Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Canal to Spring
Waiting for the subway, the woman with the siren hat hums a little nothing tune. She stops to smile at the boy with the conch ears who looks like the son she always wanted (even the ears), but never had. She closes her eyes, and hums a little louder.
The boy silences his iPod. He doesn’t feel much like listening today. He doesn’t feel much like going to his girlfriend’s to hear how wrong everything (even the ears) is. But still he gambles, with the others, on the doors sliding open to receive him. There is something to numbers, to a number’s bully momentum. In this city, people are molecules, pushed to boil.
The boy grasps the car’s overhead bar, slipping behind the girl with a book for a face.
The train snuffs, and the woman with the siren hat bumps into the boy, inciting the dominos. The girl breaks the boy’s fall. There is a flurry of apologies, but the girl with a book for a face does not turn to acknowledge him. She just raises a hand. It’s all right. Her coat is soft caramel. Her face, a softer mystery.
The train slices the city’s secret harbor, pulled by a stationless twilight, clacking and screaming. The boy focuses on the girl’s neck: the drowsy hairs darkening the neckline, the ballerina bun spooling free of its tether. She has a freckle at the nape, which vibrates slightly. Something loosens inside of him, and the boy collapses to the size of this freckle, blurry around his edges.
He conceals the dizzy smile with a stroke of his hand.
It’s the lover’s perspective he sneaks. The freckle is a pearl beneath her sea foam of hair. He has no right to the freckle. No ownership. Yet here it is. Available to him.
The boy’s ears ring, the hairs on his arms turning stiff, then wavy.
Like sea grass.
The vibrations from her freckle leap to his lips.
He hums this little nothing tune.
The girl’s neck tacks the current of his song, and grows silent, even as the world rocks and screams around her.
The boy smiles, humming louder, while the train crashes into its station.
Abandoning the book, with all its plum, juicy words, to her side, the girl turns toward the music.
She seems okay with the boy’s ears.
He thinks Flaubert is the color of her eyes.
The doors gape, and the other people, including the woman with the siren hat, whistle into vapor. The boy and the girl are alone, two molecules uncertain of whether to disengage, or remain a lovely, lazy liquid.
The girl smiles, tentative.
“Do you think it’s possible to drown in someone’s words?”
The boy breaks the seal of his throat.
“What was that? I have water in my ears.”
The girl’s smile grows, even as her gaze shrinks to his chest.
The people are all exchanged, and they pile closer, pouring the girl and boy together.
Mixing their molecules.
And inside the boy’s chest, where nobody (except Flaubert) can touch, a little nothing tune has gushed into this something song.
This wave, of gathering.