I decide to act like I don't hear her and bring out another pair, "Tell me what you think of these."

Friday, June 11, 2021

Hard Worker

I speak to my manager (a Caribbean woman who I've known for a while) about a former boss of hers, and she seems to think pretty highly of her.

"She's not up here," she describes, waving her hands up above her head to indicate some distant, removed realm of boss-dom divorced from the rest of us. "She always helped out, worked on the floor, worked hard."

"She worked so hard," she adds thoughtfully, "I sometimes forgot she was white."

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Emotional Height

"I want you to know," Katie says seriously, "I don't think I'm taller than you."

"It's just that my feelings are all the way up to here," she adds, raising her hand a foot or so above her head.

"No, I've seen it happen," I say, agreeing.

"And when I'm mad," her eyes flashing, "I don't care how tall I am."

Priorities

The bedroom is dark when I arrive home mid-afternoon just ahead of the rain rolling in. I turn on the lights, expecting to see the cat in her accustomed place on the bed, but to my surprise, she's nowhere to be found.

Later, as I'm working on the computer, my roommate comes out of his room. Without prompting, he says, "If you're looking for the cat, she's hanging out with the air-conditioning in my room, and she's not coming out."