This day had all the humdrum qualities of any other day until I settled myself into one of the hard-cushioned seats located on the upper tier of seats on the Green Line metro.
I rode the T heading inbound to Copley so that I could diligently tend to my studies at the Boston Public Library. I plugged music into my ears while I sunk into the world of The Great Gatsby. After a fairly brief period of blissful introspection – (of the nearly intoxicating cognitive exercise of making sense of literature in light of the sort of music that explores the frontiers of the ear’s tolerance and tests the elasticity of the imagination) – my isolation ceased in the profound presence of a madwoman.
At the far extremities of my peripheral vision, nearly beyond the degrees within which I can see, this middle aged white lady wearing a posh felt hat and a black fuzzy trench coat descended into the seat beside me. A real life caricature of a Bostonian Lady. Sitting down, she resolved to create more space for herself using her elbows. I considered the notion that perhaps I had been too gluttonous with the limited elbow room available on the lateral, wall-side benches of the heavily peopled T. But no. For some reason that I will never understand, she created for herself a personal issue between herself and I. Eerily, she communicated grievances to me through the pseudo violent jabs of her osseous appendage. An iron spearhead of an elbow. The crescendo of the poking against my ribs rustled me out of mild mannerisms.
I turn my head to the right and set my eyes on her face. She does not look at mine. Her pale green transparent irises wander about the train.
The creases on her face, the lines deeply imbedded in her cheeks, her forehead, in all the angular surfaces of her face, looked like they could have been created by a tight mask of ultra thin wire. Her physical appearance, ghastly and haggard, suggested to me some sort of an arduous experience.
Alas! She continues to elbow me with a kind of bitterness characterized by slow calculated pressure. This awakened within me a slight chill and a piercing concern as to what would happen next.
“Are you alright?”, I ask. Turning her blank stare to me: “I’m fine and you?” I say YeaH at her and then turn back to myself.
I turned back to my book less concentrated on the plot than before. As I tried to paint my mind with the quaint follies of 1920s America, her elbow, came nudging into mine with the blatant intent to Bother. I felt the grind of her aged bones into my Side. “Could you stop Elbowing me (please)?”
I look at the unnatural gloss infilming her pallid green eyes that have probably seen unimaginable things. She looks at me with that New England passiveAggressive air as if a mediator before a more bitter hatred. She waits and then says: “This is my elbow. And you need a psychiatrist.” She rises from her seat and at this moment I feel suspended on the brink of reactionary outcry. Was she going to spit on my face? Scratch me up with rigid fang-like nails? Speak in the wild tongues of an hysterical zealot? Was she the incarnation of something wicked and indeed the Devil exists in our streets as vines on the Harvard walls? This experience unfolding held my thoughts on an unwavering TracK. And the train brought us on, picking up sparks in the industrial darkness, scraping its way through the underground networks of Boston.
She lifted herself from the seat beside me. She walked to the other side of the wall-side bench and sat down on the polar opposite end. At this point, I truly thought: “What the fuck was that?” I wouldn’t be able to focus on the book. And the music in my ears only came to carry those dead, empty eyes with every sound wave. In the extreme margins of my sight, I see this lady lean forward to look at me, across the laps of oblivious Americans to look at my Entirety. She keeps doing this as an undefined black figure vying for attention in my peripheral vision. The omniscient Voice tells us all that the Next Station is: Copley.
Great waves of elation washed up onto my ego for the way I endured this situation. I thought that my peaceful, unfazed response to her outward and Physical antagonism set within her boiling atomic seizures of scorn. Or not. Perhaps, she could feel the chemical imbalance bouncing about, tapping at her skull.
THIS IS COPLEY.
Hands on my knees, I get up to exit the train and look deep into her eyes with apathy. She looks at me blank still sedated from her lobotomy.