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August 7, 2007

As seen on the trolley:

The man seated across the aisle was wearing a gray cotton shin-length house coat with a high collar and gray skinny jeans, pink flip flops and a fake rose nestled at his neck. His dirty hands were tipped with long fingernails painted slightly silver and held a pair of heeled sandals. His dreadlocks were piled and pinned atop his head.

His hands twirled and gestured like a flamenco dancer’s as he conducted imaginary conversations. The ferrety woman seated across from him huddled in the corner, determinedly avoiding the awkwardness of a wayward glance being construed as proffered friendship.

Trolley police boarded to check that everyone had paid. The man held out a tattered Metro card, which had clearly expired—perhaps months ago. The police must have said something to this effect (I had my earbuds in) because he launched into an explanation of how he was on his way to court to stand trial for the same offense.

Then it made sense: his imagined soliloquy had been him practicing the testimony he would give to the judge. The skeptical officers decided it wasn’t worth a fight and let it slide. The man joined his hands as if in prayer and bowed deeply to them. As they walked on he could hardly contain himself, fluttering his arms and stroking his face with those long nails, struggling for composure.

Suddenly he took a crocheted, cream-colored sweatshirt from his messenger bag and held it up as he turned to me, asking, “Do you shop at Bebe?”

“No, I’ve never been there.”

“They’re having a sale right now.”

He then got up, exiting the train at the stop before mine. I watched him as he switched to the heeled sandals, walking primly down the street with all the delicacy of a debutante.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the tips and the recipe. I can't wait to make it sometime. Gosh, I really need an event.