Celadon II


njtransitme

The car was parked in the deserted lot. I was inside of it when the enormous Amtrak plowed through the station. Essex Street is fucked up. There’s not a single platform to be seen, so unless you’re familiar with which way the wind blows, you best be sure to read the schedules carefully. There’s only one sign: Two blue arrows-each pointed in opposite directions. In big bold white print on each arrow is a town. There’s “To Hoboken” and the other town I couldn’t quite remember. Of course, this is all made useless since a large train is blocking it. And puts us in a desperate situation, as he signals for me to gather our things and get the hell out of the car. I quickly grabbed whatever I deemed valuable: Backpack, coats, scarves, lady boots, two cans of coke, two poorly pressed paninis, and another two bags of pita chips. I saw him in a frantic state, watching a couple quickly hop through the open doors. Not a single conductor popped their rosy face out of the train to observe the sidewalks, where two young adults were bullying a ticket machine, which denied credit card transactions. Loser! We heard it hiss, then a few pouting chugs sent it slowly rolling along the tracks. It eventually picked up speed and hi-tailed it out of there. This put us in a state of stress; the next train won’t roll in for another two hours. And those two hours seemed like days in the nighttime apathy of Jersey. It was lucky for us, though. When we headed back to his car, we noticed the lights were still on.

He was ready to put his foot on the gas when I held his arm and told him to wait. At first, we imagined a miserable moment back at the sandwich place, which oozed a sleepy deadness. Our server was a bitch. Fuck her tight wet ponytail; we wanted another bag of chips, as promised by the menu hanging above our heads. The busboys told her that we could get another bag of pita chips, which I was already munching on. Our eggplant Parmesan pressatas were wet with cooking oil. Lukewarm and ordinary, we were chewing on nothing more than sponges. I’m never going back there.

We huffed in the car and waited impatiently for the next sign of hope. Our train was expected to arrive at 6:59pm. It was barely a quarter to seven when the first train made its way through. And we didn’t even know if that one was headed to the city or not. Game plan. He checked the schedule; I cleaned out the car and prepared again for our second hasty escape.

Indeed, the next train, our train, was New York City-bound. We would transfer in Secaucus, and find ourselves two stops away from good ol’ Penn Station. I made an attempt to purchase tickets, which was a slow and agonizing process. It was a noble vending machine reduced to the menial task of spitting out tickets, transfers, and receipts. Its slate blue uniform marked its somber demeanor, and it already decided to not give a fuck about its new responsibilities. Simply said, it just wouldn’t let me buy a ticket. That’s when the two strobes of hot white light peered around a corner, splashing onto the simple, stupid blue arrows. A slow-moving bullet continued to trudge dutifully onward. The blaring sounds of the posts going down, screaming for cars to make way for our 6:59 salvation. Ticketless and out of breath, we hesitantly got on the train. The big-bellied conductor in his tight blue coat expanded his chest, letting out a sigh to express his lack of concern for where the fuck we were going. We were taking up too much of his time. We paid for two tickets and sat down in our seats, looking out the window, and noticing nothing special.

The trip to Secaucus was brief, and so was the trip to Penn Station. Arms interlocked, we relaxed, strolling through the small crowd of passengers, and heading for the subways. Penn Station, an American mall of passersby; suddenly the return home was not so triumphant. Suddenly, the people surrounding us consumed that once sharp and almost unblemished air. We were trapped in a capsule again, limbs extending out to the few and plenty stations of the city, from the head of the Bronx straight down to the reforming beaches of Coney Island. Penn Station was a sweltering environment, its own jungle of consistent schedules. No wonder I can never tell how time passes in this city.

He was hungering for something sugary sweet, and so was I. Au Bon Pain or Hot N Crusty? We chose the latter, since he’s never been there before. Dang! They were nearly out of freshly baked scraps of almond cookies. Dang… well, I took whatever they had left. As we walked through the station, we noticed to our left a group of uniformed cops (how refreshing!), one of them holding onto the leash of a P.I. canine. Too bad the blue line ran in the opposite direction that we were headed. When I told him, he asked me if I really should be walking passed the sedated black dog, with a pocket of marijuana in my pocket. We then wondered if the dog could even smell something like that in a food court. Why wasn’t he going berserk to begin with? These questions plagued us, until we became a distracted by a petite pale-skinned brunette adjusting her tight black jeans. She applied lipstick to her smooth peach-colored mouth, and we exchanged a quick glance. He was looking at her too; then I think we were looking at each other, and then her again. We all got on the next subway train.

belly1

“I like your hair”, she said to me so matter-of-factly. Then, I told her I liked her makeup, and she went on and on about how she was a makeup artist, or at least trying to be. I couldn’t help but feel that he and I were objectifying her in the same way. I suppose the sexy thing would be for us to give that visual consent, a slight wink of the eye to a possible threesome. But, this was more of a private observance. I felt separate from him when engaging with her, untangling those juicy bits of contact. At that point, I doubt I would have been comfortable with a small group party; and, it was just enough for me to share that intercourse lightly obscured with hints of attraction. She kept pulling up her puffy black jacket to show us (or I would like to think, me) her stomach. Her beautiful, angular hip bones framed her smooth tummy. It was decorated with a jeweled piercing. She showed it to us (me) twice. Shall I go so far as to imply that it might have been an invitation to peer a bit closer into her intentions, maybe to trace the dagger-like shape of her belly jewel, as its well-defined tip pointed down to the plunging line of her denim pants? She got off two stops before us.

At his house, we warmed ourselves with alcohol and video games, incredibly chill, and steadily occupied in our own goings-on.

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