The Process

Tag: stranger

I Spoke to this Strange Man

The other day on my way home from work.  I was walking.  He couldn’t find Pace University, and I directed him, even though I wasn’t really sure where it was.  Sadly, I had prompted him in the direction I was walking.  I said OK have a good day.  He said thank you but kept stride with me and asked me what I do in the area.  I said I live here, which made me think maybe that was a not great answer but then I realized this is Manhattan and I’m an adult and he doesn’t have candy or a car or anything good and is probably old enough to take down or outrun.  We have a conversation, which chips at me some.  His son is a freshman.  My siblings are sophomores in college.  We say things about things.  He has to turn right, which annoys me, because it takes a lot for me to talk to anyone, and I’m in the middle of a sentence.  I feel life is a rude thing.  But then I’m glad to stop talking again.

The next day, I go home on the bus.  A tiny Asian boy throws up bile on the floor, and as I’m sitting in a sideways seat, it slowly inches toward my shoes.  I watch it.  I don’t want to get bile on my shoes.  His mother is doing a bad job of wiping it up, because she is starting in the middle of the bile trail instead of at the front of it.  I feel this is unjust, so I don’t move my feet, because I don’t think my life should be impacted by this vomit.  It’s not mine.  It isn’t anyone’s I belong to.  And I win.  My stop precedes the impact, and I leave.

Cigarette Woman

It smells so good, shampoo and cigarette smoke…like comfort and wanting it all at once.  I have found it hard to part with a good smelling stranger.  They tend to walk away prematurely.  I want to say, “Come back.  I haven’t had a chance to write your scent.”  But I let them go.  Scents come back at their leisure, in this life, which keeps things interesting, especially during times of emotional plateau.  Newports.  Fame by Lady Gaga.  Old Spice body wash.  Tobacco.  Pussy.  Red wine.  Toast.  It’s less cyclical than woven.